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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Carne Asada Tacos?

So I'm excited to have our first, REAL post! First thing we have is my version of a carne asada taco. It might not be authentic. OK, I'm pretty sure it's not authentic. I'm Asian. Carne asada, I'm pretty sure, is Mexican. So if there's a missing ingredient, or some "gringo" ingredient I added to the mix, sue me. No, actually, it still tastes good. So too bad.

First thing you need to know about me is that I love grilling. I love starting that Weber, no matter if it's rain or shine. If you personally know me, you know that I am currently using a gas Weber. Oh, stop the gasping. I had to. My apartment doesn't let me have a coal grill. Apparently it's safer. Well, little did they know that I had a mini fire in my gas grill while preheating it today

(haven't had a chance to check if I still have my eye brows...). :].

All jokes aside, gas grills have been growing on me. My coal Weber is stored away in my parents garage, so I'll be using it in the future. But this gas grill, I must admit, is freakin' convenient. I preheat it for 10 minutes while prepping other things. So it's not all bad. The carne asada is an example of good eats on this gas grill.

For the carne asada I personally prefer a good skirt steak. Skirt is the "skirt" of short ribs, or just the untidy sloppy parts from it that the French don't use because it's not pretty. So it comes a bit cheaper than short ribs and it's damn tasty. I've heard of people using other cuts such as sirloin, flank, or even filet. Sirloin is dry, flank is whack and filet... come on. Really? So skirt is my favorite cut for this. Hanger works well too. Service this baby with some corn tortillas and your favorite salsa, refried beans and Mexican rice and you've got yourself a cheap and awesome dinner.

Here's what you need:

Serves (8)

4 lbs skirt or hanger steak
3 juicy limes
2 tbp orange juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar (regular distilled vinegar works as well)
3 tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
3/4 bunch cilantro (roughly chopped)
4 cloves garlic (I add more because I love garlic)
1 jalapeƱo (seeded and chopped up)
1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
1 tsp toasted and ground cumin

S&P (salt and pepper) to taste
2 bell peppers (julienned)


1) Clean and trim skirt steak if necessary. Coat the steaks with the EVOO.

2) Combine the rest of the ingredients except for the bell peppers. Marinade 4-8 hrs. Don't over marinade because the acids will begin breaking down the meat tissues. That'll tenderize your meat but it gives the steak a weird texture.

3) Start grill and preheat the grill as hot as it gets. If using coal place coals in the middle and use direct heating to grill it. If using a gas grill, blast that thing. You want a nice sear to the steak.

4) Grill each side for 1.5-2 minutes for a perfect medium rare. The time varies depending on the thickness of your steak as well as the heat you were able to get from your grill. If you have no access to a grill, even your broiler set to the top rack will work too. I prefer medium rare, but I know many prefer medium for carne asada, you'd want to grill it for 2.5-3 minutes per side for that. If you want it any more done... well, what's wrong with you? Save the leftover marinade.

5) Rest steaks for at least 5 min before slicing. This is crucial to let the juices redistribute throughout the meat. Cutting it right off the grill will only release the juices from the steak.

6) While steaks are resting, heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add some olive oil and add in julienned bell peppers. Stir frequently. When the peppers soften just a bit, add the leftover marinade. (I hate wasting marinades, this is my way of making sure it's all used). The time you wait before adding the marinade really depends on how much you have left. If you have a lot left, add it in early, if you don't have much left, add it towards the end. Reduce marinade and when peppers are of desired doneness, remove from heat.

7) Slice steaks thinly and combine with the bell peppers. Don't waste any juices, combine it all together, mix, and enjoy with some corn tortillas, your choice of salsa, rice and beans.

So yeah, that's how I do carne asada. Keep in mind I am not a recipes person. I am never exact, I never measure, and I improvise a lot. I saw some Sierra Mist on sale so I bought some and I actually added a tablespoon of that to the marinade. Also, usually instead of OJ, I use whole oranges sometimes.

I'll not only post some pictures soon, but recipes for a tomatillo-avocado salsa I used with this, as well as recipes for dirty rice and refried beans.

Thanks for reading! If you guys have any questions, comments, critiques, hate messages for not being so authentic on a dish, comment on the post! Also, bookmark this page, because Dustin "Captain Jack", and I, have much more coming!