‘Carne asada’ is for Mexicans what a BBQ is for Aussies. If your amigo invites you around to a ‘carne asada’, expect a Mexican feast of a variety of grilled meats, chorizos, nopales (cactus), salsas and condiments, all served with corn tortillas. The marinade for preparing the grilled beef varies from family to family, each with their own twist that makes the recipe unique, home to home. This is our family recipe and we hope you’ll love it.
Tacos are one of the most popular dishes in Mexico; you will find them everywhere. From the tiny food stall at the local market to the best Michelin-starred establishment, and with almost every filling imaginable. For this recipe, we will use some tender beef skirt steak. Mexicans love to use beef as a taco filling, with carne asada - grilled meat which is usually seared to get a charred flavor - and cecina - thin slices of beef that are laid to dry in the sun - being popular choices.
But first, let’s clear out some misconceptions about tacos. The US has taken much of the Mexican cuisine and given it a different touch. These changes have later expanded across many other countries, Australia being one of them. For example, wheat tortillas were made popular by the US, while in Mexico corn tortillas are preferred in most areas. And hard shells? Definitely not Mexican. In Mexico, tacos are prepared using soft, warm tortillas, so we will be doing that. Let’s keep things authentic around here!
Here is a trick I will be using for this recipe: pineapple juice. If you have never used pineapple juice as a meat tenderiser, you really need to try out this dish. Not only will it make the meat soft and moist, but will also combine perfectly with all the other ingredients to give it a delicious flavour.
Once your taco is ready, add some coriander, onion, and salsa to turn it into an authentic Mexican taco. Lettuce, cabbage, and similar toppings are not usually used in Mexico for beef tacos.
- 8 La Tortilleria corn tortillas
- 800g thin-cut beef skirt steak
- 1 tsp thyme (dried or fresh)
- 1 tsp oregano (dried or fresh)
- ½ cup fresh coriander
- 1 jalapeño
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lime, juiced
- 100ml pineapple juice
- 200ml vegetable oil
- ½ white onion, finely diced, to serve
- ½ bunch fresh coriander, chopped, to serve
- Prepare the marinade by combining the oregano, coriander, thyme, jalapeño, garlic, lime, pineapple juice and vegetable oil in a blender.
- Place the beef in a bowl and cover with the marinade, ensuring it is well coated. Place in the fridge for a minimum of two hours (or ideally overnight).
- Preheat your BBQ (or hot pan) to a high heat then cook the beef to your liking. Take the beef off the heat and let rest for 2 minutes. Once rested, dice into small pieces.
- At the same time, heat your tortillas on a very hot dry frying pan until soft and floppy, about 10 seconds either side. Wrap them in a thick cloth or aluminium foil as you go to keep them warm.
- To serve, place cooked beef on a tortilla and garnish with coriander and onion. Enjoy with your favourite salsa.
Tip: if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to marinate the beef for so long, replace the pineapple juice with vinegar and marinate for 30 minutes only