If you're looking for an authentic Carne Asada recipe - this is it! Grilled Carne Asada tastes better and looks more beautiful than it has a right to, if you judge a meal by the amount of effort it takes. And it's a sensory pleasure before it even touches the grill!
As you squeeze fresh orange, lime and lemon juices for the marinade, then whisk in cilantro, garlic and jalapeño, the aroma that floats up to your nose is nothing short of heavenly. Then the steak cooks hot and fast, on your table in about 20 minutes, complete with gorgeous grill marks and a perfectly pink and tender interior.
Ingredients You Need to Make Carne Asada
- Steak: outside skirt steak is best for tenderness and flavor, but flank steak is also an option
- Jalapeño: with the seeds if you like for extra spicy kick
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves
- Fresh Cilantro: both the tender leaves and stems
- Orange: juice of 1 fresh orange
- Lime: juice of 1 fresh lime
- Lemon: juice of 1 fresh lemon
- Apple Cider Vinegar: or white vinegar
- Olive Oil: extra-virgin olive oil
- Ground Cumin
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Carne Asada Marinade
Carne Asada marinade is an essential part of making this recipe authentic! Zesty, fresh citrus juices (lime juice, orange juice, and lemon juice) and apple cider vinegar tenderize the beef, while fresh cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper season it to perfection. It's important to give the meat plenty of time to marinate, a minimum of 1 hour and up to 8 hours, to soak up all of the delicious flavors!
The literal translation of the term means Carne (flesh, meat or beef) and Asada (roast, broiled, grilled), typically translated to 'Grilled Meat' and most often is seared in some way for that signature charred flavor (which you can get with a grill pan too using my recipe for Carne Asada in the oven.)
There are several cuts of beef used to make Carne Asada including sirloin and tenderloin, but most recipes call for either flank steak or skirt steak. I've tried both and definitely prefer outside skirt steak for its flavor and texture. Either way you'll want to thinly slice the steak across the grain before serving for maximum tenderness!
How Long to Grill?
Grill the steak over a medium-high flame for 7 to 10 minutes until it reaches 130°F for medium rare, 10 to 12 minutes until it reaches 140°F for medium. (The steak will continue to cook once you've removed it from the grill.) Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
How to Serve
This grilled Mexican steak is perfect any time you have plans for an outdoor get together with friends and family. But be sure you make plenty (or make Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas to go with it!) Serve it on its own, or with warm tortillas, fresh pico de gallo and all the toppings for:
- Carne Asada Tacos
- Carne Asada Burritos
- Carne Asada Quesadillas
- Carne Asada Steak Salad
- Carne Asada Nachos
- Carne Asada Fries
How to Store
Store leftover carne asada in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or freeze in a freezer safe ziptop bag or container for up to 2 months.
How to Make Carne Asada
Combine all marinade ingredients in a large, glass baking dish. Add raw skirt steak or flank steak, turning to coat and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours (any longer will start to break down the meat).
Carne Asada Recipe
- 2 pounds skirt steak trimmed of excess fat (recipe note #2)
Carne Asada Marinade
- 1 jalapeño seeded and minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
- juice of 1 orange
- juice of 1 lime
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a large glass baking dish whisk together Carne Asada marinade ingredients (jalapeño through black pepper) until combined. Add skirt steak in a single layer, turning to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but no longer than 8 hours (longer will begin to break down the meat - recipe note #3).
- When you're ready to grill: preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Grill steaks for 7 to 10 minutes per side, turning once for medium-rare. Remove steaks and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Slice thinly across the grain and serve.
- To make this version, we started with a recipe from Tyler Florence and switched it up to make it our own: swapping in apple cider vinegar, reducing the oil a bit and adding a third citrus flavor (lemon) and some cumin. Adding lemon juice to the mix happened by chance. I'd just finished a batch of homemade tonic water which left us with a slew of lemons, limes and oranges, flesh and juice intact, sans zest. And I love the citrus trifecta - now I may always use making tonic water as an excuse to make Carne Asada!
- Ask your butcher or grocery meat counter for 'outside skirt steak' for the most flavorful and juicy results.
- Note that the longer you marinate the skirt steak, the more tender and flavorful it will be come. But be sure to grill it within 8 hours to maintain the texture of the meat.