Carne Asada

Carne Asada is all about the marinade. You take a nice piece of steak, marinate it with some delicious flavors, and then head to the grill for the ultimate flavorful piece of beef. This dish is lovingly adapted from the cuisine of one of the world's most renowned Mexican chefs, Rick Bayless, ensuring that while techniques are adapted to our audience's home kitchens, the deep, traditional flavors not only remain but shine. Whether you're hosting a family dinner or a casual backyard barbecue, Carne Asada is designed to bring people together with every deliciously juicy bite.

Because our recipe

  • Adapted by one of the world's most renowned Mexican cuisine chefs and made accessible to home cooks.
  • We can adapt techniques, but we never sacrifice flavor, ensuring you get restaurant-quality results at home.
  • Convenient substitutes without compromising the integrity of the dish for when you can't find everything at your grocery store or want to play with flavors.

A close up view from above of marinated, grilled and sliced ​​carne asada fresh off the grill. A close up view from above of marinated, grilled and sliced ​​carne asada fresh off the grill.

Carne asada means “grilled meat,” but there are a world of ways to prepare it throughout Mexico. Our recipe is influenced by styles popular in regions like Jalisco and Nuevo León, where orange juice is used in the marinade to give the meat a tender texture and a burst of citrus flavor. It's not just about the great taste you get from grilling; our focus is on a marinade that really brings out the rich flavors and tenderizes the meat to perfection. A good carne asada starts with the right cut of steak. Flank or skirt steak is perfect for soaking up the marinade and grilling it tenderly.

Notes on ingredients

An overhead view of the ingredients needed to make our carne asada recipe. An overhead view of the ingredients needed to make our carne asada recipe.
  • Flank steak or skirt steak: Both cuts are ideal for Carne Asada thanks to their rich flavor and texture that becomes tender when properly marinated and grilled. Flank steak is slightly leaner, while skirt steak offers a more intense beef flavor. You can also beef it up with a sirloin or ribeye if you want to get fancy.
  • Limes: Fresh lime juice tenderizes the meat and adds a tangy kick. Lemon juice can also work.
  • Garlic: essential and delicious. Measure it with your heart.
  • Orange juice: Adds sweetness and citrus notes that balance the tartness of the lime, while also helping to tenderize the steak. If orange juice isn't available, try substituting grapefruit juice or a blend of lemon and pineapple juice for a similar effect.
  • Coriander: If cilantro isn't to your taste (we know it tastes like soap to some people), parsley is a trusty fallback.
  • Salt and pepper: Adjust to taste. You can always add more after cooking.
  • Vegetable oil: Helps bind the marinade and make it adhere well to the meat, also aiding grilling. Olive oil or avocado oil are great alternatives.
  • Jalapeno: Use serrano or habanero for spicier meat and use less jalapeno or replace with poblano pepper for less spiciness.
  • White vinegar: You can also use apple cider vinegar or additional lime juice.

What if I don't have a grill?

Grilling carne asada on an outdoor grill adds that unbeatable smoky flavor, but not everyone has one on hand. Don't worry – you can still get fantastic results right on your hob. Simply grab a griddle or heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal because it retains heat very well). Turn the heat up to high, just like you would on a grill, and turn on the hood fan. Place the marinated steak on the hot surface and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side. This will give you a delicious sear and a well-cooked interior. Turn it only once to get that perfect crust. Cooking on a stovetop mimics the high heat of grilling, ensuring your carne asada is just as satisfying, with all the tender, juicy flavors intact.

Marinating time

Minimum time: At least 2 hours. This gives the marinade enough time to start working its magic on the meat, tenderizing it and starting to layer the flavors.

Ideal weather: Overnight. Leaving the steak to marinate overnight will deeply enrich it with the flavors of the marinade and make it even more tender. Pop it in the fridge before bed and it will be perfect for grilling the next day.

Maximum time: 24 hours. On top of that, the acids in the marinade can start to break down the fibers of the meat too much, making it mushy instead of tender.

Slice against the grain

When cutting meat, make sure you cut against the grain. It's fairly easy to see the grain running through the meat in both flank and skirt steak cuts. They look like lines. Do not cut parallel to these lines, always cut perpendicular to them. Grain provides a natural breaking point in the meat. If you cut them up, you'll end up with tons of breaking points in each piece that hold what makes it tender.

Instructions for storage and heating

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

To freeze before or after cooking in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking or eating.

To heat, use a skillet over medium heat and cook the slices until heated through to maintain tenderness. We do not recommend microwave cooking.

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