Simple Citrus Carne Asada

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Carne asada is a perfect option when you want ton of flavor but don’t have a ton of time. With my Fiesta Rub and a few simple ingredients, you can turn out delicious carne asada perfect for tacos, salads, and so much more.

Sliced carne asada on a blue plat with lime wedges.

What is the Best Carne Asada Meat?

I’m using skirt steak for this recipe, but you’ve got options on the beef for your carne asada. You can also use flank steak or flap steak at a reasonable price. Both of these cuts are thin and quick cooking. The main difference between cuts is the amount of fat, and a well marbled steak will have more flavor.

Carne asada translates to “grilled meat,” but it typically refers to this thin style of beef cooked on a hot grill. Some are simply seasoned and others marinated. I favor the deeper flavor profile of a marinated carne asada.  Whatever you choose will taste great, so go with what’s available from your butcher or grocery store.

How to Make Carne Asada

Now that you’ve got your meat picked out, let me show you how easy preparing it will be.

  1. Prepare the marinade. Combine the marinade ingredients in a gallon zip top bag and massage to combine. The massage releases the oils from the cilantro, onion, and garlic into the liquid, so don’t be afraid to get in there!
  2. Marinade the steak. Place your skirt steak in your marinade bag, press out any excess air, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. The longer you let it marinate, the more your steak will absorb those yummy flavors.
  3. Preheat your grill. Heat your grill to high (around 600-650 degrees F). Grilling at a high heat for a short time is all you need for this thin cut.
  4. Grill the steak. Carefully remove the steak from the marinade, shaking off any excess pieces of onion, herbs, or garlic. Place it directly on the grill and cook with the lid up, flipping every 2-3 minutes until a dark crust is developed on the outside and the internal temperature of the steak reads 130 degrees F.
  5. Slice and serve. Remove the steak to a cutting board. Going against the grain, cut the meat into thin slices for meal assembly or to eat on its own.

Raw skirt steak in a zip top bag with cilantro and onions.

Carne Asada Marinade

The secret to getting delicious carne asada from this thin cut of steak is the seasoning. Again, you’ve got options here. There are two options you can use when making this carne asada, depending on how much time you have before you need to get this steak on the grill.

  • Marinade. This is ideal if you have the time. Combine avocado oil, my Fiesta Rub, lime juice, cilantro, onion, and garlic in a zip top bag, place your steak, and seal. Leaving it in the fridge overnight is ideal, but you want at least 4 hours to let your flavors really soak into the meat.
  • Quick Season. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to a marinade, don’t stress! Simply apply a light coat of avocado oil to your steak and then hit it with my Fiesta Rub before going on the grill. You can purchase the Fiesta Rub from my store or make your own using my recipe for Homemade Fiesta Rub.

Either method will result in mouth-watering carne asada your guests will love. Don’t be afraid to experiment with how long you marinate your steak. You may find a little more (or less) time in the marinade will suit your preferences.

Carne Asada on a grill.

Grilling Carne Asada

When you’re grilling a thin cut like this, it doesn’t take much time to get it just right. The goal is to get a nice dark color on the outside without losing any of the delicious, juicy flavor inside. I like to cook carne asada on my charcoal grill, but you can use whatever you have available in your backyard.

Preheat your grill to 600-650 degrees for direct, high heat grilling. Grill the steak for 2-3 minutes per side, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees F. Be sure to use a reliable food thermometer to ensure doneness while maintaining that tender finish.

Sliced carne asada on a blue plate with limes and pico de gallo.

Other Great Taco Recipes

Love tacos? me too! Here’s are some of my favorite taco recipes for you next backyard BBQ.

Carne Asada Tacos
Grilled Chicken Tacos
Smoked Birria Tacos
Grilled Fish Tacos

Carne Asada Recipe

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Carne Asada

0 from 0 votes
A flavorful marinade with citrus and chilis tenderizes and seasons carne asada meat.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Marinade Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 30 minutes
Servings4 people

Ingredients
 

  • 2 pounds skirt steak silverskin removed (flap or flank steak work great)

Carne Asada Marinade

  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Fiesta Rub
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ white onion sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the marinade. Combine all of the ingredients in a gallon zip top bag and really massage to combine. The massage also releases the oils from the cilantro, onion, and garlic into the liquid.
    ¼ cup avocado oil, 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Fiesta Rub, 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, ½ cup fresh cilantro, ½ white onion, 4 cloves garlic
  • Marinade the steak. Place the skirt steak in the marinade, press out any excess air from the bag and seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
    2 pounds skirt steak
  • Preheat your grill. Heat your grill to high (around 600-650 degrees F).
  • Grill the steak. Carefully remove the steak from the marinade, shaking off any excess pieces of onion, herbs, or garlic. Place it directly on the grill and cook with the lid up, flipping every 2-3 minutes until a dark crust is developed on the outside and the internal temperature of the steak reads 130 degrees F.
  • Slice and serve. Remove the steak to a cutting board and slice into thin pieces, against the grain.

Nutrition

Calories: 482kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 253mg | Potassium: 714mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 275IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About

FOUNDER/BBQ BOSS LADY

Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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