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Carne Asada Tacos

Indulge in the mouth-watering flavors of tender and juicy carne asada steak, marinated and grilled to perfection, to create irresistible carne asada tacos. Fill a warm corn tortilla with the juicy steak and garnish with cilantro and onion for melt-in-your-mouth street-style steak tacos.

If you’re craving more than tacos, try this carne asada platter next!

Three carne asada tacos with toppings.

What is Carne Asada

Carne asada is Spanish for grilled meat; steak is marinated, grilled, and thinly sliced to serve. But preparing carne asada steak is more than just grilling meat – it’s a whole event. Like barbecues in the United States, la larrilada norteña involves an open fire, plenty of meat, a grill master, and friends and family to enjoy the meal.

What You Need to Make This Recipe

For the Marinade:

  • Garlic: I suggest using eight fresh garlic cloves, but measure with your heart.
  • Jalapeño: If you love jalapeños but crave more spice, leave the seeds and membrane intact when chopping them.
  • Onion: Slice white onion, then add it to the marinade for the carne asada.
  • Lime: Use the juice from two whole limes.
  • Orange: Flavor the marinade with juice from one fresh orange, or use half a cup of orange juice with no pulp.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil works alongside the other ingredients to break down and flavor the steak.
  • Dark Soy Sauce: Dark soy sauce is unlike light or all-purpose soy sauce. Dark soy sauce has a more intense flavor, and the saltiness is perfect for marinating.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Use apple cider vinegar to marinate the steak.
The ingredients for the carne asada marinade.

For the Carne Asada Tacos:

  • Flap Steak: Flap steak, or ranchero de res, is the meat of choice. You can also use skirt steak or flank steak.
  • Corn Tortillas: Warm corn tortillas are the best way to enjoy the carne asada platter. Check out these tips and tricks for how to heat corn tortillas.
  • Toppings: Finely chop onions and cilantros for the topping.

How to Make Carne Asada Tacos

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Add the crushed garlic, jalapeño, onion, lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, and pepper to a resealable bag. Seal it and combine the ingredients.

Marinated carne asada in a bag.

Step 2: Add the steak to the bag and combine it with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Marinated carne asada in a bag.

Step 3: Preheat the grill by setting all burners on high for about 10 minutes. 

Remove the steak and discard the excess marinade. Cook for 7- 10 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak.

Carne asada searing on the grill.

Step 4: Remove from heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Steak resting on a cutting board.

Step 5: Slice the beef against the grain, and serve inside warmed corn tortillas with fresh onion and cilantro.

Cutting carne asada against the grain.

Expert Tips

  • Let the steak marinate for at least 30 minutes, but 1-2 hours in the refrigerator is best.
  • Get your cooking surface very hot. You want the meat to develop a nice sear, so use a hot grill as I do, a grill pan, or a cast iron skillet.
  • Cook the meat quickly over high heat. Carne asada cooks fast. If using thin meat like skirt steak, I recommend only 2-4 minutes per side; resist the urge to move it around too much, or it won’t get a nice char.

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Can I Make This Recipe on the Stovetop?

If you don’t have access to an outdoor grill, make carne asada tacos on the stovetop. Begin by warming oil in a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over high heat. Sear the meat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, and enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

In case you need help deciding, here are the best side dishes for carne asada:

What to do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate – Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze – Let the steak cool, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. The meat for carne asada tacos will freeze for 2-3 months.
  • Thaw – Defrost the steak in the fridge overnight.
  • Reheat – Wrap the leftover steak in foil and warm it in the oven or reheat individual servings in a skillet on the stovetop.
  • Repurpose  If you have leftover steak, there are many ways to repurpose it! Of course, tacos are my go-to, but why not switch it up? Make quesadillas by melting cheese and the leftover steak, or try a hearty burrito bowl. And if you’re feeling snacky, whip up sheet pan nachos or cheesy carne asada fries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What meat is used for carne asada?

For carne asada tacos, you will need thinly sliced beef. Out of convenience, most people use flank steak or skirt steak to make carne asada here in the U.S. Out of the two – I recommend skirt steak.

For best results, I recommend visiting your local carniceria to purchase flap steak or ranchera de res. Apart from a carniceria, I have only been able to find non-marinated flap steak at Whole Foods, but it’s usually quite expensive.

How do I cut carne asada for tacos?

Cutting carne asada against the grain.

First, let the meat rest for at least ten minutes. I leave ours wrapped in aluminum foil to retain the moisture and keep it warm. When cutting the steak, be sure to cut against the grain – this means cutting against the natural lines of the meat instead of parallel to them. By doing this, you will end up with tender, juicy bites of carne asada steak to fill your tacos.

More Steak Recipes:

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Three carne asada tacos with toppings.

Carne Asada Tacos

Tressa Jamil
Tender and juicy carne asada is marinated and grilled to perfection to make the best street-style carne asada tacos.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinating Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 Tacos
Calories 320 kcal
Equipment
Ingredients
  
For the Marinade:
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and stem removed, sliced
  • ½ white onion, sliced
  • 2 lime juice, two limes
  • 1 orange juice, one orange
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
For the Carne Asada:
  • 2 pounds flap steak, or ranchero de res
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely diced
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed
Instructions
 
  • Add the crushed garlic, jalapeño, onion, lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, and pepper to a resealable bag. Seal it and combine the ingredients.
  • Add the steak to the bag and combine it with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat the grill by setting all burners on high for about 10 minutes. Remove the steak and discard the excess marinade. Cook for 7- 10 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak.
  • Remove from heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice the beef against the grain, and serve inside warmed corn tortillas with fresh onion and cilantro.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • Let the steak marinate for at least 30 minutes, but 1-2 hours in the refrigerator is best.
  • Get your cooking surface very hot. You want the meat to develop a nice sear, so use a hot grill as I do, a grill pan, or a cast iron skillet.
  • Cook the meat quickly over high heat. Carne asada cooks fast. If using thin meat like skirt steak, I recommend only 2-4 minutes per side; resist the urge to move it around too much, or it won’t get a nice char.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 3 Tacos | Calories: 320 kcal | Carbohydrates: 19 g | Protein: 27 g | Fat: 16 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9 g | Trans Fat: 0.4 g | Cholesterol: 71 mg | Sodium: 953 mg | Potassium: 493 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 3 g | Vitamin A: 156 IU | Vitamin C: 17 mg | Calcium: 54 mg | Iron: 3 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Sam

Monday 6th of June 2022

These were very easy to make and remind me of Cancun

Tressa Jamil

Tuesday 7th of June 2022

Don't you love that food can evoke such strong memories; glad they transported you back to Cancun.