Carne Asada Skirt Steak Tacos and Marinade

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Carne Asada Skirt Steak Tacos made with marinated skirt steak, then grilled hot and fast and sliced thin for the ultimate Taco Night meal.

Three Carne Asada Steak Tacos made with Skirt Steak on a black platter

A friend of mine recently showed me a recipe for Carne Asada she made for her husband’s birthday dinner. She expressed her disappointment because of the recipe and wondered why. She followed it to a T.

I read through the recipe and could immediately tell why. It was seriously lacking in flavor portions. There were several great sounding ingredients, but in poor proportions to the amount of meat it was suggesting.

So then I gave her a hard time. “Why didn’t you just use one of our recipes, silly?”

Aaaand then she called me out. “Well, it’s because you don’t have a ‘Carne Asada recipe on your site!”

And she was right. 

We didn’t have a specific “Carne Asada” recipe at the time, BUT we do have plenty of marinated steak recipes. And in reality that’s what Carne Asada is — marinated steak. 

What is Carne Asada?

Carne Asada is marinated steak (most commonly Skirt or Flank Steak), grilled hot and fast so as to get a nice char, and sliced for tacos or burritos. It’s rooted in Mexican cuisine.

Growing up in a Mexican-American household we ate a lot of marinated steak at home and also at restaurants, but I never really associated the meal with any specific recipe. Just really good, full flavored, grilled meat, that tasted good in tacos.

Demystifying Carne Asada

So instead of complicating anything here, we just wanted to demystify the idea of carne asada, or tacos de carne asada. We feel as if there is this perception that it is a secret meat that is hard to attain or cook. The reality is, carne asada is simply translated as grilled meat. That is it. Meat….grilled.

What I’ve discovered, however, is that this Mexican food favorite has close ties to one’s memory. There’s a strong nostalgia involved for those who seek to make it on their own. Those who crave it are yearning for something they remember from a favorite Mexican food restaurant.

For me, growing up in Phoenix, surrounded by amazing Mexican food (a-hem, hi mom!!) and a large Mexican-American family, it’s just a memory of great meals with family.

Going back to the recipe my friend showed me. What this recipe was lacking was a proper ratio of seasoning and flavors to the amount of meat. Many recipes we see will marinate the meat, then transfer it directly to the grill. What can happen, with the lack of flavors, is that the grilled meat won’t soak up enough flavor and the results will be bland.

Secrets to maximize flavor:

  • Marinate with a balance of umami, citrus, acid, oil.
  • Season it AFTER it has marinated. That way the flavor gets locked in and you won’t lose it in the grilling process. 

The Best Cut of Meat

Traditionally for carne asada the cut is often flank steak, hanger steak, or skirt steak. All are great choices because they take marinade well, cook fast and still have great flavor. Technically, you aren’t constrained to just those cuts, you can use any.

We like those specifically for the ease, and in this case we are using Snake River Farms Skirt Steak. (Flat Iron, Hanger, and Flank work great too).

An entire Skirt Steak before it's grilled.
Skirt steak comes in one long roll. You can also see it cut up in smaller pieces.

Skirt Steak comes from the underside or underbelly of the cow just behind the brisket. You’ll hear this area as the plate. Marinating them will help reduce any toughness in the meat, which can come across as chewy. You can see from the picture they can come in one long piece.


If you buy an entire skirt, then cut into three equal pieces. This makes it easier to grill versus a very long cut. Using a sharp boning knife, remove any larger fat pockets or silver skin.

Marinade for Carne Asada

Our marinade for skirt steak will feature acid, which will assist in helping tenderize the meat. There are tenderizer shakes you can use too, but I find apple cider vinegar, wine, or Worcestershire all do the trick well. In addition, skirt doesn’t take long for taking on the flavor. You can marinade for an hour and get nice flavor added to the meat (but we like to aim for 2 hours for full flavor).

