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Easy Authentic Carne Asada Recipe

This Delicious Carne Asada recipe features tender, marinated, and grilled beef that’s perfect for tacos, burritos, or simply served on its own. This meal is incredibly flavorful, juicy, and delicious.

carne Asada served on a cutting board

Authentic Carne Asada Recipe

Carne Asada, while sounding exotic, is simply grilled meat. This dish has deep roots in Mexican culinary traditions. It is known for its bold, delicious, tangy, and savory flavors. Whether enjoyed at a festive gathering or a casual backyard barbecue, carne asada brings a sense of joy and celebration to any occasion.

Let’s get into it. 

Carne Asada is known and enjoyed for its flavourful, char-grilled meat. The marinade, typically made with citrus juices, garlic, and spices, tenderizes the meat while also infusing it with the most delicious and distinct flavors. 

Carne Asada meat features grilled and sliced beef, typically cut from either skirt steak, flap steak, flank steak, or chuck steak. This meal has its roots in Mexican cuisine and gets its name from the style of meat preparation commonly used in that country.

While regional variations exist, the essence of carne asada lies in the smoky charred flavors that result from grilling the meat to perfection.

What’s more lovely about this meal is that you can enjoy it on its own as an ingredient in other dishes, and it can be enjoyed in various ways, such as in tacos or burritos, on fries, or served with rice and beans. 

Carne Asada served over tortilla with cilantro

Choosing the Right Cut of Meat

Selecting the perfect cut of beef is crucial for a successful carne asada experience. While skirt steak and flank steak are traditional choices, you can also opt for cuts like sirloin. Look for well-marbled meat with a rich red color. Remember to trim any excess fat to avoid flare-ups on the grill. If possible, ask your local butcher for recommendations or assistance in choosing the ideal cut for your carne asad

Carne Asada Marinade

One of the key elements of a fantastic carne asada lies in the marinade. A well-crafted marinade not only enhances the meat’s natural flavors but also tenderizes it.

A classic marinade for carne asada usually includes ingredients like lime or orange juice, garlic, onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, and a touch of vinegar or soy sauce for depth. The acidic citrus juices work their magic by breaking down the muscle fibers, resulting in a tender and juicy final product. Each of these ingredients brings a ton of flavor to the meat, and the zest of the lime juice is perfect.

The beauty of marinades is that they can vary greatly, allowing you to experiment and find your preferred combination.

For the best results, I suggest marinating the steak for a minimum of 2-12 hours before grilling. Allowing the steak to soak up the flavors for an extended period of time will result in a truly remarkable taste experience.

Grilling

Grilling is the heart and soul of carne asada, imparting those distinctive smoky flavors that we all crave. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, ensuring it’s nice and hot before placing the marinated meat on it.

This helps create a flavorful sear and locks in the juices. Aim for a few minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your steak, to achieve a medium-rare or medium doneness. Remember to let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing it, allowing the juices to redistribute and ensure maximum tenderness.

Carne Asada Ingredients 

  • Flank steak or skirt steak: These cuts of meat are chosen for their rich, beefy flavor and tender texture when cooked properly
  • Lime and orange juice: These citrus juices provide acidity to the marinade, helping to tenderize the meat and add a bright, tangy flavor
  • White wine vinegar – you can also use apple cider vinegar 
  • Olive oil: provides a spicy kick to the dish, adding depth and complexity to the flavor profile
  • Fresh Cilantro: To garnish the meal
  • Garlic – this should be minced 
  • Jalapeno: to add some heat and flavor to the dish
  • Seasonings: Ground cumin, Smoked paprika, Ancho Chili powder, Dried Oregano, Freshly ground black pepper, Salt, and Pepper to taste. 

How to make my Carne Asada Recipe

  • Marinade: To make Carne Asada marinade, combine lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl. 
  • Coat: Add the steak to the marinade, coat it thoroughly, and refrigerate it for 2-12 hours. 
  • Grill: Preheat the grill and grill the steak for about 3-4 minutes per side. 
  • Slice: Let rest for 5 minutes and slice against the grain. Serve: Put the sliced steak in warmed tortillas with onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salsa.
  • Enjoy!

Serving

Carne asada is commonly accompanied by a range of side dishes that complement its rich flavors. These include Mexican staples like Mexican rice, cilantro lime rice, refried beans, guacamole, salsa, and pico de Gallo.

