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Carne Asada Recipe

Carne Asada marinated and spice rubbed for the most juicy, tender, flavorful Carne Asada EVER! This Carne Asada recipe is perfect for tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, etc. at a fraction of the price and fabulous for crowds!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds flank steak, pounded thin

Marinade

Spice Mix

Instructions

  • To a small plastic bag (or sealable container), add Spice Mix and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Add Marinade Ingredients to a large freezer bag and whisk to combine. Add 3 tablespoons Spice Mix to Marinade and whisk to combine. Add steak and seal bag, removing excess air. Marinate in the refrigerator 4-12 hours.
  • When ready to grill, mix remaining Spice Mix with 2 tablespoons olive oil to create a Spice Rub.
  • Discard marinade and pat steaks dry with paper towel (just so steak is not wet, not to remove marinade/spices). Rub steak evenly all over with Spice Rub and let rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
  • Grease and preheat outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Grill steak for 5-6 minutes per side, or until an internal thermometer reads 130-135 degrees F for medium rare or around 140 degrees for medium. Grill time will vary depending on thickness of your steak and desired level of doneness.. *If you like your steaks rare then use HIGH heat so you can get the charred outside in less time.
  • Remove steak and let rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain on a diagonal.

Video

Notes

Don't miss the "how to make" recipe video at the top of the post!

HOW TO COOK IN THE OVEN

Place steak on a baking sheet.  Broil 8 inches away from the broiler for 6-8 minutes on each side or until it reaches desired temperature.

HOW TO COOK ON THE STOVE

You may pan sear carne asada but unless you have a large grill pan, your steak will not fit and will need to be cut in half and cooked in two batches.  Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until it reaches desired temperature.

TIPS AND TRICKS 

  • Pound the steak to an even, thin thickness.  Even if your steak looks even already, you’ll still want to give it a good pounding to tenderize it (works wonders!).  Place steak in between two pieces of plastic wrap or I just place it in a freezer size plastic bag.  Pound it evenly with a meat mallet or side of a can.
  • Don’t over-marinate.  The carne asada marinade is highly acidic which means you don’t want to marinate the steak as long as you would in a marinade without as much citrus.  Don’t marinate much longer than 12 hours or the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy.
  • Marinate long enough.  I recommend marinating the carne asada for the maximum 12 hours.  This will infuse the steak with TONS of flavor and optimal juiciness.
  • Bring carne asada to room temperature before cooking.  You always want to let any protein sit at room temperature before cooking in order for it to cook evenly so you aren’t left with an overcooked exterior and cold interior. This also relaxes the cold fibers for juicier results.
  • Clean grill. Clean the grill very well before cooking for beautiful grill marks and to prevent sticking.
  • Use a hot grill.  Heat up the grill with the lid closed cranked to the maximum temperature so it can achieve temperature more quickly; plan on 10-15 minutes.  Once the grill is hot, you can adjust the temperature.  Don’t add the steak until the grill reaches temperature or it won’t sear as nicely.
  • Flip carne asada once using tongs. Only flip/touch your steak once for the perfect caramelized crust. Only use tongs to flip the meat because a fork will pierce the meat and you will continuously loose juices and tenderness.
  • Cook to medium.  Don’t overcook or your carne asada won’t be as juicy. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness and grill to 140 degrees for medium.  The steak will rise to 145 degrees after it rests.
  • When to use high heat.  If you like rare or medium-rare steak, then grill steak on high heat so it’s hot enough to get some color on the outside in a short amount of time.
  • Let carne asada rest.  After the carne asada is grilled, it is important to let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing or chopping.  While the steak cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the meat.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole steak.
  • Slice across the grain. Cut carne asada steak across the grain to shorten the muscle fibers for more tender steak.
  • Hot sauce to taste.  The carne asada isn't spicy but plenty flavorful.  If you are your guests like a kick, make sure to serve the steak with hot sauce on the side.

HOW TO STORE & REHEAT 

  • STORAGE:  Let carne asada come to room temperature then transfer to an airtight container.  Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • MICROWAVE: Cover the sliced carne asada with a damp paper towel to keep it from drying out.  Microwave at 30 second intervals until warmed through.
  • STOVE TOP:  Heat one tablespoon oil or butter in a skillet over medium high heat.  The fat will help the carne asada stay tender; youmay substitute with water.  Once hot, add steak and cook undisturbed for a couple minutes, then begin to cook and stir until warmed through.  Take care not to overcook or it can become dry.