Last Updated on March 28, 2021 by Stephanie
This carne asada taco recipe is perfect for taco Tuesday! This carne asada marinade infuses so much flavor into the skirt steak and tenderizes the meat for a few hours. After grilling the marinated skirt steak, you’re left with a tender and juicy carne asada steak, which is perfect for tacos! These carne asada tacos will be your new favorite taco!
Why this recipe works
Skirt steak comes from the “plate” section of the cow, the outside skirt is attached from the 6th to 12th ribs. Skirt steak is a thin cut that absorbs flavors easily and quickly via marinade. It is best cooked rare to medium rare, to remain tender. When overcooked, it becomes tough due to the muscles that run throughout.
Can’t find skirt steak? You can substitute flank steak or flap steak. Since they are thicker cuts compared to the skirt steak, they will take a little longer to marinate and the cooking time will be longer for both of those alternate cuts.
The spices used in the marinade are: dark chili powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, ground cumin, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. These spices will penetrate deep into the steak and gives it a nice smokey flavor.
- Citrus is a great way to tenderize meat in a marinade. For the carne asada marinade I use a combination of orange, lime, and lemon juice.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are dried jalapeños that have been rehydrated and put in a smokey spicy sauce that infuses so much flavor into the meat.
You’re going to add all the marinade ingredients to a bowl or ziplock bag. Skirt steaks can be pretty long, so depending on your grill size, you can cut it in half before marinating. Marinate for minimum 2 hours. Careful not to marinate for too long, or the citrus will toughen the meat. I would not marinate longer than overnight, unless you’re using a thicker cut of meat.
Cooking the carne asada
You can cook the skirt steak on the grill or in a hot cast iron pan. I have done it both ways and I enjoyed both. The grill will give you a better char on the meat and some more texture.
Preheat your grill to 450F. Skirt steak is thinner on the ends, so careful not to overcook. For medium rare I remove the steaks when they are at 125F, so once they rest, it is to temperature of 130-135F. Skirt steak is best enjoyed rare or medium rare.
Cutting skirt steak
After letting the skirt steak rest, cut into slices. There are muscle fibers that create lines in the steak, you want to cut against those or else the meat will eat tough. This is called “cutting against the grain”.
Carne asada tacos
You can enjoy the carne asada on it’s own or my favorite way to enjoy it is in a taco! As far as toppings go, you’re the boss! For my carne asada tacos I used corn tortillas, my homemade guacamole on the bottom, my homemade pickled red onions, Cotija cheese, cilantro, and some sliced jalapeños.
These carne asada tacos are the perfect meal for cinco de Mayo or any taco Tuesday you’re having! Life is better when tacos are involved, that is a fact. Enjoy!
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Carne Asada Steak
- 1 ½ lb skirt steak (see note #1)
- ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup orange juice
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
- ½ cup avocado oil or olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 4 chipotles in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp dark chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 10 flour or corn tortillas
- 4 oz cotija cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- You're going to add all the marinade ingredients to a bowl or ziplock bag. Skirt steaks can be pretty long, so depending on your grill size, you can cut it in half before marinating. Marinate for minimum 2 hours. Careful not to marinate for too long, or the citrus will toughen the meat. I would not marinate longer than overnight, unless you're using a thicker cut of meat.
- Remove the skirt steak from marinade and you can prepare either on the grill or in a cast iron pan.
- For the grill: Set temperature to 450F. Grill the steak for 3-5 minutes on each side. Skirt steak is best enjoyed rare or medium rare. For medium rare, using a thermometer, you want to pull the steak off at 125F because it will still cook while resting. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
- Cast iron: Remove the steak from the marinade and allow it to come to temperature for 15 minutes. In a seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat, cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, remove and allow to rest before cutting. (Using the cast iron will be very smokey in the house, so crack a window open and turn hood vent on)
- After letting the skirt steak rest, cut into slices. There are muscle fibers that create lines in the steak, you want to cut against those or else the meat will eat tough. This is called "cutting against the grain".
- You can enjoy the carne asada on it's own, or my favorite way to enjoy it is in a taco! Assemble the tacos using your favorite toppings and ingredients. Enjoy!
- Can't find skirt steak? You can substitute flank steak or flap steak. Since they are thicker cuts compared to the skirt steak, they will take a little longer to marinate and the cooking time will be longer for both of those alternate cuts.
- If the skirt steak is extremely long, you can cut it in half to make flipping on the grill easier.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 379Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 17mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 10gSugar: 5gProtein: 20g
*Note: Nutrition information is an estimate. Values vary based on different brands and ingredients*