Street tacos are one of my favorite foods. It doesn’t really matter where I am — if they are on the menu, that is generally what I am going to order.
Not only do I love the freshness and the wide variety of flavors, they are also a little healthier than the typical fried shell, saucy ground meat, heavily topped version. With street tacos, the flavor comes from the boldly flavored meats and the fresh made salsas or slaws. You won’t find shredded lettuce and black olives here. The toppings for these tacos are all about freshly squeezed citrus, perfectly ripe avocados, and, my favorite, fresh cilantro. Here is a link for my Roasted Corn Pico de Gallo that goes perfect on these tacos!
For my Carne Asada Street Tacos, I usually start with flank steak, but to be a little more authentic, I decided I was going to find skirt steak. Skirt steak is generally the meat of choice for dishes such as street tacos, fajitas and stir fry.
It has been so long since I was in butchery classes that I even had to ask one of our local guys where on the animal the skirt steak comes to make sure that I wasn’t just missing it on the shelves under some other “sneaky” name. (Yes, I had to admit to someone that I didn’t know what I was doing. This was a bold step for me.)
Anyway, what I learned was that skirt steak comes from the “plate” of a cow. It’s a long, thin piece of meat taken from the diaphragm muscle. It has a membrane that runs along both the inside and the outside cuts of the meat that needs to be removed before you cook it.
Once that is done, though, you are left with a very tender piece of meat. The flank is a similar cut but is closer to the rear quarter of the animal.
To marinate the beef, I placed it into a resealable plastic bag along with the seasonings, lime juice and oil. I sealed the bag, gave it a gentle massage, and then let the bag sit in my refrigerator all day. You could let it marinate anywhere from eight to 24 hours, whatever works for you and your schedule.
When it was time to cook the meat, I placed it on a preheated grill for about five to six minutes on each side or until it was cooked medium rare. The grilling will caramelize the meat and add another dimension of flavor.
When the meat was at the proper temperature, I removed it from the grill and placed it on a cutting board. Before cutting into it, though, make sure to cover it with foil and let it sit for 10 minutes. You don’t want to risk losing all of the precious meat juices by cutting it too soon and letting them run out onto the cutting board instead of staying in the meat.
Carne Asada Street Tacos
2 pounds skirt steak
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Seal bag and gently shake and work around the ingredients to make sure the meat is evenly coated with all ingredients evenly. Place bag in the refrigerator and let marinate for 8-24 hours.
Cook on grill until meat is medium rare, about 5-6 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and let rest under a tent foil for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and set aside until ready to serve.
To assemble your street tacos, top a warm fresh, not fried, 6-inch corn tortilla with about a quarter-cup of meat. Then top with a few tablespoons of salsa and any other fresh toppings you like. Some of our favorites are avocado slices, sour cream or plain greek yogurt, sriracha and fresh jalapenos.
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