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Carne Asada

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Chances are, this is a subject that has been covered before, but I couldn't find it in search. I love the Mexican way of making thinly sliced steaks.

My next door neighbors are Mexican, and as seems to be a trend in the USA in general, this guy is the master of the gas grill while his wife does the prep and stove top cooking. A lot of guys like fire, I suppose, me included.

But anyway, I have had delicious dinners at their place, and have seen how he makes the carne asada. He uses juice squeezed from a lime and some other seasonings. It's pretty salty for my taste, but it is delicious. They like Corona beer, which they offer aplenty and I would never turn down. Other things made by relatives for the dinner were delicious too, but since I need to limit my questions here, I ask:

Any recommendations for cooking carne asada?
post #2 of 12
for me Carne Asada is the best simple handfood just about ever. tortillas, meat, salsa. perfection

generally a lesser meat like a sirloin or flank steak are cut thinly marinated and lightly seared on the grill to make them tender and juicy. so the first step is to do a nice vinegar and lime marinade, add onion, cilantro, salt and pepper. tasty. don't overcook as the meat will be chewy.

next step is salsa....sigh..ashamedly still perfecting this.
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post #3 of 12
You gotta use skirt steak. Skirts steak's the best.
post #4 of 12

I've tweaked and tweaked my recipe for a carne asada marinade until I've got it where I really like it, but now I've encountered another problem - cooking it properly.

 

I usually use skirt or flank steak - frankly I choose based on which one looks better that particular day at the store.  Every source I've consulted tends to suggest real hot and real fast, and I like the added flavor that comes from grilling so that has been the method of choice thus far.  Every time I've tried this, however, by the time I get a nice crust and medium rare/medium doneness, much of the fat still hasn't really rendered out which makes for a less than ideal texture.

 

Are the cuts of meat I'm picking just too fatty?  What is the best cut?  Is low and slow better than hot and fast?  If so, what is the best low and slow approach for this type of dish? 

 

Any insight on what I can do to fix this would be great.  Thanks!

post #5 of 12

Either skirt or flank should be fine for hot and fast, which is what you want to do.. Do you clean them at all before grilling? If you use skirt are you using inside or outside skirt?

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post #6 of 12

I do not clean or trim at all.  Mostly being lazy, but also operating under the idea that the fat I can see when raw would really make it a tasty sticky unctuous bit of meat if I could only render it right.  Is there a "right" amount ot leave on or trim off, or is this one of those things you can only get a feel for from experience?  Also, you asked if I trim before grilling, but if I were to trim at all, my instinct would be to trim before marinating, just so it's cleaner.  I can't imagine that would make a difference.  Am I wrong?

 

As for inside versus outside, I can admit that I'm not sure - I'm not even sure if the guy at my local grocery store would know if I asked.  I don't usually have the time to go to a proper butcher or meat market so these details often elude me.  For future reference though, if i am using skirt, please tell me whether I should prefer "inside" or "outside." 

 

Thank you so much!

post #7 of 12

If you are using skirts, you need to trim them clean, there is more than enough marbling in the meat it's self.

For me, inside or out does not matter for skirt, I'm usually just making tacos with it.

 

Another very good candidate for carne asada is flap meat, I have been using this quite a bit lately, makes for a great steak sandwich also.

post #8 of 12

Sorry it took a few days to get back with a reply but busy weekend at work. Yes you are correct that trimming would be done before marinating. As for the fat that you can see, as chefbuba said, you should trim it because the meat has more than enough marbling to keep it moist and flavorful; plus you will get a better crust that way. For your purposes, I would probably recommend inside skirt steak, which is the cut you will find at most grocery stores that have skirt steak.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #9 of 12

Thank you all very much for the tips!  If the weather holds up this weekend, I'll give these tips a try and report back.  The suggestion to try flap meat is interesting - it is the second time in as many days that flap meat has been suggested for preparations that previously called for skirt or flank.  Not sure if my grocer usually carries it, but I'll ask.  Thanks again!

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post

for me Carne Asada is the best simple handfood just about ever. tortillas, meat, salsa. perfection

generally a lesser meat like a sirloin or flank steak are cut thinly marinated and lightly seared on the grill to make them tender and juicy. so the first step is to do a nice vinegar and lime marinade, add onion, cilantro, salt and pepper. tasty. don't overcook as the meat will be chewy.

next step is salsa....sigh..ashamedly still perfecting this.

Yeah I agree. I am a simple man, but it still tastes perfect to me.
post #11 of 12

It took a lot longer than expected to get out to the grill with my carne asada, but yesterday was the day.

 

I took everyone's advice and trimmed the skirt steak clean before putting in my marinade overnight.  Such an easy solution to my problem - thank you!  I've gotta admit that I was a bit remorseful at how much waste went into the garbage during the trimming process, but when I saw that every bit that ended up on the grill was edible and delicious (previously we had to trim around the gristle on our own plates once the meat was served) I realized it all balances out. 

 

Got the grill real hot, then slapped the steaks on there just long enough to form a bit of a crust on the outside and get them to a beautiful medium/medium rare.  I accompanied them with some pickled red onions, and some spicy and sweet jicama apple slaw with jalapeno and green onion. 

 

I broke the rule of staying within one country's cusine and made some feijoada instead of refried beans to go with the rice.  Can't wait for more summer weather to keep the grill going as often as possible!  

post #12 of 12

Here's some flap on the grill, I shingled it, looks very similar to skirt sliced like this, cooks very fast.

This ended up as asada for tacos.

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