Carne Asada

Carne Asada, steak marinated in lime juice and spices.

Carne Asada, or “roast meat” is a Mexican dish that’s commonly associated with barbecues. The spices used vary by region, but carne asada is almost always made with thin, cheap cuts of beef such as skirt steak or hanger steak. They may not be the most tender cuts, but boy howdy! they sure pack a wallop of flavour.

Carne Asada Recipe

Not only does this Carne Asada do a good job balancing the salt and spices with the fresh tang of limes and cilantro, it’s cheap, and easy to make. The marinade helps tenderize the meat, and if you’re rushing off to a mid summer barbecue, you can always add a bit of kiwi to recruit the services of its enzymes. These microscopic thugs will gleefully beat the crap out of any uncooperative strands of protein in the meat.

While you could just grill this up and eat it like a steak, I like chopping up the Carne Asada and stuffing it into fresh homemade tortillas to make tacos. It’s also great in a torta with some avocado and cilantro.

Carne Asada Tacos

My original Carne Asada post from over two years ago was the second post on this blog. It was back before I had the patience to photograph my food, and long before I started to measure and document the ingredients and steps. I debated whether to post about it again, but Carne Asada is one of my favourite preparations for beef, so I figured I should do it justice with an updated post.

Equipment you'll need:

Carne Asada

makes 8-10 tacos

1 skirt steak or 2 hanger steaks

marinade
juice of 1 limes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1-2 Serrano chillies, minced (to taste)
1 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoons ground cumin seed
2 teaspoons kosher salt (less if using table salt)
black pepper to taste
1 tablespoons pureed kiwi (optional)

garnish
1/4 cup sweet onions minced
1/4 cup cilantro minced

1 batch of homemade tortillas

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. Kiwi has a powerful enzyme called actinidin that breaks down protein, making it a great addition to the marinade if you don’t plan on letting the meat marinate overnight. Taste it and add more salt or sugar if needed. It should be relatively salty, but not so salty that it burns your tongue. The sugar is a personal preference thing. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar. Add the meat to the bag, squeeze out as much air as you can and seal the bag. Let this marinate for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to grill the meat, remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. This helps ensure the Carne Asada will cook evenly. If you’re using a broiler, move the rack to the top position and turn the broiler on high, with a grilling rack on top of a baking sheet. Scrape any excess marinade off the meat and place the meat on the grill. Cook until nicely browned on one side, flip and brown the other side. Skirt steak will cook much faster than hanger steak, so be careful not to overcook it.

Transfer the Carne Asada to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife to roughly chop up the meat then add it to a bowl with the sweet onions, cilantro, and any juices that accumulated on the baking sheet or cutting board.

Serve the Carne Asade with fresh tortillas and Pico De Gallo.

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I agree…beef porn!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I agree…beef porn!

  • http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com/2009/07/bun-thang-vermicelli-soup-with-chicken.html ravenouscouple

    This looks great. Love the homemade tortilla’s. We had some tacos a few weeks ago..and ran out of taco shells and ended up using some naan bread…it turned out great!

  • http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com/2009/07/bun-thang-vermicelli-soup-with-chicken.html ravenouscouple

    This looks great. Love the homemade tortilla’s. We had some tacos a few weeks ago..and ran out of taco shells and ended up using some naan bread…it turned out great!

  • http://nyonyapendekmelaka.blogspot.com/ npm

    I like the chopped bits, they look delicious! I think the bits would also go well as garnish for salads, you think? You got a really nice, cool blog! I will definitely come back.

  • http://nyonyapendekmelaka.blogspot.com npm

    I like the chopped bits, they look delicious! I think the bits would also go well as garnish for salads, you think? You got a really nice, cool blog! I will definitely come back.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    ooo thanks for the kiwi tip. i always thought it was papaya or something. anyway this looks real tender and delish! i’m feeling a bbq now.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    ooo thanks for the kiwi tip. i always thought it was papaya or something. anyway this looks real tender and delish! i’m feeling a bbq now.

