This carne asada recipe is not traditional, but packed with flavor. In Latin cuisine, the term carne asada translates to grilled meat. The word “carne” translates to meat and “asada” means grilled. Carne asada is typically beef that has been marinated for a long time, served sliced in thin strips as main course or used a filling to burritos, tacos, etc. By all means, this is NOT a traditional recipe but it is inspired by the Latin (Mexican) culture. I do not like cilantro so I have replaced it in this recipe but if you do please feel free to replace it.
You can use flank steak, skirt steak, or flat-iron steak for this recipe. I used flat-iron steak as it has more marbling. The key to these cuts of meat is the long marinade, not cooking it above medium-rare (even medium) and slice it thinly against the grain. These cuts of meat tend to be more tough so it’s important to follow these few steps. If you’re interested in reading about the differences between all of these steaks, please check this article out What’s the Difference Between Skirt, Flank, Hanger, and Flat Iron Steaks? Carne asada is traditionally made with flank steak so feel free to adjust if needed.
PRO TIP: When cutting the meat, be sure to cut against the grain. It’s very easy to see the grain running through the meat (looks like lines). Do not cut parallel to these lines, always cut perpendicular to them. This will prevent the meat from being chewy. I cut my steak a lot thicker but I RECOMMEND thin strips for best results.
The Best Carne Asada (Flat-Iron Steak)
- cast iron skillet, grill pan, or BBQ
- 1 16oz flat-iron steak (flank or skirt also work)
- handful of finely chopped cilantro (or parsley)
- ¼ cup avocado oil (any neutral oil)
- 5 cloves minced garlic measure with your heart
- ½ cup orange juice I use freshly squeezed
- juice of one lemon (or 2 limes)
- salt and pepper to taste start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
- ½ tablespoons white vinegar
- avocado oil for frying
- Go to your local butcher (or grocery store) and ask for a 16oz flat-iron (or flank) steak. 16oz is equal to 1 pound.
- Add the remaining 8 ingredients to a big dish or bowl. You can even use a large Ziplock bag too. Give the marinade a mix and cover the steak with it.
- Cover it well (with a lid or saran wrap) and put it in the fridge overnight. If the marinade doesn't cover the meat fully, be sure to turn it over half way.
- Note: if you want to save some marinade BEFORE you add the meat to use, you absolutely can but not after the meat is added.
- The following day take out the meat from the fridge and let it come to room temp for at least 30-60 minutes. Remove the steak from the marinade and discard the excess (if any). I don't usually have much left.
- Note: you can cook it on a cast iron pan. a grill pan, or a BBQ.
- I like to heat my cast iron pan on medium-heat for a few minutes and once the pan is hot, add in some avocado oil. I add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
- I place my steak in the pan (make sure it sizzles) and cook it for 3 minutes on each side (or until 135F).
- Take the steak off the pan and rest it for 5-7 minutes on a board or plate. I like using a board.
- Slice it thinly AGAINST the grain for best results. Enjoy as is with a side of mashed potatoes, veggies or salad or on tacos.
- Feel free to make a chimichurri sauce or simply add a sliver of herbed salted butter to melt on top. I spooned over olive oil mixed with garlic + herbs for presentation.