We then add some citrus (a combination of fresh orange and lime juice), and some garlic and onion for added flavor (and also additional acid). You can also add jalapeño to add some spice, but the heat can vary from jalapeño to jalapeño. So for consistency we use red pepper flakes to insure the amount of heat we want to present to our guests.

Avoid using too much oil (if at all). Too much oil takes away flavor and also prevents the marinade from coming together. (Think oil and water) A little oil can help the ingredients emulsify or combine.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, stir, and then pour in a zip lock plastic baggie. Add the pieces of meat and then get as much air out as possible. Store in the refrigerator for up to two hours. Any longer and you can loose the flavor of the meat.


After two hours, remove the steak from the marinade, and then pat dry. Discard the marinade.

This is where that added kick of flavor comes in. Add the dry rub after it’s been soaking in the marinade. We are keeping it simple and using our Beef Rub, which is equal parts kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and granulated garlic. Alternatively you can use your favorite rub, the key is to season the steak before grilling.

How to Grill a Skirt Steak

We are going hot and fast on this one, or direct grilling.  

  • After you’ve applied the dry rub on both sides, place over direct heat. Target 450 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit over direct heat using lump charcoal.
Grilling Skirt Steak on a Grill over direct heat.
Direct grilling works best for a thin cut like skirt steak.
  • Grill each side for 3 – 4 minutes for a rare steak or 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Increase the cook time for each side if you like it grilled to a higher temperature.

Beef Temperature Ranges

Beef Temperature Ranges

Be sure to take into consideration the carry-over cooking that happens while the steak rests. For steaks remove them 5 degrees lower than your desired temperature. For roasts remove them 10 degrees lower. The steak’s internal temperature will rise as it rests.

Black and Blue100 – 120° Fahrenheit (F)37 – 48° Celsius (C)
Rare120 – 130° F48 – 54° C
Medium Rare130 – 140° F54 – 60° C
Medium140 – 150° F60 – 65° C
Medium Well (not recommended)150 – 160° F65 – 71° C
Well Done (not recommended)160 – 170° F71 – 76° C

Cook to whatever your desired temp. Be sure you have a great instant read thermometer like the Thermoworks MK4 Thermapen because even if we recommend time, it’s always best to pull the steak off when it reaches the correct finishing temperature. See our guide below.

Grilled Skirt Steak sliced against the grains.
Skirt steak cooks up quickly over direct heat.


You don’t really need to rest the steak if you are eating right away. However if you are prepping other taco ingredients, be sure to let the steak rest and slice just before eating.

Slice against the grain and then serve with your favorite taco or burrito. It is that easy and delicious. But we can’t stress enough that when you slice the skirt steak, you pay attention to the striations of muscle. Cut perpendicular to those for a juicy steak.

Taco Ingredients

Prior to grilling the meat, be sure all the taco ingredients are prepared. This allows the steak to be warm when eating. Here is a list of our favorite ingredients:

  • Corn tortillas – we warm them up on the grill or over a propane flame with tongs.
  • Avocado slices – it is simple but adds a creamy flavor
  • Cilantro – gives a little extra fresh herbal flavor
  • Grilled lime – we squeeze a grilled half of lime to boost flavor
  • Fresh tomatoes and onions – we dice up fresh tomatoes and white onion to add flavor
A Carne Asada skirt steak taco on a platter

So for your next taco Tuesday, grab your favorite cut of meat and get rolling on your restaurant worthy carne asada.


You can use this carne asada recipe for any number of dishes from burritos, bowls, or tacos. Just use the marinade and seasoning process and then skirt, flank, or hanger for your next carne asada inspiration.

Other Great Steak Marinades

Check out these recipes for some other variations on marinades. They all work great on these tacos.

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review or leave a comment below! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes.

This recipe was originally posted in October of 2018 and updated in October of 2021 to include new photos and details on the recipe steps.

