Carne asada realy just means grilled beef, so it’s a pretty generic term. However, what I generally think of is a marinated piece of flank or skirt steak, cut into thin strips and then served in tortillas along with some garnishes. And since that’s what I think of when I hear “carne asada,” that’s what we’re making for the August Steak of the Month:
The Flank steak is a long, flat cut that comes from the abdomen of the animal. The muscle fibers are tough, long, and coarse, because they work hard. And because they work hard, they’re also full of deep beef flavor. The trick is to prepare flank steak and cut it to maximize flavor while minimizing toughness. Fortunately, this is not hard to do. With its long, loose muscle fiber structure, flank steak is made to hold onto flavorful marinades. Take a shortcut here and order your flank steak marinated in any of The Butcher’s Markets’ bold marinades, although I recommend the ancho chili lime marinade for this recipe.
Cook your flank steak hot and fast, let it rest, and slice it against the grain to cut those muscle fibers into short sections and rendering it tender. With some cuts, it’s hard to tell which way the fibers actually run, but with flank steak, the long fibers are apparent, and all you have to do is make your slices perpendicular to the grain.
Carne Asada Flank Steak Tacos
Whether cooking indoors or out, you will get great results by cooking quickly over high heat. We recommend cooking flank steak to medium rare to keep the interior juicy and flavorful. And don’t forget to slice across the grain. Cut straight down for thin slices for tacos, or make your cuts on an extreme bias to end up with broader slices that look nice when plated alone.
- 2-pound flank steak, marinated in The Butcher’s Market Ancho-Lime marinade or marinade of your choice.
- Kosher salt
- Flour tortillas
- Tomatillo, diced
- Red onion, diced
- Shaved red radish (slice very thinly with a knife or use a mandoline or even a sharp vegetable peeler)
- Cotija cheese, crumbled (or substitute shredded cheddar or jack)
- Fresh Cilantro, chopped
- Lime wedges to squeeze over the tacos
Other Garnish Ideas
- Salsa or salsa verde
- Mexican crema or sour cream
- Diced pickled jalapeno
- Yah’s Best Cole Slaw
- Remove the meat from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking to allow to come to room temperature.
- If cooking indoors, heat your largest cast iron skillet over medium high heat for a good 10 minutes.
- If cooking on the grill, get a deep bed of coals screaming hot. or on gas preheat to high.
- Place the meat in the skillet or directly over the coals and close the lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, only flipping once, until the center of the meat reads 130F.
- If cooking inside, repeat with the other half of your flank steak.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain.
To Warm the Tortillas
- Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat until hot, about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle a bit of cold water on one side of each tortilla.
- Place it, wet side down, in the skillet and let cook about 30 seconds or until there are some deep golden brown spots on that side. Sprinkle a bit more water on the uncooked side of the tortilla and flip. Cook an additional 30 seconds, or until nicely browned in spots.
- Keep warm in a 200F oven until all your tortillas are cooked.
To Assemble the Tacos
- For each taco, consider 2 tortillas stacked
- Top with 2-3 slices of flank steak.
- Garnish with any or all of the garnishes. Less is more, so plan on using no more than 1-2 teaspoons of each kind of garnish. You can be a bit more liberal with the sour cream or salsa, if using, but overfilling leads to messy tacos.
- You can top all the tacos yourself, or present a taco bar by providing bowls of each topping and allowing your guests to use their favorite combination of toppings.
Developed for The Butcher’s Market By Jenni Field the Pastry Chef Online