Carne Asada for Steak Tacos (or whatever else you'd like to make!)

Carne Asada Steak Tacos

This Carne Asada is fantastic served as steak or in tacos or burritos.

You’ve all heard me talking about my folks and their love for steak – and I think I’m being corrupted a bit! This Carne Asada is a steak I fell pretty hard for, done up today in taco form.

Carne Asada for Steak Tacos (or whatever else you'd like to make!)

Carne Asada for Steak Tacos (or whatever else you’d like to make!)

There’s a good bit of lime and a lot of spice, here. Carne Asada is a recipe that’s going to be fantastic with a flank or a skirt steak but all that flavor can also absolutely transform a sales priced piece of grocery store New York Strip.

Anytime you cook steak rare and slice it thinly across the grain, you’ll find that it seems more tender and you’ll probably find that most people are quite content with a few slices, especially served in a marvelous taco! It’s a great way to stretch a little steak with no compromise at all.

We found our Strip Steak at a super low price in a family pack and they were huge! We cooked up two (the photo is of one!) and used the other in a Southwestern Steak Salad, and froze the rest for later.

Carne Asada for Steak Tacos (or whatever else you'd like to make!)

Carne Asada for Steak Tacos (or whatever else you’d like to make!)

This isn’t your regular old every day Carne Asada. This is a hyped up super flavorful one borrowed in part from Rick Bayless and a lot from Serious Eats. I love, love, love just about anything J. Kenji Lopez-Alt makes. Sometimes I don’t even know why I have a food blog. I should just direct you right over to Serious Eats, lol!

I’m a born tinkerer, though, and added in a few ideas of my own. For instance, I used Harissa that I made with Ancho & Guajillo chiles, and it has almost all the ingredients called for in Kenji’s original recipe. I use Harissa in all kinds of things, and you’ll find a great Harissa from Elaine at Foodbod. Why toast and make up just the ingredients for one recipe when you can stash this lovely chili sauce in the fridge and have it on hand for all kinds of things?

The Pico de Gallo is marvelous and the recipe is about 3/4’s of the way down my “Tastes like Chicken, Chipotle’s Chicken!” post. We also served our Carne Asada Tacos with lime, avocado, black beans and cheese. Pull out all your fave toppings and sides.

Carne Asada for Steak Tacos (or whatever else you'd like to make!)

Carne Asada for Steak Tacos (or whatever else you’d like to make!)

Carne Asada Steak Tacos

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: med
  • Print

  • about 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from one or two oranges or orange like fruit; Cuties are very good in this)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 – 2 whole chipotle peppers, canned in adobo
  • 2 heaping tablespoons (or to taste) Harissa Paste, store bought or home-made (see recipe) or see note, below to toast chilis and spices just for this recipe
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, divided, 1/2 for salsa, half for serving, if desired, optional
  • salt
  • 1 to 2 pounds skirt steak (2 to 3 whole skirt steaks), trimmed and cut with the grain into 5- to 6-inch lengths or one or two large New York Strips. Make enough to serve your family and have leftovers, if desired
  • Warm corn or flour tortillas, Pico de Gallo, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and avocado, for serving

Make the Salsa: In the jar of a blender, add lime juice, orange juice, chipotle peppers, Harissa paste, vinegar, olive oil, sugar, soy & Worcestershire sauce along with half the cilantro. Blend until a smooth sauce has formed. Season to taste with salt. Transfer half of the salsa to a bowl and the other half to a sealed container. Set aside the sealed container in the refrigerator.

Add a generous amount of salt to the salsa in the bowl; you’ll want it saltier than you’re used to tasting, slightly saltier than comfortable. Add steak to a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag and pour the salsa over the steak. Massage the salsa around the steak, making sure all pieces are covered. Squeeze all air out of the bag and seal. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

When ready to cook, remove the extra salsa from the fridge to allow it to warm up a little.

For a charcoal grill, Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes.

For a gas grill: Set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

Remove steak from marinade and wipe off excess. Place directly over the hot side of the grill. If using a gas grill, cover; if using a charcoal grill, leave exposed. Cook, turning occasionally, until steak is well charred on outside and center registers 110°F on an instant-read thermometer, several minutes total.