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Grilled Carne Asada Skirt Steak Tacos
4.43 from 80 votes

Carne Asada Skirt Steak Tacos Recipe

Carne Asada made with marinated skirt steak, then grilled hot and fast and sliced thin for the ultimate Taco Night meal.
Prep: 2 hours
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


For the Marinade

  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 orange, juiced (approx ½ cup)
  • 1 lime, juiced (approx ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • zest of 1 lime

Dry Rub


  • Place all marinade ingredients in a large gallon sized bag. Mix together. 
    Add the steak to the marinade. Mix again. Seal tight, and place in a large bowl and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, we cap at 6 hours to maintain the beef flavor.
  • Heat grill nice and hot, and prepare for direct cooking. Target 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit over direct grilling.
  • Remove the steak from the bag and pat dry (don't worry about removing pieces of the onion or garlic). Discard any extra marinade. Liberally season your steak on both sides with your dry rub. 
  • Place on grill for direct cooking. Grill approximately 3-4 minutes per side (this will depend on size of your steak). It's always best to check your temperature with a digital thermometer. We like 125 for rare, and also 135 for medium rare. *see notes 
    Remove from heat. 
  • Slice against the grain, and serve as a filling for tacos or burritos. 



Exact cooking times will depend on the size of your steak. We always like to use a digital thermometer to ensure proper cooking doneness. 
The nice thing about skirt steak is you can section it up and cook to different temperatures for your guests. You can cook one to 125 for those who like it rare, or 135 for those who aim for more of a medium rare. 
Temperature Ranges:
  • Rare: 120-130 degrees F
  • Medium Rare: 130-140 degrees F
  • Medium: 140-150 degrees F
  • Medium Well: 150-160 degrees F
  • Well Done: 160 degrees F (and not recommended)
Taco Ingredient Ideas:
  • Corn tortillas – we warm them up on the grill or over a propane flame with tongs.
  • Avocado slices – it is simple but adds a creamy flavor
  • Cilantro – gives a little extra fresh herbal flavor
  • Grilled lime – we squeeze a grilled half of lime to boost flavor
  • Fresh tomatoes and onions – we dice up fresh tomatoes and white onion to add flavor


Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 331mg | Potassium: 685mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 204IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: grilling, Mexican, summer
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 266
Keyword: carne asada tacos, grilled skirt steak, marinated skirt steak, skirt steak marinade, steak tacos
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Lexi yes. Flank steak is a great option. Flank steak will take longer to cook, so adjust the time accordingly. We have a recipe as well for flank steak to gauge the timing too.

  1. Is it okay to leave this marinating overnight? Is there a maximum number of hours the meat can marinate?
    Love this recipe!

    1. Dana, while you can definitely marinate the meat overnight, for skirt steak we recommend 4 hours just to balance still getting a beefy flavor. But if easier to go overnight that is fine, the marinade flavor will just carry through more in the beef itself.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is fantastic. The marinade gives a great citrusy punch, but the flavor of the meat is not disguised. A winner!

    1. José we will work on getting more exact details, but our rough portions are 1/2 a red onion finely diced. 1 jalapeno with ribs and seeds removed, finely diced. Then two roma tomatoes, also finely diced. Hot house work too, but we like the dense tomatoes that won’t fall apart. Then we add a touch of salt and lime juice. Cilantro every now and then.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious and so easy! This was the perfect amount of spice for me and my husband. Will definitely make this again.

  4. Hello!

    I don’t have Worcestershire sauce, anything else I could use???? Soy sauce maybe? Or if not, maybe do without?

    1. Cassie absolutely you can substitute soy for the Worcestershire sauce. I would use about 2/3’rds the portions because soy is much saltier in flavor.

  5. 5 stars
    What a great website. My wife and I are foodies and love to cook. Grilling and smoking is my forte. Belong to the Weber Kettle Club forum and have mastered cooking on kettle grills. It goes to show you do not need expensive equipment to make tasty food. Love this recipe. Can’t wait to make it for the first Sunday of NFL football.