Carne Asada Tacos w/Grilled Flank Steak
Believe it or not, this is my first time ever cooking a classic carne asada meal. Carne asada translates to ‘grilled meat’ in English, which I’m no stranger to, but I’m referring to the classic Mexican dish that features skirt, sirloin or flank steak that has been marinated with Hispanic and Tex-Mex flavors that you will find in the grub at your local Mexican restaurant. First time or not, I knocked it out of the park, and if you give this a try, I think you will be in that same ballpark, knocking one out right beside of me.
I have scoured the web for recipes and have picked up inspiration for this dish. There are a lot of similar recipes to this one, which is no surprise, as ‘carne asada taco recipes’ currently yield over 1.5 million search results in Google. However, I add a little bit of a twist to mine that you likely won’t see elsewhere. Alright, then. Let’s cut to the chase and get on with what you are here for. Here is the Grizzly BBQ version carne asada tacos with grilled flank steak.
Note: if you are going to be cooking with flank steak, I highly recommend marinating it. It is a leaner cut of steak, and when it is ready to be sliced and consumed with gusto, you want to cut it against the grain for a tender bite.
In a bowl, mix up…
— 1/4 cup of soy sauce (use reduced sodium soy sauce if you’d like — I’m a grizzled salt fiend, myself)
— 1/3 cup of either canola oil or olive oil
— 1/2 cup of orange juice, or juice hand-squeezed from an orange
— 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
— Juice from 1 lime
— 4 cloves of minced garlic
— 1 diced jalapeno (remove seeds if you want less spice)
— 1 diced Serrano pepper (much like for the jalapeno, remove the seeds if you want less spice)
— 1 tsp. of cumin
— 1 tsp. of black pepper
— A few arbitrary shakes of Caribeque Big & Bold Beef Rub (optional — this is the twist of the recipe; Caribeque Big & Bold Beef Rub is an avid go-to of mine for anything involving steak)
Add the flank steak (for the record, I used a 1.5 lb. flank steak) to a Ziploc bag and, after mixing up the marinade, pour it over the steak. Be sure that both sides of the meat is amply coated with the marinade prior to sealing up the Ziploc bag, removing as much air as possible before you close it up. Add to the fridge overnight, preferably, or you can do what I did and allow it to soak in the marinade for four or so hours.
Now, for the second best part: the grilling of the flank steak!
1.) An hour to 30 minutes prior to your planned cook, drain the meat from the marinade and allow it to sit out at room temperature so that the internal temperature of the meat will adjust to the external temperature when you grill it.
2.) Preheat your grill. You can cook this in a skillet inside your home if you would like, in a cast iron on heat heat, but hey, remember: carne asada means grilled meat, so bust out the grill if you have it. I used a charcoal grill, but if all you have is a gas grill, set that sucker up on high. The following instructions will revolve around charcoal grilling. For that, if you have a charcoal chimney (I highly recommend using one), fill it up with lump charcoal and light it with paper or a lighter cube. Briquettes work fine, but lump burns hotter, and when you are making this, you want the grill to be as hot as possible.
3.) When the charcoal has grayed over with ash (if you have a charcoal chimney, this is when you will want to dump them into one spot of the grill in one big clump), add your grill grate and close up the grill with the intake and exhaust vents wide open. We want this baby to be piping hot.
4.) Wait about 10 minutes for the inside of the grill to become scorching hot. This allows the grates to come up to temperature in order to welcome that steak.
5.) Remove lid and place the flank steak directly over the coals. This was a pretty big, thick flank steak, so your cooking time may deviate from my method, but I cooked the steak for around five minutes on each side.
6.) Remove the steak and wrap tightly in foil in order to rest. Meanwhile, heat some flour tortillas directly on the grill grate over the hot coals. It only took the tortillas 5-6 seconds on each side to be sufficiently heated and browned up. Use corn tortillas if you would like. I would have loved to have used corn tortillas, but all the store-bought tortillas in this region (southwest Virginia) are rubbish (in my humble opinion), and I didn’t have time to whip up a homemade batch.
7.) (Optional) Char up a jalapeno pepper. I like to eat a grilled jalapeno whenever I have tacos. The flavor is a delicious add-on that complements the meal in my personal experience.
8.) Slice up the flank steak (remember: slice against the grain) and serve!
*I whipped up a batch of loaded guacamole the day before. If you would like my guacamole recipe, let me know in the comments. The guacamole featured lime juice, diced jalapenos, diced roma tomatoes, a diced red onion, chopped cilantro, salt, pepper and some garlic.*
I’m more than pleased with how well this recipe worked. These carne asada tacos featured classic Hispanic and Tex-Mex flavors that made the finished product taste like it came from a top of the line restaurant. I could only imagine it being made even better if I had used homemade corn tortillas and a touch of Cotija cheese, but as is, I must openly, biased as I may sound, reiterate that these tacos were a home run.