How to Make Carne Asada (with Pictures)

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How to Make Carne Asada (with Pictures)
How to Make Carne Asada (with Pictures)

Carne asada is a type of thin meat that is often cut into small long strips and served in a tortilla shell, but can also be prepared as a main dish. It is usually prepared with marinade and grilled, but you can also saute it or cook it in a slow cooker. Keep reading to learn how to prepare this main dish at home.


Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 lbs (900 g) beef samcan (belly) or deep thigh (muscle portion)
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 jalapeo chili, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) crushed fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lime juice
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil


Part 1 of 5: Marinating Meat with Seasoning

Make Carne Asada Step 1
Make Carne Asada Step 1

Step 1. Mix the ingredients for the meat marinade

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except meat.

  • Make sure you use a bowl or dish made of a non-reactive material such as glass. The acid in vinegar and lime juice can react with metals like aluminum, don't use it for this.
  • If you can't find fresh jalapeno peppers, you can also use Serrano peppers, which are also hot as jalapenos. You can also use canned jalapeno, which is less spicy, or 1 tsp (5 ml) red chili pepper.
  • If you don't have minced fresh garlic, you can also use tsp (2.5 ml) garlic powder.
  • If you only have dried cilantro, use about 8 tsp (40 ml) instead of cup (125 ml) fresh cilantro.
Make Carne Asada Step 2
Make Carne Asada Step 2

Step 2. Season the meat with the spices

Dip the meat into the seasoning solution and turn the meat a few times so that all sides are exposed to the spices.

Samcan is the most traditional choice of beef halves for making carne asada, but other thin meats such as deep hash can also be used

Make Carne Asada Step 3
Make Carne Asada Step 3

Step 3. Soak in the marinade for 1 to 4 hours

Cover the bowl or dish with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator.

  • Generally, the longer you leave the meat in the marinade, the more tender and rich it will be. But if it is soaked for too long, it can make the meat tough.
  • Four hours is the longest. After that, the taste of the meat was relatively no different. But if you leave it for more than 24 hours, the taste can become unpleasant.
  • Don't soak your meat on the kitchen counter. It can invite bacteria to grow in the meat. Marinate the meat with spices in the refrigerator only.

Part 2 of 5: Preparing the Grill

Make Carne Asada Step 4
Make Carne Asada Step 4

Step 1. Brush the grill bars

Use a wire brush to brush through the grill bars, removing any leftover food from the previous grilling session.

Even if you clean the toaster after use, it's a good idea to keep cleaning it again, especially after not using it for a long time. Brushing the grill also helps get rid of other debris that collects when not in use

Make Carne Asada Step 5
Make Carne Asada Step 5

Step 2. Grease the grill bars with canola oil

Pour some canola oil on a thick paper towel, and brush the oil on the grill bars.

  • The oil will form a non-stick coating which will reduce the stickiness of the meat on the grill bars.
  • If there is no oil, you can also use foil. Cover the bars with foil and punch holes in the foil with a fork for baking. You'll need to pierce enough holes for the heat to penetrate through.
Make Carne Asada Step 6
Make Carne Asada Step 6

Step 3. Heat the charcoal grill

You need to start 20 minutes before grilling, and you need to prepare two high heat areas and one cooler area.

  • Lift the bars for a while.
  • Use a charcoal igniter to light a medium pile of charcoal briquettes. Let it burn until it forms white ash.
  • Place the hot charcoal in the bottom of the grill. Use long tongs to spread the charcoal. You should put two or three layers in one third of the base, you one or two layers in the other third. The remaining third should be without charcoal.
  • Put the bars back on the grill
Make Carne Asada Step 7
Make Carne Asada Step 7

Step 4. Alternatively, heat the gas grill

With a charcoal grill, start 20 minutes before cooking. Turn all heat elements on to high settings while cooking.

Make Carne Asada Step 8
Make Carne Asada Step 8

Step 5. Check the grill before starting

The grill should be very hot before you cook the meat.

  • To check the charcoal, hold your hand 10 cm above the highest flame. You must be able to count to 1 to draw your hand. If you can hold the heat longer, the grill is still not hot enough.
  • On gas grills, the temperature setting needs to reach 260 degrees Celsius before it's ready to cook.

Part 3 of 5: Grilling Meat

Make Carne Asada Step 9
Make Carne Asada Step 9

Step 1. Place the meat on the grill

Use tongs to move the meat from the marinade to the hottest part of the grill.

  • Hold the meat over the bowl of seasonings so the excess seasoning drips into the bowl again. Discard the remaining seasoning.
  • You can close the grill after placing the meat, but this is not required.
Make Carne Asada Step 10
Make Carne Asada Step 10

Step 2. Cook for 8 minutes, turning at least once

After 4 minutes have passed and the bottom is browned, use tongs to flip the meat over to the other side. Cook 4 more minutes to make the meat half cooked.

  • The liquid from the marinade should be enough to prevent the shells from forming at the bottom of the meat while grilling.
  • If you want your meat to be criss-crossed, turn the meat 90 degrees after 2 minutes of cooking. To make a cross on the other side, turn it 90 degrees after cooking the side 2 minutes.
  • You can cook the meat a few more minutes on each side if you want it to be more cooked.
Make Carne Asada Step 11
Make Carne Asada Step 11

Step 3. Check for doneness

Use a meat thermometer to the thickest part of the meat. The minimum temperature is 60 degrees Celsius.

You can also cut into the center of the meat and check the color. Half ripe, dark pink in color. Medium, the color is starting to brown. Medium ripe, brown with a hint of pink, ripe, all brown

Part 4 of 5: Serving Meat

Make Carne Asada Step 12
Make Carne Asada Step 12

Step 1. Allow the meat to cool

Transfer the roasted meat to a cutting board and let it rest for 3 to 5 minutes.

By allowing the meat to cool, you give the liquid in the meat time to spread. You will get meat that is more water content

Make Carne Asada Step 13
Make Carne Asada Step 13

Step 2. Slice the meat into 6 mm thick slices

hold the meat with a meat fork and use your other hand to slice the meat with a butcher's knife.

  • Use a thin-bladed butcher's knife.
  • Turn the meat over so the long side is facing you. The muscle fibers should be horizontal.
  • Hold the knife at a 45-degree angle and cut the meat against the grain. Do not cut the meat parallel to the grain, as this will make the meat tough and chewy.
Make Carne Asada Step 14
Make Carne Asada Step 14

Step 3. Serve immediately

Carne asada is best when served hot.

Part 5 of 5: Alternative Cooking Methods

Make Carne Asada Step 15
Make Carne Asada Step 15

Step 1. Cook the carne asada in a skillet

Saute the beef in the skillet for 8 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking process.

  • Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of canola oil into a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Heat the oil for 1 to 2 minutes so that it is hot enough.
  • Put the meat in the pan. Cook for 4 minutes on one side before turning it over with tongs. Cook for another 4 minutes.
  • This will result in undercooked (medium-rare) meat. Add a cooking time of 1 or 2 minutes to your desired doneness.
Make Carne Asada Step 16
Make Carne Asada Step 16

Step 2. Long cook the meat

Cook the meat in a long cooking pot for 10 to 12 hours on a low setting.

  • Put the marinated meat and the rest of the spices into the old cooking pot.
  • When cooked, the meat will be tender enough to shred with a fork.
Make Carne Asada Final
Make Carne Asada Final

Step 3.


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