How to Grill Carne Asada

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With a spicy marinade and a fresh cut of flank steak, this grilled carne asada offers a high-end alternative to burgers and hot dogs. The meat is hot and sizzling when you take it off the grill; when you slice it, the delicious juices seep out onto the plate. Let’s learn how to grill carne asada!

Grilled, sliced carne asada on wooden cutting board, tomatoes in the background.

What is Carne Asada?

What is carne asada, anyway? Carne asada is a piece of steak that you marinate, sear on the grill and slice thinly to bring out the juicy, smoky flavor. Carne asada is a Latin American word that translates to ‘grilled meat’ in English.

Step 1: Prep Carne Asada Ingredients

Carne asada prepped ingredients on wooden cutting board.

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Other:

  • 1 (2 to 3 lb.) flank steak, trimmed of excess fat
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve (optional)
  • Large zip-top bag

Step 2: Whisk the Marinade Together

Chopped cilantro and spices in a metal bowl on black dish towel.

Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Add to a large zip-top bag.

Carne asada marinade ingredients in metal bowl on black towel.
Carne asada marinade ingredients in metal bowl on black towel.
Carne asada marinade ingredients in metal bowl on black towel with a zip top bag.

Step 3: Marinate the Flank Steak

Raw flank steak in zip top bag.

Add the flank steak to the zip-top bag with the marinade and place it in the refrigerator to marinate for 4 hours.

Flank steak and marinade in zip top bag.

Step 4: Remove Steak & Place it on the Grill

Flank steak and marinade in zip top bag.

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Remove the steak from the marinade, letting most of the marinade drip off. Season with salt and pepper and place it onto the preheated grill.

Step 5: Grill the Flank Steak

Marinated flank steak on grill.

Cook for approximately 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until desired doneness (130°F-135°F for medium rare, around 140°-145°F for medium).

Step 6: Let Rest

Carne asada on cutting board.

Remove from grill to a cutting board, tent it with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Step 7: Slice & Serve the Grilled Carne Asada

Carne asada on cutting board.

Slice the steak against the grain and serve, topped with the fresh cilantro.

Carne asada on cutting board, sliced with knife, tomatoes in the background.
Carne asada on cutting board, sliced with knife, tomatoes and a pot of cilantro in the background.
Grilled, sliced carne asada on wooden cutting board.

Carne Asada Tips and Serving Suggestions

Learning this technique is just as important as learning how to slice it afterward. Most experts recommend slicing the meat at an angle instead of cutting it vertically. Slicing diagonally produces a larger cut of meat and makes for better presentation.

Serve it with a side of roasted vegetables and a cilantro garnish. You can also enhance other dishes like nachos by adding the sliced meat on top. Your guests will appreciate the juicy pink interior, whatever you decide to serve it with.

Once you’ve learned how to grill carne asada, you can start experimenting with different methods. One popular tip involves scoring the steak before you soak it in the marinade. This allows the marinade to settle into the meat and infuse it with delicious spices. It also helps to make the meat easier to chew by cutting into the tough fibers.

Carne asada is commonly marinated in an orange juice marinade, which helps to tenderize the meat. You should also think about how long you marinate your steak. In this recipe, we marinate it for four hours. You can let it marinate an hour or two shorter or longer, but the steak might become mushy if you let it soak any longer than that.

When you grill your meat outdoors, you can experiment with different wood chips. Cherry, hickory, apple and mesquite wood infuse your carne asada with different flavors, creating a unique dining experience every time. If you have a favorite wood that you use for burgers and brats, try using this wood when you grill carne asada.

What’s your favorite way to serve carne asada? Share your thoughts with us in the comments and please share the recipe.

Grilled, sliced carne asada and a tomato on wooden cutting board, burgers on the side.
Grilled, sliced carne asada on wooden cutting board.

How to Grill Carne Asada

Joss D
With a spicy marinade and a fresh cut of flank steak, this grilled carne asada offers a high-end alternative to burgers and hot dogs.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Marinating Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 27 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Latin American
Servings 6
Calories 333 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 flank steak (2 to 3 lb.) - trimmed of excess fat

Marinade Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro - chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • ¼ tsp. pepper

To Serve:

  • Fresh cilantro leaves - to garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Whisk together the marinade ingredients.
    Carne asada marinade ingredients in metal bowl on black towel.
  • Add to a large zip-top bag.
    Carne asada marinade ingredients in metal bowl on black towel with a zip top bag.
  • Add the flank steak to the zip-top bag with the marinade and place it in the refrigerator to marinate for 4 hours.
    Flank steak and marinade in zip top bag.
  • Preheat the grill to medium heat. Remove the steak from the marinade, letting most of the marinade drip off. Season with salt and pepper and place it onto the preheated grill.
    Flank steak and marinade in zip top bag.
  • Cook for approximately 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until desired doneness (130°F-135°F for medium-rare, around 140°-145°F for medium).
    Marinated flank steak on grill.
  • Remove from grill to a cutting board, tent it with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
    Carne asada on cutting board.
  • Slice the steak against the grain and serve, topped with the fresh cilantro.
    Carne asada on cutting board, sliced with knife, tomatoes in the background.

Equipment

Outdoor grill
Large zip-top bag
Tongs

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 34gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 374mgPotassium: 657mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1061IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.

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Looking to further enhance your grilling skills? Check out How to Grill Bacon

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