Fire up your charcoal grill, grab some of your favorite Cowboy Charcoal, and prepare for a flavor-packed fiesta with my Grilled Carne Asada recipe. While the marinated steak sizzles on your backyard grill, you’ll hear mariachi tunes in the air before you take the first juicy and flavorful bite.

If you ever feel like the world is upside down, the incredible aromas of this easy recipe are the fastest pick-me-up. When served with warm tortillas, you’ll quickly remember that good people, good food, and good times still exist! 

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grilled carne asada sliced and ready to serve

Positively, carne asada is Mexican comfort food at its best. Whether it’s Cinco de Mayo or Friday night, what’s not to love about tender, amber beer-marinated steak grilled to perfection? The insanely delicious flavors bring people together, whether for a festive celebration or a cozy family dinner.

My favorite lump charcoal, with no fillers, chemicals, or additives, makes grilling magic happen in our backyard. Cowboy Charcoal lights quickly and burns long, making it a favorite choice for its authentic smoky flavor. I also kick up the intense smoky flavors for this recipe with some of their Mesquite Chunks

Why You’ll Love This Great Carne Asada Recipe

As much as I love going to Mexican restaurants, there is nothing like making authentic carne asada at home. Carne asada literally means “grilled meat,” in Spanish. In Mexico, where the famous main dish originated, flavorful carne asada is often the centerpiece of gatherings, celebrations, and family meals. And, for good reason! It’s so freakin’ delicious and versatile! 

The marinated and grilled meat is usually served with corn tortillas. The crave-worthy meat makes the best carne asada tacos, burritos, and nachos. And you can get as creative as you want with tasty accompaniments like fresh pico de gallo and tangy sour cream. 

More Carne Asada

Simple Ingredients Overview

  • Carne Asada – Flank steak (or skirt steak) is simply seasoned with sea salt.  
  • Carne Asada Marinade – The marinade combines my favorite bold flavors, including Hatch Chile Rub (or cumin, sea salt, and black pepper), amber beer, white vinegar, diced white onion, fresh cilantro, garlic cloves, freshly squeezed juice from a navel orange and three fresh limes, and sliced jalapeno.

Now that you know what you need to make this recipe, let’s walk through how to make it. Clean your grill, grab your tongs, and crack open a beer because it’s time to get this fiesta started!

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Grilled Carne Asada Pro tips

  1. Don’t skip scoring or poking the meat! These precision cuts allow the marinade to penetrate deeper. 
  2. For best results, don’t marinate the flank steak for longer than 5 hours or you risk the meat becoming mushy. 
  3. My choice of wood from Cowboy Charcoal is mesquite. For less smokiness, try hickory or apple wood
  4. Slice steak against the grain and at an angle. This ensures a larger cut of meat with more flavor. 

How to Make the Best Grilled Carne Asada 

Prep

First, grab your room temperature flank steak and score the meat with cross hatches using a very sharp knife. Next, let’s make that easy but oh-so-flavorful marinade we need to tenderize the meat. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a blender.

The marinaded flank steak getting started over the fire.

Next, place the meat with the steak cuts in a shallow baking dish or a sturdy plastic bag. Finally, pour the delicious marinade, ensuring the meat is fully submerged. Leave it in the fridge for no longer than 5 hours. 

Marinating meat is such a great way to impart flavor into a dish. The classic Tacos Al Pastor and Santa Maria Tri Tip recipes are great examples of this! Not only do provide amazing flavor, but the majority of the work for the meal is done ahead of time. Therefore, the cooking part of the recipes are usually pretty easy because you’ve done the majority of the work ahead of time. For other delicious marinade recipes, check out my Marinated Steak with Thai Chili Sauce, Grilled Mojo Chicken and Garlic Soy Marinated Salmon!

Grillin’ Time

Prior to grilling your meat, prepare your Cowboy Charcoal by firing up a couple of chimneys filled with coals. After about 15 minutes, when they’re nice and toasty, carefully pour those hot coals into the grill. Toss in a few chunks of Mesquite wood for that extra smoky goodness, and pile ’em up for direct cooking.

Now, gently lay your marinated steak onto the grill and let it sizzle away for about 7 to 8 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on that internal temperature with your instant-read thermometer.

