Part two of Street Tacos.
This is street food at its best. Grilled meat. Literally, in Spanish. But I didn’t grill outside today and you don’t have to either. Unless you want to. It’s pretty great that way too!
The key to this dish, the secret if you will, is to marinade the meat in lots of flavor.
This is another of those recipes that is more method or technique than it is recipe. It depends on what looks good at the butcher, what produce you can get, and even what flavors you like best.
Typically, this dish involves a skirt, flank, or flap steak. Today I used a flank steak. But there’s nothing that says you can’t use a nice ribeye or sirloin if that’s what you have or prefer. Just look for a thin cut.
Personally, we buy our meat from a local butcher who knows the rancher or farmer who raised the animals and knows the animal was treated well. It’s important to us personally and that’s the choice we made a while ago. And most of the time it does not cost more than the better grades at the grocery store. But sometimes it does.
Citrus is a big key to this dish. Not only does the acid help tenderize the cut but the sugars caramelize beautifully over the high heat. Do you need to squeeze fresh oranges and limes? No, of course not. But at least try for organic juice.
A handful of roughly-chopped cilantro, a few cloves of garlic, and a jalapeno or two. Then some oil, vinegar, kosher salt, and black pepper to pull it all together.
You could also toss in a spoon of cumin, chili powder, or cayenne if you want. You do you.
Into a gallon-sized plastic bag, the freezer types are typically heavier plastic, and then into the refrigerator for a minimum of several hours and preferably overnight or even a full day ahead. You could use any shallow bowl or plastic container too — just be sure to seal it up.
We want to give the marinade every chance to soak into and impart flavors into the meat.
Every now and then, squish and slosh it around to help make sure every surface gets an even marinade.
Then, either pre-heat the grill or the stove, high heat (not insta-burn high, but higher than medium, okay?). Once everything’s nice and hot, scrape off the marinade bits and pieces, season with some more salt and pepper, and onto the heat it goes.
Let it cook. Turn it over half-way through. My cut took about five minutes per side but that depends on how thick your cut is and exactly how hot your fire is.
Once both sides are nicely done, a bit of charring where the citrus juice sugars have browned up, check it with an instant read thermometer (like this one) for doneness. About 130°F-135°F. (If you’re a pretty good judge at the steak on the grill thing, just use your best judgement.)
Remove it from the heat and let it rest for ten minutes. Then, and this is very important, slice it very thin against the grain.
That’s it. Serve and enjoy. Your people are going to love this one.
Carne Asada makes a simple yet fantastic street taco. A citrus marinade, cooked over high heat, and then sliced thin. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.
- 2-3 lbs skirt, flank, or flap steak (also see note)
- 4 tablespoons lime juice Juice of two limes.
- 4 tablespoons orange juice Juice of an orange.
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
- 1/2 cup oil I prefer olive oil but canola or similar is also fine.
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped Serranos or habaneros are good too if you like heat.
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped About 1/2 to 1 cup chopped.
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more just before cooking
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, plus more just before cooking
Mix all of the ingredients in a heavy plastic bag or other sealed container. Try to coat all of the meat surface.
Refrigerate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, and even up to a day in advance.
Scrape off marinade bits and pieces from the meat and cook over high heat, turning once half-way through, until it measures at least 130°F-135°F internal temperature in the middle.
Let rest ten minutes.
Slice thin against the grain of the meat.
You can cut the meat in half and divide the marinade between two bags if it doesn't easily fit in one. But only one piece of meat per bag so it marinades evenly.