  • http://www.beckysbaking.blogspot.com/ Becky

    That carne asada looks and sounds delicious! I had some really good carne asada in San Diego at the old town Mexican Cafe. It was amazing.

    I am going to save this recipe for when I want to try something different for dinner.

  • http://www.beckysbaking.blogspot.com Becky

    That carne asada looks and sounds delicious! I had some really good carne asada in San Diego at the old town Mexican Cafe. It was amazing.

    I am going to save this recipe for when I want to try something different for dinner.

  • http://www.deglazeme.blogspot.com/ Christina@DeglazeMe

    Boy howdy! Looks very tasty. Like Becky, the best carne asada I’ve had was in San Diego, just last weekend, actually! Maybe one day I’ll try to make it at home. Thanks, Marc!

  • http://www.deglazeme.blogspot.com Christina@DeglazeMe

    Boy howdy! Looks very tasty. Like Becky, the best carne asada I’ve had was in San Diego, just last weekend, actually! Maybe one day I’ll try to make it at home. Thanks, Marc!

  • http://blog.lemonpi.net/ Y

    Awesome. What more can I say.. I’m drooling!

  • http://blog.lemonpi.net Y

    Awesome. What more can I say.. I’m drooling!

  • http://www.palatetopen.com/ Jennifer

    Your Carne Asada looks scrumptious. And, your tip about kiwi enzymes is brilliant.

  • http://www.palatetopen.com Jennifer

    Your Carne Asada looks scrumptious. And, your tip about kiwi enzymes is brilliant.

  • Juan

    carne asada is actually just the roasted or cooked meat, not necesairily a particular dish, we call carne asada any meat were going to cook in the grill, like you say in the US “hey, lets have a barbecue”, we say “lets have a carne asada”, and the price or thickness of the cut varies

    • marc

      Good points Juan, I guess I should have probably labeled this Texmex/Calimex.

  • Juan

    carne asada is actually just the roasted or cooked meat, not necesairily a particular dish, we call carne asada any meat were going to cook in the grill, like you say in the US “hey, lets have a barbecue”, we say “lets have a carne asada”, and the price or thickness of the cut varies

    • marc

      Good points Juan, I guess I should have probably labeled this Texmex/Calimex.

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    I love cheap cuts–I’ll take flavor over tenderness any day! One of my favorite Mexican (Tex-Mex?) dishes is ropa viejo, msde with all sorts of dried peppers and steamed flank steak. The steak separates into long strands. Wonderful taco filling.

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    I love cheap cuts–I’ll take flavor over tenderness any day! One of my favorite Mexican (Tex-Mex?) dishes is ropa viejo, msde with all sorts of dried peppers and steamed flank steak. The steak separates into long strands. Wonderful taco filling.

  • Kathi

    Perfect timing! I pulled out the meat today and decided to do a quick recipe search for something different. My children are drooling in anticipation.

    Thank you for the great recipe and the pictures. :-)

    • Kathi

      Update: Absolutely FABULOUS! I should have doubled what I made…but it was fun eating it all and then wishing there was more! I forwarded the recipe to all my friends. This will be a regular around here. Thank you!

  • Kathi

    Perfect timing! I pulled out the meat today and decided to do a quick recipe search for something different. My children are drooling in anticipation.

    Thank you for the great recipe and the pictures. :-)

    • Kathi

      Update: Absolutely FABULOUS! I should have doubled what I made…but it was fun eating it all and then wishing there was more! I forwarded the recipe to all my friends. This will be a regular around here. Thank you!

  • http://thesophisticatedgourmet.blogspot.com/ Kamran Siddiqi

    Okay, some spanish for ya: ¡Delicioso!

    Bring on the homemade tortillas! I am so for them. So much cheaper to make and easier than going to get some…

    Great post!

  • http://thesophisticatedgourmet.blogspot.com Kamran Siddiqi

    Okay, some spanish for ya: ¡Delicioso!

    Bring on the homemade tortillas! I am so for them. So much cheaper to make and easier than going to get some…

    Great post!