The grilled carne asada after being flipped on the grill.

The carne asada is ready once it reaches around 120 degrees F for a medium-rare steak. Next, take the steak off the grill and transfer it to a cutting board so the meat can rest for about 10 minutes.

A close up shot of the steak before slicing.

For more recipes cooked over cowboy charcoal, check out Steaks on the Coals, Stuffed Lobster Tails and Spiced Lamb Kebabs!

Slice Away!

Finally, it’s slicing time for our carne asada! Grab a sharp knife to slice that steak against the grain, cutting at a bit of an angle for those beautiful, juicy pieces. Sprinkle on a bit of sea salt, and voila! You’re ready to dig into some Grilled Carne Asada. So freakin’ delicious! Cheers!

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The sliced Grilled Carne Asada Recipe.

3 FAQs for My Authentic Carne Asada Recipe 

Can I use other cuts of meat for the Grilled Carne Asada recipe? 

Absolutely! While flank steak or skirt steak are traditional choices for Carne Asada due to their texture and flavor, you can certainly use other cuts of meat if you prefer or if those cuts aren’t available.

Sirloin steak is a flavorful, tender cut that works well for Carne Asada. It’s slightly leaner than flank or skirt steak but still offers great taste and texture when marinated and grilled.

For flank steak, why does cutting against the grain and at an angle matter?

Cutting against the grain and at an angle matters because it makes the meat more tender and easier to chew.

When you cut against the grain, you’re slicing through the muscle fibers, which shortens them and makes the meat less tough. Slicing at an angle creates longer slices with more surface area, allowing them to hold more flavor and juice.

So, for the most delicious and tender flank steak, always remember to cut against the grain and at an angle!

What’s so unique about flank steak? 

As the name implies, the flank steak comes from the cow’s flank region. The cut is known for its long, flat shape and grain pattern. It’s grainy texture makes it perfect for marinating and grilling. Due to its rich beefy flavor and versatility, flank steak is often used in dishes like Carne Asada, stir-fries, and fajitas.

For more insanely delicious flank steak recipes, check out Spiced Habanero Flank Steak, Fajita Steak Pinwheels, Spanish Garlic Steak Pinwheels, and my Peter Luger Sliced Steak Sandwich!

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grilled carne asada

Grilled Carne Asada

Grilled Carne Asada is Mexican comfort food at its best. This recipe gets a boost of authentic smoky flavor from the grilling with my favorite Cowboy Charcoal.
Author:Derek Wolf
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Marinating Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

Steak:

  • 2 Flank Steaks or Skirt Steaks
  • 2 tsp of Sea Salt to finish

Marinade:

  • 2 tbsp of Hatch Chile Rub (Or 1 tbsp Cumin, 2 tsp Sea Salt and 1 tsp Black Pepper)
  • 6 oz of Amber Beer
  • ¼ cup of White Vinegar
  • ½ cup of White Onion Diced
  • ¼ cup of Cilantro
  • 10 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Navel Orange juiced
  • 3 Limes juiced
  • 1 Jalapeno sliced

Instructions 

  • At room temperature, score the outside of flank steak.
  • In a blender, add all ingredients for marinade and blend thoroughly.
  • Add flank steak to a glass container or plastic bag and fill with marinade. Let sit in the fridge for 2-5 hours.
  • Using Cowboy Charcoal, fill two chimneys full of coals, light and let preheat for 15 minutes. Pour coals into the grill, add a few chunks of Mesquite wood and place into one pile for direct cooking.
  • Add your steak to the grill and cook for 7-8 minutes per side or until it reaches 120F internal for medium rare. Once done, pull the steak off the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice steak against the grain at an angle, top with sea salt and enjoy!

Notes

Grilled Carne Asada Pro Tips
  1. Don’t skip scoring or poking the meat! These cuts allow the marinade to penetrate deeper. 
  2. For best results, don’t marinate the flank steak for longer than 5 hours or you risk the meat becoming mushy. 
  3. My choice of wood from Cowboy Charcoal is mesquite. For less smokiness, try hickory or apple wood
  4. Slice steak against the grain and at an angle. This dual approach ensures a larger cut of meat with more flavor. 

Nutrition

Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 821mg | Potassium: 443mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1295IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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