One of the greatest luxuries of living in Los Angeles is that you’re never more than a few blocks away from a street vendor selling some of the best tacos you’ve ever had in your life. Luckily, for those not in Los Angeles or Mexico, street tacos can be recreated at home with this simple recipe for succulent and juicy carne asada!
For anyone that doesn’t live just down the street from a taco truck, I’ve got good news for you! Carne Asada is very easy to make at home. All you need is thinly cut steak–think skirt steak or flap meat–and my flavor-packed carne asada marinade made with soy sauce, citrus juice, chipotle peppers, herbs and spices.
Whether you’re feeding a crowed or just looking for a fast and easy Taco Tuesday recipe these Carne Asada tacos are sure to hit the spot!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Carne Asada Marinade: soy sauce, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, onion, cilantro, dried oregano, orange and lime juice.
Toppings and Extras: corn tortillas, cilantro, onion, salsa and lime wedges.
What is a Carne Asada Street Taco?
Served from carts or trucks stationed in off hours parking lots or quite side streets, street tacos are perfect in their simplicity. They’re designed to be eaten on the go, with one hand, while standing or propped up on the trunk of a car. Street tacos aren’t served with cheese, sour cream, guacamole or rice and beans–and trust me you wont miss them.
Instead, Mexican-American chefs churn out tacos on soft and warm corn tortillas–sometimes made by hand right then and there–double stacked and generously filled with juicy, succulent, well-seasoned grilled steak. The toppings are simple, chopped onion and cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and a choice between 4-5 different salsas of varying spice levels. Tomatillo and Creamy Avocado salsa are my go-to’s. Thinly sliced radish and ice-cold Mexican sodas are available if you need to cool off you palate.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Marinate the Steak
The marinade can be made in a blender or food processor. Pour it over the meat along with the thinly sliced onions. Marinate for at least 3 hours or up to 24.
Step 2. Grill
Carne Asada literally means “grilled meat”. If you have access to a grill or outdoor BBQ go for it. You can also use a stove-top grill pan or cast iron pan. This double sided cast iron grill pan from lodge is my favorite! Cook the meat until it’s charred and cooked through. Then transfer to a clean baking tray to rest.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Carne Asada–”grilled meat” in English–is typically made from thin cuts of marinated beef like skirt steak, flank or flap meat. Marinade recipes vary but usually consist of a combination or citrus juice, chilis, herbs and spices. The marinade not only flavors the beef but tenderizes it too resulting in tender and juicy steak. Carne asada, sometimes called just “asado”, can be served on it’s own just as you would steak or stuffed into tacos, burritos, salads and more.
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Carne Asada Tacos (Street Taco Style!)
- 2 lbs skirt steak or flap meat
- ½ white onion thinly sliced
- ¼ c soy sauce
- ¼ c neutral oil grapeseed, canola oil etc.
- 6 cloves garlic
- ½ bunch cilantro stems and leaves
- 1 orange juice and zest
- 3 limes juice
- 3 tbsp chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- Place the steak and sliced onions in a large bowl or baking dish. In a blender or food procesor blend together the marinade ingredients until smooth. Pour the marinade over the steak and onions, tossing to coat. Cover and refriderate for at least 2-3 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Heat a grill, grill pan or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Grill the steak in batches, for 3-4 minutes, undisturbed on each side until it's slightly charred and cooked through. Transfer the cooked steak to a clean tray or platter to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- With a sharp knife, cut the steak against the grain into long strips then cut those strips into a small bite-sized dice.
- Transfer the diced carne asada to a bowl or platter and top with any residual juices or drippings from the cutting board. Serve with warm corn tortillas, salsa, lime wedges and diced onion and cilantro.
- Steak: Skirt steak or flap meat is the best cut for carne asada and it’s widely available in grocery stores. If you have a Mexican or Latin market in your area they will have lots of options.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: these come in a small can and pack a punch of spice and flavor! If you can’t find chipotle in adobo you can substitute with harissa paste, hot sauce, gochujang or sriracha.
- Storing and Re-heating Leftovers:
- Leftover carne asada can be stored covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat over high-heat in a cast iron pan with a few tablespoons of water for moisture.
Special Equipment: Cast Iron Grill Pan | Shop Craving California’s Kitchen Essentials