Monday, April 16, 2012

Carne Asada Mojo or Marinade

I lived in Guatemala for a while many years ago, and learned that Guatemalans love carne asada. 
I honestly never really understood what that meant since the translation is: grilled meat.  I mistakenly thought this meant any meat and couldn't figure out what the big deal was.  Many years later, living in Colorado with lots of friends from Mexico, I finally learned what carne asada really means.
Super thinly sliced skirt or flank steak.  Perfectly marinated, and "just" cooked on the grill so that it is tender and juicy. The meant is served in a corn tortilla with refried beans, rice, pico de gallo, guacamole, & sour cream.

The easiest way to get the best meat for carne asada is to look in your area for a 'carniceria' (literally - meat market) ask them for 'aguayo' meat - this is the best for carne asada.  Then ask them to add their 'mojo' or 'marinade'.  They'll usually put the meat in a bag, add some marinade, and then you can let it sit in the fridge overnight or for a day or two.

If a carniceria isn't an option - Costco often sales carne asada (already in a marinade), or you can purchase thinly sliced flank or skirt steak and do your own mojo or marinade.

I usually have to slice my meat into halves or fourths just to get the thinness I need.
Here's a great recipe for the marinade/mojo (which tenderizes and adds great flavor)

Carne Asada Marinade or Mojo
1/4 c. key lime juice (the very small green limes)**this is key for the flavor
1/2 c. olive oil
2 T. white vinegar
4 garlic cloves - pressed or very finely diced
1/2-3/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 t. ground cumin
2 t. kosher salt (less if table salt)
Jalapeño or seranno chiles, minced (optional - to taste)
1/4 t. crushed red peppers (optional - to taste)
2 t. sugar (more or less to taste)

Using a fork, pierce meat, and place in non-metalic (reactive) container.
Cover with marinade/mojo, and turn.
Allow to marinate for at least 15-20 minutes, then turn and marinate on other side.
This may be refrigerated overnight, but bring to room temperature prior to grilling.

Heat grill, and cook for 2-5 minutes each side (depending on grill), so that meat is cooked, but still tender.
Place on a platter and cover with foil, and allow meat to rest so that the juices flow.
Note that the acids of the vinegar and the lime help 'cook' the meat during the marinade.  Also, pureed kiwi can be added to the mojo as it contains meat tenderizing enzymes.
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  1. Looks delicious, I'm going to try this on Saturday.

  2. Two Chicks Who Like To Cook, I'd love to hear how it turned out! Thanks for the visit and comment

  3. I have never made carne asada before, but I had some flap meat (never worked with that either) and thought I would try it. My kids kept asking me to grill hamburgers or hot dogs. They are 2 and 4 years old. They ate THREE tacos each! We are usually lucky if they eat one! My husband said this was in the top 5 recipes I've grilled. I did leave out the peppers since I didn't have any and wanted to go easy on the heat for my kids. This is going into our meal rotation. Thank you!!!

    1. Katie, thanks so much for your visit and comment! This is definitely in our top 5 favorites too :)