Carne asada is a simple dish, but a well-balanced marinade and the right cut can make it memorable. Silvana Salcido Esparza, chef of the popular Barrio Café in Phoenix and Barrio Queen in Scottsdale, Arizona, recommends using skirt steak, which can be easier to find at a non-Mexican market. It grills up tender, juicy, and very flavorful. The marinade for asada is traditionally made with Seville (sour) oranges, but since they're hard to find out of season, even in Mexican markets, we've used a combination of orange and lime juices instead.
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (save 2 of the juiced halves)
1/2 cup Mexican lager beer such as Modelo Especial
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, crumbled
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 dried bay leaves
1 sprig (6 in.) fresh rosemary
1 large red onion, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
2 pounds skirt steak
Warm corn tortillas*
Hot sauce, such as Tapatio brand, or salsa
How to Make It
Combine orange juice, beer, oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, bay leaves, and rosemary in a glass 9- by 13-in. baking dish. Add orange halves, onion, and steak and mix with your hands to coat evenly. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, or chill, covered, 2 hours (no longer, or the citrus will "cook" the meat), turning meat occasionally.
Heat a grill to very high (550° to 650°). Discard rosemary, bay leaves, and orange halves. Drain meat and onions. Put onions on a doubled sheet of foil and turn up edges just a little to make a shallow 6- by 9-in. container.
Grill onions on the foil, stirring occasionally with tongs, until edges start to char, 8 to 10 minutes. Add steak to grill and cook, turning once, until well browned and done the way you like, 8 minutes for medium-rare.
Transfer steak and onions to a board; slice steak. Serve with tortillas, guacamole, and hot sauce.
*Warm directly on the grill just until hot, turning once; stack and wrap in a towel.
Barrio Café, Phoenix, and Barrio Queen, Scottsdale, Arizona