Carne Asada is a savory Latin American grilled steak and a celebration of grilling with bold flavors, this delicious steak can be served up multiple ways. This easy carne asada marinade will provide a flavor packed and juicy steak ready to be your new favorite grilling recipe.
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The Best Carne Asada Recipe
Originating from Latin America, this iconic dish has captured the hearts and palates of food lovers around the globe. Carne asada, which literally translates to “grilled meat,” is a savory and succulent dish that boasts tender, marinated beef. This traditional Latin American dish is characterized by the robust flavors of the marinade and the undeniable charred aroma acquired through grilling. While the recipe may vary across different regions, the essence of carne asada remains consistent—an unforgettable taste experience that showcases the art of grilling.
So since Carne Asada at its essence is grilled meat most of the flavor comes from the marinade. Marinating meat is a fundamental step in the preparation of carne asada, and it serves several important purposes.
First and foremost, marinades infuse the meat with flavor, enhancing its taste. The combination of acidic ingredients along with aromatic herbs and spices, creates a harmonious balance of flavors that penetrate the meat fibers. Additionally, marinating meats helps to tenderize tougher cuts of beef, ensuring a juicy and melt-in-your-mouth texture. It also acts as a protective barrier, preventing excessive charring during the grilling process.
So let’s marinade some meat!
- Olive Oil – Oil is needed as part of the marinade but it is equally as important for grilling so that your steak won’t stick to the grill.
- Lime Juice – Fresh is a must, you will want 2 to 3 limes to provide enough juice.
- Orange Juice – Fresh is also best for the orange juice, you will need one large navel orange to get the right amount.
- Soy Sauce – Probably not a traditional part of carne asada but helps make an amazing and rich marinade flavor!
- Garlic – A must for this marinade to help it get flavor!
- Cumin & Chili Powder – Both of these spice helps provide that signature Latin American flavor.
- Cilantro – Some fresh cilantro to help flavor.
- Salt – And of course salt for flavor but also to help with the tenderness.
- Flank Steak or Skirt Steak – You can use either! I tend to find that flank steak is more readily available than skirt steak. One of the biggest differences between the two is that skirt steak tends to have a higher fat content usually making it a little more tender.
For a complete detailed list of the ingredients continue towards the bottom of the page.
Combine olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, soy sauce, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, cilantro, and salt in a container or ziplock bag to make the marinade.
Add the flank steak to the marinade. Let rest at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
To Grill: Preheat your grill to medium high heat.
Remove the flank steak from the marinade letting any extra liquid drip off.
Place the flank steak in the hot grill. Grill for 4 minutes.
Flip the flank steak and grill another 4 minutes.
Flip and grill for 4 more minutes again. Check the doneness with an instant read thermometer. If more time is needed flip and again and grill another 2-4 minutes or until the meat thermometer gives you the doneness you are looking for.
Internal Temperatures for Beef:
- Rare: 120º-125º F
- Medium-Rare: 130º – 135º F
- Medium: 140º – 145º F
- Medium-Well: 150-155º F
- Well 160º F & above
Transfer the steak to a cutting board or platter. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. To serve cut the flank steak into strips against the grain.
tips, tricks and questions
What cut of meat is used for carne asada?
Either Flank or Skirt Steak.
How is carne asada supposed to be cooked?
Carne asada is supposed to be grilled, but you can always cook it on the stovetop in a cast iron pan if you are in a pinch.
Servings Suggestions and Ideas:
- Tacos: Serve thinly sliced carne asada in warm corn tortillas, and top with fresh cilantro, chopped onions, and a squeeze of lime juice. Add a dollop of Guacamole or Salsa for an extra burst of flavor.
- Burritos or Quesadillas: Wrap your tender carne asada in a flour tortilla, along with beans, cheese, and your favorite fillings, to create a hearty and satisfying burrito. Alternatively, use it as a filling for quesadillas, layered with cheese and grilled until golden brown.
- Salad: Slice the grilled carne asada and serve it atop a bed of crisp lettuce, along with cherry tomatoes, avocado, and a zesty dressing.
- Rice and Beans: Pair your carne asada with a side of Mexican Rice and Refried Beans. The combination of flavors and textures creates a satisfying and complete meal.
- Grilled Vegetables: Take advantage of the grill and prepare a medley of grilled vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, and zucchini. The smoky flavors and vibrant colors will complement the carne asada beautifully.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 pound flank steak (or skirt steak)
- Combine olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, soy sauce, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, cilantro, and salt in a container or ziplock bag to make the marinade.
- Add the flank steak to the marinade. Let rest at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- To Grill: Preheat your grill to medium high heat.
- Remove the flank steak from the marinade letting any extra liquid drip off.
- Place the flank steak in the hot grill. Grill for 4 minutes.
- Flip the flank steak and grill another 4 minutes.
- Flip and grill for 4 more minutes again. Check the doneness with an instant read thermometer. If more time is needed flip and again and grill another 2-4 minutes or until the meat thermometer gives you the doneness you are looking for*.
- Transfer the steak to a cutting board or platter. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. To serve cut the flank steak into strips against the grain.
*Internal Temperatures for Beef:
- Rare: 120º-125º F
- Medium-Rare: 130º - 135º F
- Medium: 140º - 145º F
- Medium-Well: 150-155º F
- Well 160º F & above
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Serving Size:1/4 pound (measured raw)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 645mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 32g
Nutritional data is automated and might not be 100% accurate, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.