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Carne Asada

How to Make Carne Asada

Carne Asada is a popular Mexican dish consisting of grilled and marinated beef, known for its smoky flavor and tenderness.

Texture-wise, Carne Asada features thinly sliced cuts of beef, often flank steak, skirt steak, or sirloin steak. The meat is typically marinated in a blend of citrus juices, such as lime or orange juice, garlic, onions, cumin, oregano, and sometimes Mexican spices or chili peppers. This marinade helps tenderize the meat and infuses it with flavors before grilling.

The beef is then grilled over high heat, usually on an open flame or barbecue, which imparts a charred, smoky flavor while preserving the meat’s juiciness. This cooking method gives the beef a slightly crispy exterior while keeping the interior moist and tender.

Once cooked to the desired doneness, the beef is thinly sliced across the grain, which enhances its tenderness and makes it easier to eat.

Carne Asada is often served in tacos, burritos, or as a main dish accompanied by tortillas, salsa, guacamole, diced onions, cilantro, and lime wedges. The dish is appreciated for its bold flavors, tenderness, and versatility in various preparations, making it a beloved choice in Mexican cuisine, especially for gatherings and outdoor celebrations.

Key Takeaways

  • Who this meal appeals to: BBQ enthusiasts, meat lovers, those craving a festive and savory experience.
  • Estimated duration: A delicious delight ready in about 30 minutes of preparation plus marinating time.
  • Nutrition facts: A protein-packed dish with bold flavors, perfect for a satisfying meal.

About this Recipe

Carne Asada, meaning “grilled meat,” is a beloved Mexican street food and backyard barbecue favorite. The key lies in the marinade, which infuses the beef with a symphony of flavors, creating a dish that’s juicy, tender, and irresistibly tasty.

Equipment Required

  • Grill or barbecue
  • Mixing bowl
  • Ziplock bag or airtight container for marinating
  • Tongs


  • 2 pounds flank or skirt steak
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Prepare the marinade: In a bowl, combine orange juice, lime juice, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, cumin powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil.
  2. Marinate the beef: Place the steak in a ziplock bag or airtight container, pour the marinade over it, ensuring the meat is well-coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight for maximum flavor.
  3. Preheat the grill: Bring the grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Grill the beef: Remove the steak from the marinade, letting excess drip off. Grill for 4-6 minutes per side for medium-rare, adjusting for preferred doneness.
  5. Rest and slice: Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.

Side Dishes

  • Fresh pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Grilled green onions

Storage Options

Carne Asada is best enjoyed fresh off the grill. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently to maintain the meat’s tenderness.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Steak: Flank or skirt steak works best, but you can also try sirloin or ribeye for a different texture.
  • Citrus juices: Experiment with different ratios of orange and lime juice for a personalized tang.

Alternatives to this Meal

Transform your Carne Asada into tacos, burritos, or a hearty salad. The marinated beef pairs well with a variety of dishes for a versatile dining experience.


Carne Asada is a celebration of grilled beef, bringing the sizzle and flavors of Mexican barbecue to your table. Whether you’re hosting a backyard fiesta or simply craving a savory meal, this recipe promises a feast for your senses. ¬°Buen provecho!