How to Make The Best Grilled Carne Asada

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This recipe for grilled carne asada is ideal for tacos, burritos, or even salads.

A perfect carne asada begins with choosing the correct cuts of beef, followed by marinating the steak and grilling it over high heat, ideally charcoal.

What steak to use for carne asada?

How to Make The Best Grilled Carne Asada

Carne asada translates roughly to grilled meat, which isn’t very precise. Carne asana is often used to describe marinated and grilled meat.

Carne asada meat is often thin-cut, similar to flank or skirt steak, and has a very heavy-grained texture and powerful meaty taste that is wonderful and assertive and ideal for this recipe.

For this carne asada dish, I used both skirt and flank steak from Vermont Wagu. Both are long and thin, and share many of the same qualities.

You may use either skirt or flank steak, or a mix as I did. If you can’t locate either, use sirloin steak instead.

How to make grilled carne asada

To create carne asada, marinade the beef for at least several hours before grilling it over high heat.

1. Marinate the steak

The marinade in carne asada adds taste and moisture while also tenderizing the meat.

Oil, lime juice, chili powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, fresh garlic, and oregano are the foundations of the carne asada marinade. I also like to season mine with orange juice and soy sauce.

If you want to be a bit more daring, leave off the chili powder and instead add entire dried chilis. Toast any combination of guajillo, pasilla, ancho, or chipotle chilies before adding them to the blender.

In a food processor, combine all of the marinade ingredients and pulse until smooth. Not a puree, but a somewhat lumpy texture.

In a non-reactive dish, combine the meat and marinate (save some for serving).

Put it in the fridge to marinate for at least a couple of hours, but overnight is the ideal way to get the most out of the marinade.

2. Grill over charcoal (if you can)

If you want the greatest carne asada, nothing beats the smokey charred flavor of hot charcoal cooking.

I used my Burch Barrel smoker and some Fogo charcoal. In our roundup of the finest fire pits for cooking, we go into the Burch Barrel in further depth. You may use any charcoal barbecue, or a gas grill would suffice.

When you cook over hot coals, the fluids drip down and touch the hot coals, causing puffs of smoke that rise up and lick the meat, giving it a flavor that cannot be replicated in a frypan.

Charring food is all part of the Maillard process, which involves a chemical interaction between amino acids and reducing sugars to produce the characteristic taste of browned food. Let us not mistake burning with charring up the flesh somewhat.

I lighted a chimney starter by filling it with lump charcoal. I threw the charcoal into the basket after it was completely ashed over to provide the ideal cooking surface for the steaks.

When the grill is hot enough, place the steak on it and sear both sides. Because of the oil in the marinade, there will be a lot of smoke and occasional flare-ups, so simply keep turning the steaks.

Remember, we want charred steaks, not burned ones.

This will take 6-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steaks and the temperature of the coals.

When the internal temperature of the steak reaches 130F, remove it from the smoker and set it aside for 5-10 minutes to rest.For the best results, use a reliable meat thermometer and test the temperature many times since the steak is so thin that it might be difficult to obtain an exact reading.

This relaxes the steak fibers and redistributes the liquids throughout the meat.

The ultimate product is more superior, and the steak will not get cold since it is still cooking when it comes off the grill.

3. Slice and serve

After the grilled beef has rested, slice it across the grain. Because flank and skirt steak have long, lean fibers, you should examine which direction they run and then cut against the grains.

This ensures that the carne asada meat is soft and flavorful.

When it comes to serving carne asada, I try to keep things simple. Warm a few tortillas on the grill before serving the meat with a sprinkle of the leftover marinade, sliced jalapeo, a squeeze of lime juice, and a few cilantro leaves.

Carne Asada Recipe


How to grill carne asada?

Frequently Asked Questions About Carne Asada
Marinate for a minimum of 5 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat the grill to medium high.
Grill grates should be lightly oiled.
Grill for 3 minutes each side before flipping.
After grilling, let the carne asada rest for at least 10 minutes.

How long does it take to grill carne asada?

How Long Should I Grill? Grill the steak over a medium-high heat for 7 to 10 minutes, or until it reaches 130°F for medium rare, and 10 to 12 minutes for medium. (After you take the steak from the grill, it will continue to cook.) Place the steak on a cutting board and let aside for 5 minutes before slicing.

What cut of meat is best for carne asada?

Carne Asada’s best cut of beef

Skirt steak or flank steak are the best cuts for the Mexican version of the meal we all know and love. Personally, I like skirt steak (as seen in the photo). It’s more tender and flavorful than flank, and it can be cooked well done (for those who like it that way) without becoming tough and chewy.

How is carne asada supposed to be cooked?

Once the meat has marinated, you’ll want to grill it quickly over high heat.
Grill for 4 to 8 minutes each side on medium-high heat.
In the oven, broil for 4 to 6 minutes each side on high.
Cook for 4 to 8 minutes each side over medium-high heat.

Should I close the grill when cooking carne asada?

Close the lid to maintain the temperature high and even when cooking thicker slices. Larger steaks, fowl, and roasts have greater depth for the heat to permeate, and shutting the lid allows the heat to sink in and cook the meat thoroughly in the same manner that an oven does.

Should I cut carne asada before grilling?

How do you prevent carne asada from drying out?
Don’t slice the meat raw; it’s crucial to slice after cooking to retain as much of the liquid as possible in the steak.
To determine the proper level of doneness, use a meat thermometer.
When keeping leftovers, be sure to wrap them tightly.

Do you cook carne asada on high or low heat?

The 4 Most Important Carne Asada Temperature Guidelines:
Quickly cook over high heat.
To monitor temperatures on the spot, use a Thermapen®.
Pull for medium-rare doneness at 125°F (52°C). Skirt steak is ideally served medium-rare or medium (for medium doneness, pull at 130°F [54°C]).
Allow for 5 minutes resting time before slicing thinly against the grain.

What cut of meat do Mexican restaurants use for carne asada?

Carne asada is generally cooked using skirt steak, but I wanted to be sure by experimenting with a range of affordable cuts. I purchased a half-dozen various pieces of beef and marinated them in a simple combination of lime juice, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, and chiles before grilling them to medium-rare over hot coals.

How do you know when carne asada is ready?

The most accurate way to evaluate doneness is to insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the thickest section of your steak – 130°F for medium rare, 10 to 12 minutes until it reaches 140°F for medium. (The steak will continue to cook while resting before slicing).

What are the two types of carne asada?

Skirt steak and flank steak are the most common cuts, and both are excellent choices!


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