  • http://thesplitpea.blogspot.com/ Eralda

    I love carne asada! It’s everywhere here in Texas. Yum!

  • http://thesplitpea.blogspot.com Eralda

    I love carne asada! It’s everywhere here in Texas. Yum!

  • http://www.sevenspoons.net/ tara

    Oh goodness. I’ve planned a vegetarian dinner for tonight, and now I totally don’t want it. Marc’s carne asada, please and thank you. This weekend, most definitely.

  • http://www.sevenspoons.net tara

    Oh goodness. I’ve planned a vegetarian dinner for tonight, and now I totally don’t want it. Marc’s carne asada, please and thank you. This weekend, most definitely.

  • http://zested.wordpress.com/ liz {zested}

    I love carne asada, and eat it nonstop whenever I’m back in San Diego. I like throwing a dash of tequila in the marinade as well.

  • http://zested.wordpress.com liz {zested}

    I love carne asada, and eat it nonstop whenever I’m back in San Diego. I like throwing a dash of tequila in the marinade as well.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That is some nice looking carne asada!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com Kevin

    That is some nice looking carne asada!

  • http://healthyindulgences.blogspot.com/ Lauren B.

    Oh my god, a meat post at Tastespotting! Your fabulous pic drew me in. Looks mouthwatering. *adds steak to shopping list*

    • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

      LOL… this comment cracked me up. i’m so freaking sick of tastespotting and it’s obsession w/ desserts i’ve actually stopped visiting. i’ll return again but it’s all just getting a bit monotonous! thanks lauren for this funny comment!!

  • http://healthyindulgences.blogspot.com Lauren B.

    Oh my god, a meat post at Tastespotting! Your fabulous pic drew me in. Looks mouthwatering. *adds steak to shopping list*

    • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

      LOL… this comment cracked me up. i’m so freaking sick of tastespotting and it’s obsession w/ desserts i’ve actually stopped visiting. i’ll return again but it’s all just getting a bit monotonous! thanks lauren for this funny comment!!

  • http://www.tasteslikehome.org/ Cynthia

    I once had carne asada at the home of a friend whose partner is Mexican and oh gosh, since that day, I have longed for that taste and texture!

  • http://www.tasteslikehome.org Cynthia

    I once had carne asada at the home of a friend whose partner is Mexican and oh gosh, since that day, I have longed for that taste and texture!

  • http://tastewiththeeyes.blogspot.com/ Lori Lynn

    Boy Howdy – great expression!
    This is awesome.
    LL

  • http://tastewiththeeyes.blogspot.com/ Lori Lynn

    Boy Howdy – great expression!
    This is awesome.
    LL

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ Syrie

    Marc, the beef looks divine. I love tacos. Made fish ones recently but I will definitely give yours a go.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com Syrie

    Marc, the beef looks divine. I love tacos. Made fish ones recently but I will definitely give yours a go.

  • http://kitchenmusings.com/ veron

    That’s one hunky piece of meat! Love how the meat fibers are highlighted in your picture. Very appetizing!

  • http://kitchenmusings.com veron

    That’s one hunky piece of meat! Love how the meat fibers are highlighted in your picture. Very appetizing!

  • http://constableslarder.com/ Giff

    love this kind of dish. Pureed kiwi huh? I *never* would have thought of that. Orange, yes. but kiwi? sounds cool!

  • http://constableslarder.com Giff

    love this kind of dish. Pureed kiwi huh? I *never* would have thought of that. Orange, yes. but kiwi? sounds cool!

  • http://www.flanboyanteats.com/ Bren

    I have to commend on the perfect and juicy look of your carne asada! we eat this a lot! i may have to share our Cuban version on the blog… stay tuned… :)

  • http://www.flanboyanteats.com Bren

    I have to commend on the perfect and juicy look of your carne asada! we eat this a lot! i may have to share our Cuban version on the blog… stay tuned… :)

  • Sammy Shine

    Are you married? ;-)

    Good stuff!

