Tender marinated steak, flash grilled over high heat and topped with salsa, guacamole, shredded cheddar, and a sweet and spicy sriracha sauce. These steak tacos can please a couple or please a crowd.
I have a confession. James was traveling last week, so I had the pleasure of eating these steak tacos for three days in a row. Yep, three days. Truth is, I could still eat them today and maybe tomorrow too. They are that good. I think the secret is in the marinade, but it could be in the sweet and spicy sriracha sauce, or the from scratch guacamole, or maybe it’s the homemade salsa.
They do take a bit of planning but there is a lot of flexibility in it too. The meat needs to marinate between 30 minutes and 8 hours. Skirt steak is the best cut for this recipe but most of the ones I find on are way too big to serve two people. To save time I cut the steak in half and make up enough marinade for both. One batch goes in the fridge and the other goes is a zip top bag and straight into the freezer.
The ease of making these steak tacos almost rivals the flavor, but not quite. Good news is, I’ll share all the secrets and with a little planning you can throw together a quick and easy weeknight dinner that will keep everyone coming back for more.
Let’s start with the meat. Skirt steak is the ideal cut for these tacos. It’s the thin, flat, long cut of meat that comes off the bottom of the rib portion. First thing to do is check for the membrane. Skirt steak has a thick silvery membrane that should be removed before marinating or cooking. Half of the ones I’ve bought have the membrane and half don’t. The easiest way to remove it is to use a table or butter knife. Slide it under the membrane, gently loosen and remove the membrane. If you can avoid cutting through it, once you loosen a section, you can grab it and pull it off.
Once the meat has been trimmed, it’s time to marinate. The marinade is designed around using 1/2 to 3/4 a pound of meat, which should serve 2 – 4 people. It’s easy to double or even triple the marinade depending on how many you want to feed. If the marinade covers the meat entirely, you are using enough.
Measure out the olive oil, juice the lime, add the red wine, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Mince the garlic, dust it with the salt, and then work it into a paste. As you continue to chop the garlic, the salt will act like a sandpaper and abrade the garlic into even smaller pieces. Use the flat side of the knife to scrape the garlic against the cutting board and then chop through it again. Repeat the process 4 or 5 times to achieve a paste-like consistency. The add it into the marinade mixture. Whisk everything together, add the meat, then wait.
If you only have 30 minutes, put the meat directly from the fridge into the marinade and leave it sitting out to allow it to come to room temperature. If you have more than 30 minutes, put it all in the fridge, but take it out at least 20 minutes before grilling to allow the meat to come up. If you are doing it in advance, you can take the whole thing and stick it in a zip top bag. The meat will marinade as it thaws out when you are ready to use it later. When the meat is ready to cook, pull it from the marinade and let it rest for a couple minutes to let the extra liquid seep off.
When grilling, the goal is hot and fast. Heat the grill on high and give it enough time to heat. If grilling is too adventurous this time of year, an indoor griddle or cast iron skillet on the stove top will work as well. With meat this thin, the idea is to char the exterior and add grill marks without overcooking the meat. It takes about 3 – 5 minutes total to achieve a medium to medium-rare finish. Yes, that’s 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side. Your meat thermometer should read 125 for medium rare and 135 for medium. It will take longer to heat the grill than cook the meat.
Look at those lovely grill marks. See those faint lines within the grill marks that run from the top right to the bottom left? Those indicate the grain of the meat. It’s fairly easy to identify in skirt steak, but it’s important to achieving perfect tender chunks of meat. You will want to cut perpendicular to those lines. If you forget what perpendicular means or even which year of school they teach that, think about the letter T. If the grain of meat is the bottom of the T and the knife blade as the top of the T. After you let the meat rest for 5 – 10 minutes, cut thin it in slices perpendicular, or against, the grain.
While the meat is resting, it’s time to make the toppings. How you choose to dress your steak tacos is up to you, but I highly recommend guacamole, salsa, and shredded cheddar, but the sweet and spicy sriracha sauce sends them over the top. You can easily pick up toppings ready-made at the grocery, but in very little time you can make them from scratch and the taste is so much better. Alternatively, saute some sliced onion and bell pepper and you have delicious steak fajitas.
When it comes to these steak tacos, the ease does rival the flavor, but once you’ve tasted them, the flavor wins hands down. From the soft flour tortilla shells (or corn if you prefer) to the sweet and spicy sauce, these steak tacos will keep you coming back for more. After eating them for 3 days, I’m tempted to make them again to feed a crowd this weekend. I’m sure it will be worth it.
What’s your favorite way to top a steak taco? have you ever made steak tacos at home? Let me know in the comments below!
Don’t forget to PIN, YUM or share this recipe for future reference!
- 1/2 - 3/4 pound of skirt steak
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 TBSP red wine can sub red wine vinegar
- 2 TBSP soy sauce
- 1 TBSP brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Check the steak for a thick silvery membrane, if it has one, remove it.
Combine together the olive oil, lime juice, red wine, soy sauce, and brown sugar.
Mince the garlic, dust with salt, and use the flat side of the knife to mash garlic. Repeat mincing and mashing 4 - 5 times until a paste like consistency is achieved.
Add the garlic paste to the marinade.
Submerge the refrigerated meat in the marinade, ensuring that it is fully covered.
Marinate out of the fridge for 30 minutes. Alternatively, refrigerate for up to 7 1/2 hours then allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Heat the grill on high.
Cook on each side for 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 minutes until a meat thermometer reaches 125 for medium rare or 135 for medium.
Let the meat rest for 5 - 10 minutes then slice against the grain.
Top the tacos with salsa, guacamole, shredded cheddar, and sweet and spicy sriracha sauce. (Recipes are linked in the post above.)