carne asada

Beginner's Guide to Mexican Food IV: Carne Asada - Mexican Grilled Beef

Carne Asada - or Mexican Grilled Beef - is an iconic and popular dish in itself and a popular filling for other classic Mexican dishes like tacos and burritos.
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings 2 -4
Author Johan Johansen


  • 500 gram steak skirt, flank or flap meat
  • 2 Ancho chilies
  • 2 Guajillo chili
  • 1 Chipotle chili canned, in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the canned Chipotle
  • Juice of two limes
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • One bunch of cilantro as much as you see fit or omit altogether
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano can substitute regular oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Cut stems off the chilies, remove seed pods and sees.
  2. In a dry pan set over medium heat, gently toast the chilies until warmed through, soft and fragrant.
  3. Chop roasted chilies into smaller pieces and add to a food processor along with one Chipotle pepper, one teaspoon of adobo sauce and all other marinade ingredients except cilantro and garlic.
  4. Blend marinade ingredients until completely smooth.
  5. Coarsely chop cilantro, stems and all, and add to marinade along with finely minced garlic. Allow to rest for a few minutes.
  6. Place meat in a large Ziploc bag and carefully pour in the marinade. Shake and knead bag to evenly distribute the marinade across the surface of the meat, forcing as much excess air as possible out in the process.
  7. Seal bag and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 3 but no more than 12 hours.
  8. Remove meat from fridge at least half an hour prior to cooking.
  9. Fire up your favorite grill, grill pan or cast iron skillet.
  10. Remove any excess marinade, cilantro sprigs or large pieces of garlic from surface of the meat to avoid excess charring and burnt flavors.
  11. Cook meat over high heat for about 2-5 minutes per side depending on thickness until well and thoroughly browned.
  12. Remove meat from heat and let rest loosely covered for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  13. At this point, the meat should have an internal temperature of about 52-55C (rare to medium rare) and yield easily to the touch of a finger yet spring back quickly when released.
  14. Once well rested, slice beef thinly across the grain, pour over any accumulated juices and serve.

Recipe Notes

How you slice Carne Asada matters almost as much as how you cook it. For instructions on how to properly slice Carne Asada please see the paragraph below.