This recipe is for hot and fast Carne Asada on the grill, and shows you how to make your own Carne Asada Marinade, AND authentic corn tacos at home from scratch. Can’t wait to get started? Neither can we!
What is Carne Asada?
Carne Asada translates from Spanish as ‘Grilled Meat.’ It is a general term for various different dishes that originated in Latin America. Today when people talk about Carne Asada they usually mean skirt or flank steak that has been marinated and then grilled.
The steak can then be served with Mexican rice, in tacos or burritos, quesadillas, with nachos or with salads and grilled vegetables.
Carne Asada has also come to mean the actual event of grilling meat at a social gathering as well, similar to what Americans and Europeans would call a Barbecue or Cookout.
This recipe is for grilling hot and fast on the grills at 500°F and cooking to an internal temperature of 130-145°F for medium rare.
Smoking Carne Asada (Skirt Steak in the Pellet Smoker)
It is possible to smoke skirt steak low and slow for a tender and juicy result, even though it is quite a thin cut of meat.
- Place the wood pellets in the hopper, and turn your pellet smoker setting to ‘Smoke.’
- Once the pellets have started to travel down the auger & ignited in the pot, let the smoker smoke with the lid open for around 10 minutes. This will help to get a clear smoke before you start, and avoid soot.
- Set the temp to 225°F & place the skirt steak directly on the grills but over indirect heat.
- Cook until the internal temp reaches 145°F for medium rare.
- Rest for around 15 minutes.
Carne Asada Recipe Marinade
The huge fruity citrus kick really packs in the flavour, so don’t hold back!
- Juice of 1 Large Orange
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Juice of 2 Limes
- 1/4 cup Avocado oil
- 1/4 cup Tequila
- Large Handful of Freshly chopped Cilantro/Coriander
- 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Chilli Powder (More if you like Heat)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Finely Ground Sea Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1 Finely Chopped Jalapeno pepper (deseed if you like less heat)
- 4 cloves Freshly chopped Garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 pound Skirt or Flank steak
Place all the marinade ingredients into a Ziplock bag, and then finally add your steak. Marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge, but preferably overnight.
Carne Asada on the Grill
- Remove your steak from the fridge around an hour before cooking, to let it come up to room temperature
- Remove the meat from the bag and pat dry. Reserve around 1/3 marinade for adding later
- Get your grills up to a high heat – at least 500°F or 260°C
- Place the meat directly on the hot grills over open flames – start by grilling each side for 2 mins each then flip, then repeat 2 mins each side (the whole process usually takes around 8-10mins)
- Working quickly move the meat around the hot grills so it gets even charring without burning
- Add your reserved marinade to both sides before flipping the meat over
- The steak is ready when you have nice charring but it still feels tender, soft & fleshy (you won’t need a thermometer as it’s a thin cut) – if you want the steak medium cook a little longer until there is a little resistance when pressed
- Take the meat off & Rest for 10-15 minutes
- Slice thinly against the grain (the opposite way to the direction of muscle fibres)
Recipe for Carne Asada Tacos
- 2 cups or 240 grams of Masa Harina
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups warm water
- 1 Teaspoon Finely Ground Sea Salt
The dough for Corn Tacos is surprisingly easy to make – it only requires 3 ingredients. The result is outstanding, and may make you rethink the nature of simplicity when it comes to cooking – sometimes less is more and simple elegance rules the day.
Combine the 3 ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with your hands.
Begin working the masa with your hands to make the dough. Work the dough for several minutes, in a similar way to bread dough.
The dough will likely be a little gritty at first, but will soon become more pliable due to the heat of your hands and friction. If you are concerned the dough is too wet or too dry add a little Masa Harina or a little water to it.
Smooth into a large ball and then leave for 10-15 minutes.
Now divide your dough into golf ball sized pieces, rolling with your hands.
Each of these balls will make a good sized taco when pressed out.
For best results use a taco press as shown in the video below. You will need to put parchment paper on the press, a sheet above and 1 below to stop the dough sticking.
You can substitute a heavy-bottomed pan to press the dough ball into a taco. Simply place the ball on a parchment sheet on top of a flat surface. Place another parchment sheet on top of the dough. Press down on the dough as hard as you can until you have a circular flat taco.
It probably won’t be as thin or rounded as a taco pressed version, but it is a reasonable substitute in the absence of a press.
You can grill the tacos for around 1-2 minutes each side on the grills while the meat is resting.
How Much Carne Asada Per Person?
It’s best to consider 1/2 pound of skirt steak or Carne Asada per person. Obviously this depends on sides, but it is a general rule of thumb which will give each guest plenty of meat to use in a few tacos.
Carne Asada on the Grill Helpful Hints
- Always cut perpendicular to the muscle fibres – as in against the grain. No-one wants long muscle fibres as they make for rubbery, chewy, nasty tough meat.
- Make sure your grill is at least 500°F and pour over the remains of your marinade for extra flavour.
- Grill your skirt or flank steak for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare meat. Cut it into thin slices against the grain and try to use as quickly as possible for maximum flavour and juiciness.
- Don’t skimp on the salt – beef loves and needs salt for maximum flavour.
- Let your skirt or flank steak rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing – this allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. A painful but wholly necessary step! Resist avoiding this step at all costs!
- When making tacos, remove the paper from the top of the dough, and then turn the taco upside down over your hand so that it slowly begins to come away from the paper it was pressed onto. Gently allow gravity to do its work before carefully peeling off the parchment paper. Taco dough is fragile so be careful!
- Make sure you slice the steak as thinly as possible for the juiciest, tastiest result.
If you enjoyed this recipe for Carne Asada on the Grill you may also enjoy our Smoker Recipe for Brisket Post.
For another great post on Carne Asada on the grill try here: