This Sonoran Carne Asada recipe is the authentic way to make this popular Mexican steak. With only 3 ingredients, it’s ready to enjoy in less than 15 minutes!
If you’re looking for a delicious and authentic Mexican dish, Carne Asada is definitely worth making at home. Carne asada, which translates to “grilled meat” in English, is a dish commonly found in Mexico (more in the northern) and the southwestern United States.
It consists of thin steak grilled to perfection and typically served with tortillas, guacamole, salsa, and other toppings. You can serve it on a plate, make tacos or other options.
My family has a history with this meal. Rumor has it, people don’t want to read family details in the main recipe so I put it below lol!
Have you watched “The Taco Chronicles” on Netflix? In one of the episodes, the documentary crew heads to the lovely city of Hermosillo Sonora and nearby areas, to scout for the tastiest carne asada tacos. In this series, they recognize that Sonora’s specialty is the Carne Asada Taco. This is something we Sonorenses brag about!
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- The Meat: The most popular cuts for the asada meat are diezmillo, fajita (skirt steak), or carne ranchera, flank or hanger steak. The key is choosing a good quality cut of beef that’s thin and easy to slice, so it cooks quickly and evenly on the grill. I like mine on the leaner side but it’s o.k. with a little fat too.
- Salt: Preferably a coarse salt like kosher or sea salt.
- Black pepper: Freshly ground is always better.
How much meat should you buy per person?
If you’re cooking for a crowd, plan on buying at least half a pound per person. You may have a little leftover but it’s better to have extra than not enough. Leftovers are always great to make burritos, Quesadillas, nachos, carne asada fries, added to a salad, or mix with scrambled eggs, etc.
Carne Asada Seasoning
What about the Marinade? Salt and pepper for the seasoning, that’s all you need. The magic of a authentic carne asada recipe it’s not in the marinade, it’s all about the meat, salsas and good flour tortillas. Fun fact! It’s a custom that the person doing the grilling drizzles a little bit of the beer he’s drinking on the meat.
How To Make Carne Asada
- Start by preheating your grill to high heat. Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Grill the steaks for 5-6 minutes per side, turning once until medium well done but still tender.
- Remove the steak from the grill and transfer into a pot with a lid. Cover to keep warm.
- Slice the meat thinly, against the grain and return to the pot until ready to serve.
The asada meat is all about layering the flavors and I’ve got you covered with some of my favorite fixings:
- Pico de gallo: This fresh and zesty salsa is a classic topping for carne asada. Made with diced tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice, it adds a burst of flavor to every bite.
- Plus any of these salsas: Salsa Mexicana, Salsa De Molcajete, Chiltepin, Tomatillo Salsa Verde, Roasted Tomatoes Salsa, or Chile De Arbol.
- Guacamole: Creamy, flavorful guacamole is a must-have topping for any Mexican dish but should almost never be missed with carne asada.
- Pickled onions: These tangy, crunchy onions are a great way to add some texture and acidity to your carne asada. You can make them at home by soaking thinly sliced onions in lime juice.
- Tortillas De Harina for the authentic Sonora experience, but good corn tortillas are perfect too.
If you have all the toppings mentioned, you don’t need many side dishes to make this a complete meal. If you want to elevate your experience, here are my suggestions to make a feast:
- Charros beans or Frijoles Puercos
- Chiles Toreados are a must!
- Cebollitas Asadas are another must.
- Lime wedges. A squeeze of fresh lime juice is a must.
- Rice is an option too.
- Horchata or Agua De Jamaica
Storing and Reheating
First, let the carne asada cool down to room temperature before storing.
Fridge: Store in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. Make sure it’s tightly sealed to prevent air and moisture from getting in. Store up to three days, or in the freezer for up to three months.
Reheat: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a little vegetable oil, and then add the carne asada. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
Favorite Mexican Dishes
I hope you like this recipe! Share it, or leave a rating and comment below. For questions that need an answer right away, please contact me and I’ll get back to you asap. Gracias!!!! xx, Ana
Sonora Carne Asada
- Gas or charcoal grill
- 2 pounds Ranchera meat (skirt steak or flank steak)
- Kosher or sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Preheat your grill to high heat. Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.2 pounds Ranchera meat (skirt steak or flank steak), Kosher or sea salt,, Black pepper,
- Grill the steaks for 5-6 minutes per side, turning once until medium well done.
- Remove the steak from the grill and transfer into a pot with a lid. Cover to keep it warm. Slice it thinly against the grain.
- Slice the meat thinly against the grain and return to the pot until ready to serve into tacos.
Muy Delish Notes:
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My family’s favorite meal: A Carne Asada
This is one of my all-time favorite meals for a reason. It comes from my family’s love for carne asada. It’s a traditional dish from the state of Sonora and specifically Ciudad Obregon where I was born.
Livestock is one of the main sources of wealth in Sonora along with seafood. One of the main advantages is the climate of Sonora is favorable for raising cattle because the foods originating in the region, such as mesquite and oregano, are essential products in the feeding of the cattle.
You can find grilled meat at local taco stands everywhere. But in Sonora, it’s so much more than that! A carne asada is actually a weekly get-together with family and friends, and it’s the star of the show.
Everyone takes special care with every part of the meal, from the meat, to the salsas, the beans, the guacamole, and even the soft flour tortillas. Each person has their role to play – the grill master, their family members, and of course, the guests. It’s a really special tradition that brings people together over a delicious meal.
This was our Sunday tradition growing up and still is! The first thing our family says when we get together? Cuando es la carne asada? So for me, this recipe is close to my heart and will be forever.
Still want a marinade? Here’s a quick recipe to marinate your meat for 2 to 4 hours.
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup of lime juice
- 1/4 cup of orange juice
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
- Place the steak in a shallow dish or a large resealable freezer bag and pour the marinade over the steak. Make sure the steak is fully coated in the marinade. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- When you’re ready to grill the steak, remove it from the citrus juices and grill according to the instructions on the recipe card.
Steak has always been my favorite food. This recipe is easy and tasty. A perfect dinner option for a busy weeknight meal.
Mexican recipes are all-time favorite. This looks simple and delicious. Thanks for sharing.
Love this easy recipe! (I even followed the tradition you suggested and drizzled a bit of beer on the meat while cooking.) This Carne Asada is perfect topped with your Salsa Mexicana!
Oh wow! This looks absolutely amazing. I love all the tips to help make the carne asada perfect. So easy too!
I really had no idea it was this simple to make authentic carne asada, but now that I do, I will be making this often for my family. I love the tradition of getting everyone together to eat and enjoy the meat with all sorts of side dishes and salsas.
This looks so flavorful and delicious!! Love all of the warm spices you incorporated into this dish!
Your recipes are do delicious. You are a go to in my kitchen! Thank you.
One question – the salsa picturered looks like the smoky, but it’s not as chunky as it shows in the link. Which salsa is that pictured on the right above the salsa links. Thank you
Looks amazing! Love family traditions!
I just want to say I love reading about your family and how the food is part of your tradition/history. It just makes the food taste better lol!