Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos}

I have a fast and fabulous recipe to share with you because -PEOPLE- this is going to be the biggest grilling weekend of the whole year. I’m talking about Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos}. This is one of the classic meats (literally and figuratively) of Mexican street tacos. Flavourful, slightly charred on the outside, and cooked to your desired doneness on the interior, this is one of the giants in the wonderful world of food.

Mercifully, the citrus, garlic, smoky, tender perfection that is Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos} is almost embarrassingly easy to make at home. It’s a simple as tossing a few common ingredients into a zipper top bag, putting some flank steak in it, leaving it in the refrigerator to soak up and drink in all those lovely flavours, then grilling briefly over high heat on a gas or charcoal grill.

Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos}

Seriously. That’s all there is to it. Honestly, folks… if it got any simpler, it’d be take out.

Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos}

As if the taste of Carne Asada wasn’t enough to recommend it, there’s the versatility to keep in mind, too. You can slice it thinly and serve as is, in tacos or burritos, or on salads or burrito bowls. This is grilling superstar territory here. Fire up your grill for Independence Day and fire up your tastebuds with Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos}. Scroll below the recipe for some great side dishes to serve with Carne Asada!

Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos}


Cook’s Notes

  • Fresh orange juice is a really important component to the final flavour of the recipe. If, however, you can’t lay your hands on some decent fresh oranges, use about 2/3 of a cup of not-from-concentrate, good quality juice (like Simply Orange) as a substitute.
  • I’m going to sound like a broken record, but fresh garlic is best for this recipe. If you can’t find fresh garlic, use the equivalent of 4 cloves of jarred, chopped garlic OR use 2 teaspoons granulated garlic.
  • The amount of marinade in this recipe is enough to accommodate up to 4 pounds of flank steak. Just be sure to cut the steaks down into two pieces each before sliding into the marinade.
  • You want to let the flank steak rest in the marinade (reaching into the fridge and flipping the bag over every couple hours) for at least 4 hours, but no longer than 8 hours. After 8 hours, the acid in the citrus begins breaking down the fibers of the meat, yielding a mushier end result. Mushy Carne Asada is sadness, friends. Deep sadness.
  • DO let your meat rest before slicing it. Let it rest at least 10 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute before slicing it. In other words, it keeps the finished Carne Asada juicy vs. jerky. Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos}
  • To store leftovers, let the Carne Asada cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator. When it has cooled to slightly cooler than body temperature, transfer to a zipper top bag (pour any accumulated juices from the plate into the bag with the steak.) Squeeze as much air out as possible and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. If you need to store it longer than that, freeze for up to 3 months.

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Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos}
Marinate flank steak in this bold, flavourful marinade for at least 4 hours then grill up in mere minutes. The flank steak's exterior takes on a lovely char whichever temperature you prefer in the middle. Slice the beef thinly for salads, chop into bite sized pieces for tacos, or serve as you prefer in burritos or on burrito bowls.
For the Marinade:
  • the juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the Carne Asada:
  • 1 full batch marinade
  • 2 (2 pounds each) flank steaks (You can substitute sirloin round steaks for a less authentic, but less costly and still delicious version.) Cut the flank steaks into halves, lengthwise.
To Make the Marinade and Marinate the Beef:
  1. Combine the orange juice, cayenne and black peppers, salt, cumin, and garlic in a gallon sized zipper bag. Squish the contents to combine. Add the oil to the bag. Seal the bag and shake well before opening and adding the beef. When sealing the bag with the beef in it, try to squeeze as much air out as possible. Let the beef marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours but up to 8. It is not advisable to marinate longer than that as the meat fibers may begin to break down and become mushy.
To Grill the Carne Asada:
  1. Preheat a grill to very hot (using hot coals if employing a charcoal grill.) Grill the beef over very high heat or hot coals for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. I prefer my beef a nice medium rare, so I go for about 4 minutes per side. Use tongs to transfer the meat to a rimmed plate and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

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Carne Asada {Grilled Beef for Salads, Tacos, and Burritos}


  1. Rie says

    Not in charge of the grill (party) this holiday weekend but I will be making this for sure another time. Come to Mama!……Love me some steak (any kind)

  2. Larissa says

    We don’t use flank steak for our tacos here in the north west side of mexico, where the greatest tacos come from. Flank steak is too tough, not even poor people would use it for their carne asada. We use a cut named cabreria, which is a very soft and clean cut, and if you ask for it con hueso (with bones) you can grill the bones too and they are delicious. Also, we don’t marinade the meat, we just add some sea salt right before flipping, some add pepper too but I think it ruins the flavor of the steak.

  3. Kesha says

    This looks great! Wish I had seen this before the holiday. This may be a weird question but, your knife is beautiful and I was wondering where you got it.

    • says

      That’s not a weird question at all! That’s my favourite knife of all time: a Korin Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Chef Knife from . If you buy one, tell them I sent you!

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