- Flank or skirt steak 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil 1/3 cup
- Soy sauce 1/4 cup
- Lime 2, juiced (about 2 tbsp)
- cider vinegar 2 tbsp
- Sugar 2 tbsp • 470 kcal
- Black pepper 1 teaspoon freshly ground
- Ground cumin 1 teaspoon
- Garlic cloves 4, minced (4 teaspoons)
- jalapeño chili pepper 1 , seeded and minced
- cilantro (coriander) 1/2 bunch fresh, leaves and stems, finely chopped - you should have about 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
What is carne asada?
Carne asada literally means ‘grilled beef’, and is often served up in burritos and tacos, but it is also great with rice and beans too.
You can use almost any cut of beef, but traditionally it’s made with either flank steak or skirt steak. These cuts of steak need to be cooked rare or they become tough, and they should be cut thinly across the grain. Carne Asada can be served as a main dish or as an ingredient.
How to marinate
The tasty marinade is made of olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, a little sugar for sweetness, and lots of minced garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro (coriander). Ideally, the meat should be left in this marinade overnight, but you can leave it for around 3 hours if you’re pushed for time.
Although this dish is perfect for cooking on the grill at barbeques, you can use a grill pan or cast-iron pan on your stove top to sear and cook the steak.
How to cook carne asada
Make the marinade: whisk to combine the olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and cumin in a large, non-reactive bowl or baking dish. Stir in the minced garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro.
Place the steak in the marinade and turn over a couple of times to coat thoroughly.
Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for around 3 hours, or overnight (if using flank steak marinate for at least 3 hours).
Cooking on a grill or barbeque
Preheat grill: Preheat your grill for high direct heat, with part of the grill reserved with fewer coals (or gas flame) for low, indirect heat. You'll know the grill is hot enough when you can hold your hand above the grill for only one second before it becomes too hot.
Remove the steak from the marinade. Lightly brush off most of the bits of cilantro and garlic (do not brush off the oil).
Place on the hot side of the grill. Grill the steak for a few minutes only, until well seared on one side, then turn the steak over and sear on the other side.
Move steak to the cool side of grill: Once both sides are well seared, move the steak to the cool side of the grill, with any thicker end of the steak nearer to the hot side of the grill.
You can also use a cast iron grill pan on high heat if cooking on the stovetop, which is the method I used.
Test with a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Pull the meat off the grill at 115°F to 120°F for rare, 125°F medium rare, 140°F for medium.
Cooking on the stovetop
Get your cast-iron skillet or heavy pan ready by heating on high until the pan is very hot. Place the steak in the pan and let it sear both sides on high, then turn it down a little to continue cooking.
Use a meat thermometer and the temperatures above to tell when the steak is cooked the way you want it.
Place the steak on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
Slice steak across the grain of the meat: Use a sharp, long bladed knife to cut the meat. Notice the direction of the grain of the meat and cut perpendicular to the grain. The meat will be beautifully seared on the outside, and cooked how you like it inside. (I did mine rare).
Place the thin strips of steak on a bed of lettuce leaves, and garnish with avocado, radishes and lime wedges. Squeeze the lime juice over the steak before serving, and if you like, put some pico de Gallo on the side.
– If you cook the steaks on the stovetop, make sure you have your extractor hood on full blast, and the windows wide open – the smoke from the searing will fill the room otherwise!
– Serve with grill toasted tortillas: Warm the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side in a dry skillet or on the grill. Alternatively, you can warm the tortillas in a microwave: heating just one or two at a time, place tortillas on a paper towel and microwave them for 15 to 20 seconds each on high.
what goes with carne asada (optional)
– Chopped avocado
– Lime wedges
– Corn or flour tortillas
– Thinly sliced radishes
– Thinly sliced lettuce
– Pico de Gallo salsa