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authentic carne asada marinade

Authentic Carne Asada Marinade

Authentic Carne Asada Marinade

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Authentic Carne Asada Marinade
Authentic Carne Asada Marinade



This easy and delicious grilled authentic Carne Asada Marinade recipe uses traditional flavors like orange and lime. Make authentic street tacos and burrito bowls in no time!

This is the only Carne Asada Marinade Recipe you will ever need! Authentic carne asada flavors come together to make this flank steak perfect for burrito bowls or street tacos.

Host a fun party with this recipe. So easy, you can marinate the steaks ahead of time and then just grill about a half an hour before serving. This recipe was featured in my Easy Taco Bar post, which has a lot of great ideas on items to accompany your Mexican-Style buffet.


Carne Asada is a traditional Mexican dish that involves flavoring flank steak with ingredients such as lime, orange, garlic, and onion. Once the flank steak is grilled, the serving possibilities are endless.

If you’ve never had carne asada before, it is great on top of salads, in burritos, or do the traditional way in street tacos with guacamole and pico de Gallo.

What type of meat is best for carne asada?

Here in the United States, I’ve found Arrachera/Fajita to be a favorite among Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants. There are many different types of cuts for grilling in Mexico, and their quality is selected according to the amount of fat marbling that each cut has.

The amount of fat will contribute to the taste, softness, and juiciness of the meat.

  • Rib Eye, also known as Bife Chorizo, is one of the best cuts for grilling for its juiciness and is sold in ¾ inch steaks. It is also one of the most expensive cuts in the market.
  • Porter House, also known as T-Bone, whose T-shaped bone helps retain heat and shorten cooking time on the grill.
  • Sirloin, also known as Churrasco or Aguayon, is a clean-cut with lower fat content; it is recommended to be bought in ¾ inch steaks to preserve softness while grilling.
  • Then, we have the famous Fajita or Arrachera. This cut is very common and is usually marinated before grilling. It is sold whole or in a specialty cut, which butchers call “fileteado.”
  • Short Ribs are tender with a nice marbling and are usually cut across the ribs, ½ to ¾ inches thick.
  • Aguja Norteña, or Chuck Steak, is a very popular and low-cost cut of meat. Sold with or without the bone, this cut becomes very flavorful and soft when grilled.



What I love about this recipe is that it’s super easy to put together. All you need to do is apply the marinade, let the steak sit, then grill and eat. Be sure to allow about 3-4 hours for the steak to marinade if possible.

Firstly, place the flank steak in a large ziplock bag or shallow glass plate. I like to use ziplock bags because the marinade can be easily moved around. Plus, it’s easier to store in the refrigerator.

Then, add the marinade ingredients to the steak. You can make the marinade in a bowl or just add everything to the bag. To make sure I have squeezed all of the juice from the limes and oranges, I love to use my Zulay Lemon Lime Squeezer. Try to marinade for at least 4 hours or overnight.

You can either grill this recipe on a barbecue or on the stove. Either way this is delicious! If grilling, cook on medium high heat for about 5 minutes per side. Be sure not to overcook the meat. You want it to register about 130-135 on a thermometer to know it’s done.

Remove the steak and let it sit, covered, for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain into thin strips. The meat will be juicy so make sure you are carving on a board that has rivets to allow for juices to pour into.

Let guests make their own street tacos. Serve with flour tortillas and corn tortillas. So yummy! Enjoy!


Authentic Carne Asada Marinade
Authentic Carne Asada Marinade



Serve with tortillas, guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, refried beans, and sour cream. What I love about serving carne asada tacos is that guests can serve themselves and add in whatever toppings they like.

  • Be careful not to overcook the meat. You want it to register about 130-135 degrees on a meat thermometer.
  • Let the meat sit, covered, for at least 5 minutes before cutting.
  • Cut the meat against the grain into thin strips.

Cook’s Note

To marinate beef, place meat in a gallon-sized freezer bag or in the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Pour marinade on top of beef, close bag or cover dish, and marinate at least 1 hour before grilling.

How to serve Carne Asada?

Carne asada is the traditional meat used in street tacos. Serve with corn or flour tortillas, and lots of toppings like guacamole, pickled onions, sour cream, and salsa. You can also serve it on top of burrito bowls or salads.

What temperature to cook Carne Asada?

Whether you are grilling or frying your meat, make sure the internal temperature is between 130-135 degrees. Remove the meat from the heat source, tent with foil, and let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.


Traditionally, Carne Asada is made with skirt steak or flank steak. Personally, I prefer flank steak as it is more lean and seems to hold onto flavor better. Some people prefer the marbled appearance from the higher fat content of the skirt steak. It’s a personal preference, and neither is wrong.


Which meat you use – and how you marinate that meat – are the most important details you need to follow when making Carne Asada. Now that we already know what kind of meat to use, let’s get to the marinade.

To marinate your steak, you will use a combination of orange juice, olive oil and various herbs and spices. The flank steak is combined with this tenderizing marinade which adds the perfect flavor. The steak will need to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, or as long as overnight. Once it has finished marinating, take the steak out of the bag and discard any leftover marinade.

Marinating the steak is important because the citrus flavors will make the meat tender while the oil will allow the citrus to disperse evenly. This will make your meat flavorful, juicy and give your meat that melt-in-your-mouth texture.


After your steak has had time to rest and when it’s time to cut, you will cut the steak in very thin slices against the grain. The fine lines you see in the steak is the grain, or muscle fibers. By cutting against the grain, NOT alongside the lines, you will get the melt-in-your-mouth tender goodness that Carne Asada is known for!

3 Ways to Serve Carne Asada

Carne asada is as flexible as they come, equally at home in a variety of quick dishes.

  1. Tacos. Carne asada tacos may be the simplest way to let perfectly grilled meat shine. Wrap the thin slices of meat in flour or corn tortillas, and serve with anything from salsa verde, to pico de gallo, a dollop of sour cream or crema, guacamole, fresh lime wedges, or chopped onions and fresh cilantro with sliced radishes on the side. It’s your taco—dress it up how you like.
  2. Burritos. For a more substantial meal, pair your carne asada with rice, beans, and a smattering of toppings—think slices of avocado, salsa roja, and melty cheese—all wrapped up tight in a tortilla and sealed on a flat-top.
  3. Fajitas. Paired off with warm tortillas and grilled peppers and onion, strips of carne asada are a perfect centerpiece for this do-it-yourself main course. Top with a squeeze of lime, crema, and cooling cilantro.


Authentic Carne Asada Marinade
Authentic Carne Asada Marinade


How to Store and Reheat Carne Asada

You can store your Carne Asada in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. When it comes time to reheat it, you can microwave it or warm it up on a skillet until it is warmed through.

You can also freeze Carne Asada to use later in things like soups or stews. Simply cook the Carne Asada as you normally would and let it cool. Place it in a freezer friendly ziplock bag for up to 3 months. When you’ve decided it’s time to use it, pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, you can use as desired!




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