Carne Asada

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Carne asada, the oh-so-tasty, thinly sliced, grilled beef served so often in tacos and burritos, originates in Latin America. This version of carne asada is the traditional Honduran style. It is also very often eaten by itself, with side dishes of rice and beans, and perhaps a salad.

Carne asada can be made with almost any tender cut of beef, but most often (for best results) you want to make it with either skirt or flank steak.

Carne Asada Public Domain

Carne Asada Recipe-

Ingredients:
For the Steak-
  • 2 lb. flank steak or skirt steak
  • olive oil (Note: do not use extra virgin olive oil – its stronger flavor will overbear the marinade)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
For the Marinade-
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp. roasted ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeño chili pepper, minced (Note: for hotter marinade, leave seeds in. For milder, remove seeds)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro – leaves and stems included
For the Condiments-
  • fresh avocado, peeled and chopped into little chunks
  • lime wedges
  • radishes, sliced thin
  • iceberg lettuce, sliced thin
  • pico de gallo salsa
  • flour or corn tortillas
Directions:
  1. Make your marinade. Using a large, non-reactive mixing bowl, combine and whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, black pepper, and cumin. The stir in the cilantro, minced garlic, and jalapeño. Put the steak in the marinade, toss and roll thoroughly for even coating. Cover the bowl with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours – overnight is even better.
  2. Preheat your grille for direct and high, reserving a section of the grille with lower heat (or less coals) for lower, indirect heat. To know when the grille is hot enough, place your hand over the coals within a few inches. If you can’t hold it there for more than one second, it is ready to cook.
  3. Take the steak out of its marinade and lightly brush off most of the little bits of garlic and cilantro, leaving the oil still on the meat.
  4. Place the steak over the hot section of the grille. Grille just long enough to sear and brown it well on both sides, but not cooked through well done.
  5. When well seared on both sides, move the meat over to the cooler section of the grill; if your steak has one end that is thicker, point that end toward the hot section.
  6. Use a meat thermometer to know when the meat is well done. Stick the probe into the thickest part of the steak; the meat is done rare at 115°F to 120°F, medium rare at 125°F, and medium well done at 140°F. If you are cooking flank steak, it will be best and at its juiciest when rare. Skirt steak will retain its juiciness all the way to well done.
  7. Place the steak on a cutting board, encase it in tin or aluminum foil, and allow it to rest for 9-10 minutes.
  8. Using a very sharp, long bladed knife to slice the steak, cutting perpendicular to the grain. Cut with an angle that produces slices that are very thin and wide.
  9. If you are serving your carne asada with tortillas, warm them for half a minute on each side on the grille or in a skillet over medium-high flame. You want them to still be pliable, but also slightly toasted.
  10. Serve your carne asada with chopped avocados and pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa).

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