Grilled Carne Asada

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Laura Lynch

This Grilled Carne Asada is marinated in a delicious blend of spices and herbs that infuse it with incredibly flavor. The beef is then grilled to perfection.

Grilled carne asada

Welcome to the world of grilled carne asada, a dish that’s not just a meal, but an experience. As someone who loves to grill and smoke food, I am a firm believer that mastering carne asada is about embracing the art of grilling.

With this recipe, you can transform a simple piece of meat into a mouth-watering feast. It’s one of the most enjoyable things we put on the grill.

What is Carne Asada?

Carne asada, which literally means ‘grilled meat’ in Spanish, is more than just a dish; it’s a cultural icon in Mexican cuisine. Typically, it’s made from skirt, flap, or flank steak, marinated in a blend of citrus, garlic, and traditional spices, and then grilled to perfection. The beauty of carne asada lies in its simplicity and the rich, robust flavors that come alive on the grill.

Carne asada is a versatile dish that can be served in a variety of ways. It is often used as a filling for tacos or burritos, but it can also be served on a bed of rice or with a side of beans. It is a great dish for entertaining, since it can be prepared ahead of time and then grilled or smoked to perfection just before serving.

We also love smoking carne asada. Check out our recipe if that’s more your jam. The most authentic method is to grill it, but we love smoking things, so why not!

» You might also like The Best Traeger Carne Asada.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients for grilled carne asada
  • Flank or flap steak – The cut of meat used for carne asada is typically skirt, flap, or flank steak. These cuts are thin and have a lot of surface area, which makes them perfect for absorbing the flavors of the marinade. It’s important to trim any excess fat from the meat before marinating and cooking.
  • Citrus juices – We use orange, lemon, and lime, but you can go with just one if you want.
  • Fresh cilantro – One of the the big contributors to the flavor and aroma.
  • Soy sauce – I always use low sodium soy sauce to manage the salt level.
  • Garlic – Use fresh garlic if you can. Garlic powder should only be used if you don’t have fresh.
  • Spices – chili powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper, chili powder
  • Olive Oil – It’s best to use olive oil in the marinade as it provides the meat with more flavor than a neutral oil would.

Equipment Needed

Read also » 5 Best Tabletop Grills

Helpful Tips

  • Choose the Right Cut: Skirt or flank steak are your go-tos for authentic carne asada. These cuts absorb the marinade well and cook quickly on the grill. If buying at a Mexican grocery, look for flap steak.
  • Marinate for Flavor: A blend of lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and chili gives carne asada its signature taste. Marinate for 24 hours for the most flavor.
  • Don’t Overcook: These cuts are best enjoyed medium-rare to medium. Cook for about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
  • Rest Before Serving: Let the meat rest for a few minutes after grilling. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and tender bite.

How To Make Grilled Carne Asada

Step 1: Marinate the Meat

Marinating the steak

The key to making delicious carne asada is marinating the meat. Here’s how:

  • In a large shallow bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients.
  • Submerge the steak into the bowl and make sure it’s fully covered by the marinade.
  • Cover and marinate the beef in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but more preferably 24 hours. The longer the better, as it allows the meat to absorb more of the flavors.

Step 2: Prepare the Grill

Once the meat is marinated, it’s time to prepare the grill. Preheat it to about 400°F (204°C)to 450° F(232°C). This is going to be a quick sear. Since the steak is so thin, it will only take between 3-5 minutes on each side to cook. You want to be sure to get good grill marks and a bit of sear on each side, for the best flavor.

Step 3: Grill the Meat

Grilling the steak

Remove the meat from the bowl of marinade and place the steak on the grill.

Grill the meat for 3-5 minutes per side, or until it reaches 130°-135° F(57°C) for medium-rare or your desired level of doneness.

Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Grilled carne asada

Internal Temperatures for Cooking Steak

To ensure that your food is both safe to eat and delicious, it is important to know the internal temperatures you should cook your meat too. For all types of steak, the recommended temps are:

  • Rare: 115-120° F
  • Medium rare: 125-130° F
  • Medium: 135-140° F
  • Medium well: 145-150° F
  • Well done: 150-155° F

Serving Suggestions

This versatile dish can be enjoyed in numerous ways: thinly sliced in tacos, atop a hearty salad, or simply as a main course with a side of grilled vegetables. For an authentic touch, serve it with warm tortillas, a squeeze of lime, and a dollop of fresh guacamole or salsa.

Experiment with different combinations and find your favorite way to enjoy carne asada.

How to Store Carne Asada

It’s important to store carne asada properly to maintain its quality and prevent foodborne illness.

  • Refrigerate: Store your cooked carne asada in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: If you want to store your carne asada for a longer period, you can freeze it. Wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and place it in a freezer-safe bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  • Thawing: When you’re ready to eat your frozen carne asada, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Do not thaw it at room temperature or in the microwave, as this can promote bacterial growth and lead to foodborne illness.
Grilled carne asada

How to Reheat Carne Asada

It can be challenging to reheat it without drying it out or overcooking it. Here is a simple and effective way to reheat Carne Asada:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F(204°C).
  2. Take the carne asada and place it on a baking sheet.
  3. Cover the carne asada with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 135°F(57°C).
  5. Remove the carne asada from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Grilled carne asada

Grilled Carne Asada

This Grilled Carne Asada is marinated in a delicious blend of spices and herbs that infuse it with incredibly flavor. The beef is then grilled to perfection.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 15 minutes
Calories: 249kcal
Author: Laura Lynch

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons (0.8 g) fresh cilantro minced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) ground paprika
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) chipotle powder
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 pound (454 g) flank steak or flap steak

Instructions

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Add the steak to the bowl and make sure the marinade covers all of it. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 24 hours.
  • When ready to cook, remove the steak from the refrigerator, take the steak out of the marinade and discard the remaining liquid.
  • Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grate.
  • Cook steak on the grill to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Notes

  • Skirt or flank steak are your go-tos for authentic carne asada. These cuts absorb the marinade well and cook quickly on the grill. If buying at a Mexican grocery, look for flap steak.
  • A blend of lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and chili gives carne asada its signature taste. Marinate for 24 hours for the most flavor.
  • Don’t overcook the steak. These cuts are best enjoyed medium-rare to medium. Cook for about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
  • Let the meat rest for a few minutes after grilling. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and tender bite.

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 591mg | Potassium: 544mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1004IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 3mg

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