Carne Asada Clásica

Carne asada, a popular pastime in Mexico, originates from northwestern states such as Sonora and Nuevo Leon, home to a flourishing cattle industry and steady access to the freshest and finest meat in the country.

 Immigrants from Mexico began arriving in the United States in significant numbers in the early 1900s, bringing their passion for grilled carne asada. In the past, carnicerias, or butcher shops in the Mexican style, began popping up across the country, especially in the areas where many Mexican immigrants settled, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and the Bay Area. In the 1970s, we began to see thinly marinated skirt (or flap) steaks packed in butcher cases ready to be cooked at home. Since then, it’s been the most popular dinner to mark birthdays, milestones in life, or simply a weekend getaway for Mexican families from all generations and ages.

The umami flavor is balanced by Worcestershire’s intense notes and the dark Mexican beer; the dark Mexican asada by Bricia Lopez also benefits from an under-the-hood sweetness from the fresh juice of citrus. Flap steak, the most common cut used for asada, is coarse and lean and is ideal for marinating and grilling at high heat. The acidic and savory marinade helps tenderize the beef, while a quick slap on a grill set over the flame quickly burns the exterior, leaving an exquisitely pink center. Skirt steak, though chewier than flap steak, can be a viable substitute if you cannot locate flap steak.


  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) dark Mexican ale
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup plus one tablespoon grapeseed oil, divided
  • Six medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (about two tablespoons)
  • Two tablespoons plus 1/8 teaspoon acceptable sea salt, divided
  • One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • One teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Ten spring onions or 15 scallions divided
  • 2 pounds flap steak, patted dry (See Note)
  • One small white onion, thinly sliced (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • Two serrano chilies that are stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • warm tortillas and salsa to serve


  1. Mix Mexican ale with lime juice, orange juice, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, two tablespoons salt, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, oregano, black pepper, cumin, paprika, and cloves in a large mixing bowl until the spices are evenly mixed. Cut four spring onions or six scallions, then cut them in halves lengthwise. Utilizing the palm of your hands against a flat surface, gently break spring onions to ensure that a small amount of moisture is released. Mix the mashed spring onions, flap steak, white onion, chiles ale, and cilantro in a large plastic ziplock bag. Seal the bag, shake thoroughly to mix, and gently massage the marinade into the steak. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until 12 hours.
  2. Remove the steak from the marinade and dry it with paper towels. Throw away the marinade. Place the steak on a wire rack set on a baking sheet with a rim. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat the grill to extremely extreme (500degF or 550°F).
  3. Place the steak on lightly coated grates that have been lightly oiled. Grill with a lid, covered until lightly charred spots, and a thermometer inserted in the thickest section of steak registers 125degF to indicate medium-rare. 3 to 5 minutes per side or until you are satisfied with the doneness. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. While at it, trim the remaining six spring onions or eleven scallions. Toss the remaining one tablespoon of oil and 1/8 teaspoon of salt into a large bowl until thoroughly coated. Place the spring onions on oil-sprayed grates and grill with the lid closed, rotating frequently until tender and slightly charred, 4 to 6 minutes.
  5. Diagonally cut the steak and serve it with spring onions grilled in warm tortillas and salsa.

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