  • Sammy Shine

    Are you married? ;-)

    Good stuff!

  • Angie

    THIS IS NOT HOW YOU MAKE A TRADITIONAL MEXICAN CARNE ASADA!
    U DO NOT MARINATE THE MEAT WITH ALL THAT CRAP LISTED ABOVE, U JUST USE SALT AND PEPPER AND LET THE MEAT STAND BY IT SELF

    • Brooke

      Mexico is a big place… perhaps in another region or state they do it that way.

  • Angie

    THIS IS NOT HOW YOU MAKE A TRADITIONAL MEXICAN CARNE ASADA!
    U DO NOT MARINATE THE MEAT WITH ALL THAT CRAP LISTED ABOVE, U JUST USE SALT AND PEPPER AND LET THE MEAT STAND BY IT SELF

    • Brooke

      Mexico is a big place… perhaps in another region or state they do it that way.

  • http://thenoshery.com/ Meseidy

    Drooooool…..Mmmmm, my favorite. The add of the kiwi is most “intellesting”.

  • http://thenoshery.com Meseidy

    Drooooool…..Mmmmm, my favorite. The add of the kiwi is most “intellesting”.

  • http://www.bestpressurecookerreviews.com/ Ann of Pressure Cooker Reviews

    Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely try this one…I am fond of mexican foods.

  • -D-

    Nice, I started adding kiwi to recipes like this myself after coming up short on tomatillos one time, they fit into salsa verde and guacamole quite nicely.

  • https://www.acozykitchen.com Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen

    I've been “stumbling” a.k.a. procrastinating for the past hour, and this post of yours has inspired me to go get Mexican today for lunch. Unfortunately the only place around here isn't going to have these tacos!

  • bigchile

    im mexican and i never heard of this marinade but im gunna try it, new mexican flavor nothing wrong with trying new things

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  • Tyneherrera

    That would just be bland tasting meat on the grill!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742164051 Potencia Angel Poder

    You are making my mouth water… Going to try this tonight. :-)

  • Bob

    Pardon me, but I don't think Marc ever stated this was a traditional recipe. Doesn't need to be traditional to be delicious. Additionally, you may be confusing typical Carne Asada that you find on the street in Tijuana with high-end serious Mexican cooking that you may find in a top notch restaurant. Places like that DO marinate their carne with various spices as Marc suggests.

    • Eccovoz

       I don’t know if you’ve ever had “typical Carne Asada that you find on the street in Tijuana” but it blows “high-end serious Mexican” cooking in the US out of the water! My family is from Mexico and when we go eat tacos on the street in Tijuana, it is some of THE most fabulous tasting meat I have ever had in my life. And you’re right, there are many variations of how they marinade their meat. However, with a good cut of beef that’s freshly slaughtered and has been grain fed, (which is typical in Mexico unlike US mass-food production) all you need is some salt and pepper and the quality of the meat will speak for itself.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YO4FDIGPPNV6RHS47MEAOPBP6Y L Kathleen

    Mexican food by far it my favorite! If I had to choose one kind of food to eat for the rest of my life I would without a doubt choose Mexican. I have tried a few recipes for carne asada but I like trying new ones because you never know what you might get. Mexican Recipes are great because there are many different variations on how to prepare meals and even the smallest differences can greatly impact the taste. I work with Better Recipes so I am always reviewing recipes and I cannot wait to try this one later this week.

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  • Pandorazbox

    I made this today, and it was amazing!!! Thank you so much for the recipe, it tasted exactly like my favorite restaurant.

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  • maria

    I made this for Super Bowl Weekend, the whoooole family loved it! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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  • Drillinagain

    Your recipe sounds great. I have one tip. Noticed in the pic you were carving with the grain which seems from the cut to be the way to go. Try dividing the slab then cutting against the grain..i know i know..sounds silly but it truly makes a HUGE difference.

  • Volleyballgranny

    Thanks for reposting–with the measurements and pictures! Cutting against the grain IS the way to go–the meat just melts apart. Thanks, again!

