This is my version of carne asada and it’s the best of the best. Period. Try it and see for yourself. It's super flavorful, tender, and delicious.
My Carne Asada is prepared in 3 simple stages: marinating the meat, seasoning before grilling, and finishing with some reserved marinade for an explosion of flavor. Is it authentic? Well, it depends on who you ask. If you ask me, it’s better than authentic.
You must try this carne asada! What makes it different from all the other recipes out there? This marinade is so good, you can actually drink it. No, I’m not kidding. You have to try it.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BEST OF THE BEST CARNE ASADA:
WE START WITH A SPICE MIX...
I use a combination of chili powder, cumin, granulated garlic, granulated onion, kosher salt, and pepper. Some of this spice is added to the marinade and the remaining is used sprinkled on the meat before it's grilled. Did I mention an explosion of flavor?
THEN WE USE A MARINADE...
I use extra virgin olive oil for the marinade. You can also use a neutral oil. Just try and stay away from seed oils. They don't do the body good.
Using frozen orange juice gives concentrated flavor. Frozen is always my go to choice and I keep in in my freezer for many recipes such as my orange vinaigrette, quinoa salad, and sticky teriyaki wings, to name just a few.
Red wine vinegar and lime juice brighten the flavor. You always need a good acid to bring out flavor. These balance out the sweetness of the orange - which is also an acid.
Lots of garlic is used because - well just because. Garlic is a must here.
A minced jalapeño pepper is used. I don't use the seeds. I just want the flavor and not the heat. You can add the seeds if you like it hot, but be careful because you don't want to overpower the flavor with just heat.
Cilantro brightens and gives the familiar Latin flavor to the dish.
Using kosher salt in the marinade and also in the spice mix isn’t a mistake. You need more salt in the marinade than you would the mix. If you feel it’s too much salt for your liking, lessen the salt in the mix and not the marinade.
Remember, using kosher salt is different from using table or fine salt. A tablespoon of kosher is about 1 teaspoon of fine. Hopefully, that makes you feel better about the salt used.
MY METHOD FOR MAKING THE BEST CARNE ASADA:
There are three stages for preparing this carne asada.
First, it’s marinated.
Second, it’s seasoned before grilling.
Three tablespoons of the dry mix is added to the marinade. The remaining dry mixture is reserved for sprinkling over meat before grilling. Didn't I state that already?
Third, the reserved marinade/dressing is poured over or served alongside the meat after the meat is cooked.
Not all of the marinade is used to actually marinate the meat. Some is reserved for pouring over the cooked meat. That’s where you get another explosion of flavor. I’m telling you this is soooo good.
TYPES OF MEAT I USE TO MAKE CARNE ASADA
I've used flank, skirt, and hanger steak to make my carne asada. It's only because of luck that I found skirt available. When I find skirt steak, I use it because the texture is thin and uneven which gives crisp burnt edges worth fighting for and the flavor is richer as well. I've also used hanger and flap.
Flank is available mostly everywhere. Since flank steak isn’t a tender cut of meat, marinating in an acid filled marinade will tenderize the fibers in the meat.
DON'T OVER-MARINATE THE MEAT!
There’s no need to marinate the meat for more than 4 hours, but you can marinate overnight. If you leave the meat in the marinade for too long, the fibers of the meat break down too much and the meat will lose its texture and become mushy. Mushy isn’t good.
After the meat is removed from the marinade, sprinkle with remaining dry mix and grill. You'll have enough mix available to cover one side of each steak. That's fine since the meat is thin and already flavored with the marinade. You're seasoning the meat in layers and it’s going to be damn delicious.
HEAT YOUR GRILL TO HIGH
Heat your grill to high and grill the steaks for about 7 - 10 minutes on each side. Time is dependent on the thickness of your steak. You want this cooked to a medium and not well done. Please.
Slicing the meat HAS to be done against the grain. If you look at the meat, you'll see lines in the meat. You slice across the lines and when you slice, slice it thin.
Make sure you are slicing across the fibers and not with the fibers. Otherwise, you will get stringy pieces of meat and that’s not good. You'll be chewing that meat for days if you slice with the grain and not against it.
MORE DELICIOUS BEEF RECIPES:
Sliced avocado and lime are a perfect accompaniment as well.
Ok, are you ready to make this? Start your grills…GET THEM HOT AND READY!
Life is too short for mediocre food.
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- 2 (1 ½ - 2) pound flank steaks See Notes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup frozen oj concentrate
- ¼ cup lime juice juice of about 2 - 3 limes
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic minced or finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño seeded, ribs removed, and diced
- 1 handful cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar optional
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
- Combine all the spice mix ingredients in a small bowl and mix it well. Set aside.
- In a 2 cup measure or small bowl, whisk marinade ingredients along with 3 tablespoons of the spice mix together. I use a fork to whisk. Pour 1 cup of marinade in a gallon size resealable bag.
- Put the flank steaks into the bag, squeeze bag to remove excess air, and seal. Flip bag over a few times to ensure the marinade coats the meat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
- Heat the grill to high heat.
- Remove the flank steaks from the marinade, and discard excess marinade. Sprinkle remaining dry mix evenly over the steaks.
- Cook the steaks on the grill for 7 to 10 minutes per side.
- Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain.
- Pour remaining marinade over sliced steak or serve alongside.