The Best Carne Asada is a delicious, easy-to-make replica of that amazing, grilled steak you get in Mexican restaurants!
Growing up and living the majority of my life in southern California, I can tell you that I know carne asada. Of course, you can always eat it at a sit-down Mexican restaurant, but the best carne asada comes from taco shops. I’ve only seen taco shops in southern California, so if you’re not familiar with them, they are casual, mini restaurants (usually in a strip mall) where you order at the counter and take your food to go. They serve all your Mexican favorites like burritos, tacos, taquitos, etc., but unlike a sit-down restaurant, you’re in and out in about 10 minutes.
I’ve been ordering carne asada burritos and tacos for as long as I can remember. When you eat out, yeah, the food is amazing, but it’s usually not the healthiest option. So, as much as I love my taco shops, I’ve started making my own carne asada at home, and this recipe is for The Best Carne Asada.
The two most important factors for making The Best Carne Asada are 1) the meat and 2) the marinade. I always use either flank steak or skirt steak because they have the perfect carne asada texture. Skirt steak is cheaper, but also a little more chewy. You really can’t go wrong with either one, though.
The marinade for this carne asada is SO GOOD! It’s a little tangy from the limes, but it also has warm, earthy flavors from spices like cumin and chile powder. Let the steak soak up all that yummy goodness in the marinade for about 3 hours, then throw it on the grill. When it has been cooked to your preferred doneness, let it rest, then use it to make your Mexican favorites: tacos, nachos, burritos, whatever you like. If you really want to do it Cali-style, make carne asada fries or carne asada nachos and top them with sour cream and guacamole. Make sure you serve it with my Easy Homemade Salsa and The Best Mexican Rice and you’ll have one amazing Mexican feast.
Alternatively, you could switch it up by going the Argentinian route and serve this steak with my Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce.
- 1½ lb. skirt steak or flank steak
- the juice of 2 limes
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. chile powder
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- Couple grinds of black pepper
- ¼ tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- ⅓ cup cilantro leaves
- Place meat in a glass dish. (I use a rectangular 11 x 15 baking dish). Season it with salt & pepper.
- To make the marinade, add the rest of the ingredients to a blender. Blend until the consistency is smooth and there are no chunks of garlic.
- Pour the marinade over the meat. Flip it over and nestle it in the marinade, making sure both sides are well coated. Marinate for 3 hours in the refrigerator.
- When ready, grill meat to your desired doneness. Let it rest for several minutes, then cut across the grain and serve in your favorite Mexican meals.