Rest meat on a cutting board for about five minutes. Slice thinly against the grain and at an angle and serve, passing extra salsa, lime wedges, avocado, Pico de Gallo, cilantro, and tortillas on the side.

Note: If you don’t have Harissa or don’t want to make some for this recipe, instead use:

  • 3 whole dried ancho chilies
  • 3 whole dried guajillo chilies
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed, toasted and ground

Place dried ancho and guajillo chilies on a microwave-safe plate and microwave until pliable and toasty-smelling, 10 to 20 seconds. Transfer to the jar of a blender and add the cumin, coriander and the rest of the ingredients under “Make the Salsa” (above) and omit the Harissa.

adapted from Rick Bayless & Serious Eats

What to do with the leftover Carne Asada? Besides just eat it cold from the fridge at midnight, lol? This marvelous Southwestern Steak Salad.

Southwestern Steak Salad with Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing


I will be bringing this recipe to Fiesta Friday #165, hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes

43 thoughts on “Carne Asada Steak Tacos

  1. I have to find that chipotle peppers, Mollie. This looks really mouth watering!! I suck at cooking steak, but I am willing to try again. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: Carne Asada Steak Tacos | My Meals are on Wheels

        • Good for you! I killed off my sourdough after about 3 months…I’m a very BAD sourdough mom, lol!! I even carried it back and forth from the Twin Cities to South Dakota and then somewhere along the line, disaster struck…

          • I’ve made 2. Did my learning and made lots of mistakes with the first. Froze it and then when I tried to bring it back … well, I ended up turning it into pancakes. The 2nd one started with 2 days of canned pineapple juice/whole wheat and seems to be a winner. Spreading it out onto parchment paper on a baking sheet and drying it in the oven with the light on and then breaking up or grinding the shards and storing them in a jar in the pantry seems to be the best way to keep it until I get inspired again. (This is why I’m not a pet owner or have house plants … I get bored.) 🙂

            I’ve made amazing crackers, pancakes, flour tortillas and naan bread with the starter. Not a fan of high hydration/artisanal bread.

            • When I was in my early 20’s and married with a new baby, we were so poor. I made a lot of our bread. I had a killer 7 grain type bread and I made a lot of sourdough and yogurt, too. But that was decades ago and I had so much more energy. I love the pineapple idea and I should have tried freezing mine. I’ve never tried that. I had to laugh about the plants/pets, lol! Which is another thing – with Chance and the folks I have my hands full, for sure. You should see our sad, sad houseplants, lol!

              • I know from poor. My mom used to buy the half price day old bread and rolls at the bakery across the street from the deli she worked at when I was from 9 yrs old to my mid 20s. She’d pick it up when she was sent over to buy the rye for the deli. The bakery set some aside for her.

                Dried starter is easier to store and bring back to life to be honest. With 1 tsp of dry starter, I can feed to bulk up my starter and be baking in 3-4 days. Check out some of my sourdough or hybrid (yeast and SD) bread recipes if you’re ever curious. Some I’m very proud of. 🙂


                • 🙂 well, you were a good part of the inspiration to get me going on my starter. And Elaine at foodbod, too. Actually, sourdough is rather inexpensive since no yeast, too!

                  • LOL … funny thing is, I recently bought a 1 kg bag of yeast from Costco. I froze most of it and am now torn between using the yeast and the sourdough. 🙂

    • Oh that’s right, you did! That was probably why I had it on my mind! I remember because the fish sauce, lol! I left it out of mine b/c I made a bolognese sauce from Kenji awhile back and I could taste the fish sauce in it soooo strongly. Not the first day, but leftover…every since then I’ve been afraid of the fish sauce (except in Asian cooking!)

      Oh my gosh, you should sous vide your corned beef if you haven’t cooked it already. I’d LOVE to see that!! 🙂

    • Thanks Tracey. I’ve been really boning up on my steak skills now that I’m at the folk’s so much (they love steak). I’ve always been more of a semi-vegetarian and of course, steak’s inexpensive, so it really hasn’t been in my regular rotation before. I think I’m improving on getting it cooked right! 🙂

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