  • Golddyjh9

    What kind of camera did u use?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      The bottom 2 shots were taken with a Sony a100 and the top one was taken with a Sony a550. I think I used a Carl Zeiss 24-70mm f2.8 lens for all of them.

      • Golddyjh9

        i have a sony a330. those pictures are really nice. and i need some new lenses. also, i made the carne asada and so far its turning out great!

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  • http://www.huscompagniet.se/malmoe Nya hus

    It was such a great inspiration for me and i would like to   share this beautiful

  • The Chic Boutique

    I love Carne Asada!   I used to have this all the time on real thin sliced steaks and it is awesome.  I was so happy to find the recipe so that I can have this in Ohio now!!!!   THANKS SO MUCH!!!!

  • RehabNurse

    It is wild to see you on “CHOPPED” & look up your web page.  Your recipes read as great dishes, especially the Carne Asada!  Your pictures are wonderful.

  • AZ Sky

    Thanks to watching Chopped in Phoenix, AZ tonight, I discovered your blog. I agree Carne Asada is an easy dish to make with many  possible variations. Thanks for yours!

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  • Eccovoz

    When I make carne asada, I squeeze in some green lemons, oranges, slice some jalapenos, onions and bell peppers, add in a dark beer like modelo negro or XX, a pinch of cumin, salt and freshly ground pepper. Let sit for a couple of hours and we’re in business.

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  • johnny b

    I am so hungry to try this recipe for carne asada i can hardly wait thanks

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  • http://www.facebook.com/gwendolynroark Gwendolyn Fox Roark

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. This is now our go to flank steak recipe. We have probably made it 6 times since I found it 4 months ago. We made it for my daughter’s 2nd b-day. There were NO left overs!!! And we ended up sharing this recipe with several of the party goers.

    Everything we made for the party (including a link back here) is at: http://notyournormalsteam.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/duck-a-palooza-part-2-food/

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Wow you have a lucky 2 year old! That looks like quite a spread:-)

  • Ann

    I love your blog Marc. If I were to use kiwi puree, how long can I “safely” marinade the meat without it going mushy on me? Thanks Marc.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      As long as you’re not using fillet, you should be able to soak the meat for quite some time before it turns mushy. With Hanger steak I usually let it marinate for a day.

  • Lauren

    This is my go to Carne Asada recipe, love the garlic flavor that comes through every time I make it. I always “taste test” it when I’m chopping it up. Such a wonderful and easy meal

  • gojiberry

    Thank you endlessly for the tip about kiwi puree!
    My beloved is from the heart of Mexico’s ranch lands, and trying to mimic that incredible texture in your average cut of mass produced skirt steak is almost impossible…until now! :)

  • Guest

    Looks like a great recipe, and I’ll need to try the kiwi. I have heard papaya used for the same reason. One tip though, in the photo the skirt or flank is cut along the grain. These types of cuts in particular should be cut against the grain.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Try the kiwi, it tenderizes the meat enough that with the grain is fine.

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  • Dan

    I marinate all my Elk and Antelope steaks with this recipe, all my guests say it is the most tender and tasty meat they have had.

  • Haven

    I tried this recipe and my hIpband and all his friends are from Sqn Luis Potosi, Mexico and he has been missing his childhood favorites! I looked up different recipes n fr. The pic’s this was by far the closest thing to his mother’s. But him and his friends Liked it A LOT but said the taste was different. They buy it fr. The Mexican stores in the area as well. Any suggestions on what could be the difference? ? They like there food HOT oh so I did add a little extra Serrano pepper.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Haven, since Carne Asada just means “grilled meat” it’s preparation varies a lot by region. My guess is they’re probably used to having less lime in the marinade as lime is usually a condiment that’s squeezed on top. They’re also probably used to the meat being more tough because both lime juice and kiwi tenderize meat.

  • Haven

    All MY friends and family who have not tried Carne Asada loved LOVED this recipe. I even had a family friend who doesn’t eat meat loving it!

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!