Other ways to serve:

  • Tacos: Simply pile the grilled meat onto warm corn or flour tortillas and top with your favorite taco fixings, such as diced onions, cilantro, salsa, guacamole, and a squeeze of lime.
  • Burritos: Fill a large flour tortilla with carne asada, rice, beans, cheese, and your choice of toppings, such as pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole, then roll it up to create a satisfying burrito.
  • Fajitas: Serve the grilled carne asada with sautéed bell peppers and onions, and let everyone build their own fajitas using warm tortillas and their favorite toppings.
  • Salads: For a lighter option, toss the carne asada with mixed greens, avocado, tomatoes, corn, black beans, and a zesty dressing to create a flavorful and filling salad.
  • Rice bowls: Create a hearty rice bowl by topping cooked rice with carne asada, beans, grilled vegetables, and your choice of toppings, such as pico de gallo, avocado, and a drizzle of crema.
  • Pizza: Use the carne asada as a topping for a Mexican-inspired pizza, along with salsa, cheese, jalapeños, and your choice of additional toppings.
Carne Asada served over cilantro rice and garnished with cilantro

Frequently Asked Questions

How to season Carne asada

For this recipe, we use lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper to season and marinate the meat. Allow the meat to marinate for at least 2 hours before you grill or sear it, then let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.

What kind of meat is carne asada?

While skirt and flank steaks are the traditional and most popular choices for carne asada, you can also use other cuts like hanger steak, sirloin, or even ribeye. Just keep in mind that cooking times and tenderness may vary depending on the cut you choose.

Can I marinate the meat for longer than overnight?

It’s best to marinate the meat for at least 2 hours but overnight is ideal for maximum flavor and tenderness. Marinating for more than 24 hours can cause the meat to become mushy due to the acidity in the marinade, so it’s not recommended.

Can I make Carne Asada ahead?

Certainly! Try to prepare carne Asada ahead of time by marinating the meat in the fridge for up to 12 hours prior to cooking or grilling. Just keep in mind that over-marinating the meat can lead to the steak fibers breaking down, so avoid marinating for too long. In addition, once the meat is cooked, refrigerate for a few days, but it’s best consumed within 3 days for the best flavor and freshness.

Can I make this recipe with chicken, pork, or another protein?

While carne asada traditionally uses beef, you can certainly use the marinade with other proteins like chicken, pork, or even tofu. Just be sure to adjust the cooking times accordingly, as different proteins have different cooking requirements.

How do I store leftover Carne Asada

To properly store carne asada, start by allowing it to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it into an airtight container or freezer bag. If you plan on consuming the meat within a few days, place it in the refrigerator.

However, for longer-term storage of up to 3 months, freeze it in a tightly wrapped freezer-safe wrap or bag to prevent freezer burn. To reheat, warm it gently in a skillet, oven, or microwave until heated through.

Other meat recipes you’d enjoy

carne Asada served on a cutting board

Authentic Carne Asada Recipe

Enjoy the taste of Mexico in your mouth with this tasty and flavorful Authentic Carne Asada recipe. This meal is incredibly flavorful, juicy and delicious. Pair this meal with the crispy churros or even avocados for the yummiest tastes.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
2 hours
Servings: 6
Calories: 303.9kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1 lime juiced (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar subst. white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice about 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and minced (optional for spiciness)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, orange juice, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, minced jalapeno, olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, dried oregano, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Whisk the ingredients together until well combined.
  • Place the flank or skirt steak in a large, resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the steak, ensuring that it's fully coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours for best results. Turn the steak occasionally to ensure even marinating.
  • Preheat your grill to high heat (about 450°F or 230°C). If using a charcoal grill, let the coals burn until they're covered with white ash. Clean and oil the grates before grilling to prevent sticking.
  • Remove the steak from the marinade, allowing any excess liquid to drip off. Place the steak on the hot grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until your desired level of doneness is reached. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature; 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare, 140°F (60°C) for medium, 160°F to 165°F for well done.
  •  Transfer the cooked steak to a cutting board and let it rest for about 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. After resting, slice the steak against the grain into thin strips.
  •  If desired, serve the sliced steak in warmed corn or flour tortillas, topped with chopped onion, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a drizzle of salsa or hot sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 303.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 32.9g | Fat: 16.8g | Saturated Fat: 4.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9.6g | Cholesterol: 90.7mg | Sodium: 85.1mg | Potassium: 591.9mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 1.5g | Vitamin A: 324.8IU | Vitamin C: 13.8mg | Calcium: 49.9mg | Iron: 2.9mg

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