Carne Asada Tacos: The Best Beef Tacos Ever
Your new favorite carne asada tacos recipe – a super flavorful marinade for skirt or flank steak, easily prepared on the grill, served on tortillas with all the fixings. Let’s get cooking!
I have to say that, to me, carne asada tacos are by far the best beef tacos I’ve ever had. Period. I’ve had other beef tacos and some of the were very good, some of them not so good. Even in Mexican restaurants.
The trouble with some beef tacos is the chewiness. Either the cooks are working with sub quality meats, or they’re not marinating their beef. Or perhaps they’re not cooking it properly.
I wish I knew. It becomes a texture issue, which is why when I am craving some great beef tacos at home, I turn to carne asada tacos. These tacos always deliver, and they’re crazy easy to prepare. Plus, there is enough to feed a crowd, so consider them for your next party.
What is Carne Asada?
Carne Asada translates to “Grilled Meat” from Spanish. It was once a simple thing, though the recipe has evolved over many generations. It basically refers to beef that is marinated and grilled, then served up.
I recently did a series on carne asada recipes. Here are the links for your review.
Let’s talk about how we make these crazy awesome beef tacos, shall we?
How to Make Carne Asada Tacos – the Recipe Method
First, make the carne asada marinade by whisking together the following ingredients: 1-2 minced serrano peppers (or use jalapeno peppers for a milder version), 4 cloves minced garlic, ¼ – ½ cup chopped cilantro, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons chili oil, juice from 2 large oranges (about a ¾ cup orange juice), juice from 2 limes (about 1/4 cup lime juice), 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar is good, too), 1 tablespoon ancho powder (optional, but I LOVE it), 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper.
Alternatively, you can process the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Next, add a 2 pound flank steak or skirt steak to a large sealable bag with the marinade and rub it thoroughly into the meat. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for more flavor penetration.
When you’re ready to grill, discard the marinade, then grill the marinated steak on your outdoor grill for 8-10 minutes per side, on medium-high heat, or until cooked to your liking. 135 degrees F is medium-rare.
I like to use my ThermoPop meat thermometer from ThermoWorks (I’m an affiliate). Works great! Almost there!
Let the steak rest for 10 minutes, then thinly slice the steak against the grain into bite-sized pieces.
Serve the steak onto warmed corn tortillas and top with roasted jalapeno, avocado, tomato, cilantro, chili flakes and hot sauce. Or whatever toppings you prefer! Your choices are limitless.
BOOM! It’s taco time! I know you’re going to love these tacos. So awesome. So delicious. So satisfying. This is everything a beef taco should be. Mexican food is my favorite. I hope you enjoy them.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Slice Against the Grain. Slicing the meat against the grain will allow the meat to break apart more easily when you’re eating it. Slicing along the grain will make for chewier tacos.
- Grilling Alternative. If you’re unable to grill your carne asada, you can easily sear it on a cast iron pan or in a heavy grill pan in your kitchen. You can easily slice the steak into manageable pieces and cook them that way.
- The Steak. I recommend skirt steak or flank steak for this recipe, as they are more traditional for carne asada. However, you can realistically use any cut of steak you’d like. Try it with a good ribeye or tri-tip. SO GOOD. These are essentially “steak fajitas” made with skirt steak. So delicious.
- Leftovers. I like to make a large portion of carne asada and freeze it for enjoying later on because it reheats awesomely and you can incorporate it into other meals, like tacos. Taco night made easy!
About the Taco Toppings
Here is where tacos really shine, depending on your preference. Some people are big toppings people. They like loads of toppings and really piling it in. Others prefer to keep things simple, adding maybe a touch of lime, a bit of onion, maybe some cilantro. The choice is yours.
I’m using roasted jalapeno peppers, diced tomato and avocado, cilantro, spicy chili flakes and a few dashes of hot sauce. Hot sauce, yes! Hot sauce on everything, my friends. There is so much more you can do, like chopped red onion for a bit of crunch, creamy guacamole, verde sauce. I’m getting hungry just thinking about all the topping possibilities.
Try some of these topping ideas:
Serve them alongside these awesome Cantina Style Pickled Jalapenos and Carrots. So good!
That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Tacos al Pastor – Shepherd Style Mexican Pork Tacos
- Beef Enchiladas
- Chicken Enchiladas Verde with Cheese
- Rajas Poblanas – Roasted Poblano Strips in Cream Sauce
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Mexican Chicken Tortas
- Carne Asada – Mexican Grilled Steak
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
- 1-2 serrano peppers minced (or use jalapeno peppers for a milder version)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ - ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chili oil
- Juice from 2 large oranges about a ¾ cup
- Juice from 2 limes
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar apple cider vinegar is good, too
- 1 tablespoon ancho powder optional, but I LOVE it
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds skirt or flank steak
- 12 corn tortillas warmed
- Roasted jalapeno peppers
- Diced tomato
- Diced avocado
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Spicy chili flakes
- Your favorite hot sauce
- Whisk together the serrano peppers, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, chili oil, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, ancho powder, cumin and salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl until well combined.
- Alternatively, you can process the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
- To use the marinade, add it to a large sealable bag with the steak and rub it thoroughly into the meat. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for more flavor penetration.
- Discard the marinade, then grill the marinated steak on the grill for 8-10 minutes per side, or until cooked to your liking. 135 degrees F is medium-rare. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes, then slice it against the grain into bite-sized pieces.
- Serve the steak onto warmed tortillas and top with roasted jalapeno, avocado, tomato, cilantro, chili flakes and hot sauce.