Arrachera is delicious to eat and easy to make. Arrachera is skirt steak that is pounded with the pointy side of a mallet until very thin. Let the butcher do this for you in a special tenderizing machine. The arrachera is marinated in beer, lime juice and Mexican spices, and then flash cooked on a very hot grill. Serve in warm corn tortillas with a side of Pico de Gallo and lime wedges. Delicious!
The beauty of this recipe is that a cheaper cut of meat can be transformed into a tender slice of steak quickly. No more long, slow braising to achieve a desired tenderness. Most grocery stores have a friendly butcher happy to run the meat through a commercial tenderizer machine for you.
Our butcher ran 3 pounds of skirt steak through the machine at least 4 times to break down all the fibers and really stretch out the meat. The marinade is comprised of lime juice and seasoning that also tenderizes the meat.
My husband came home from work one day and said he got a recipe from a guy he knows, and that I had to try it. He told me to marinate skirt steak in Modelo beer, lime juice and seasoned salt. No measurements or other instructions provided. So after some research and shopping at our local Mexican grocery store, this is the recipe I came up.
Some notes from making this:
- Definitely ask your butcher to tenderize the skirt steak for you if at all possible. You may also find pre-seasoned arrachera meat ready to grill at some meat counters. That would really make it very easy.
- If you can't find a butcher to tenderized skirt steak for you, then buy flank steak and make carne asada instead. It a better quality meat and will take longer on the grill since it is thicker.
- Adjust the cayenne pepper for your taste. This recipe uses a modest amount.
- Any cheap beer could be used in the marinade. Save the good stuff for drinking.
- We used a seasoning called El Matador Arrachera seasoning that we found at the Mexican grocery store. The ingredients include salt, sugar, paprika, garlic, oregano, cumin, and papain (an enzyme to tenderize). You could also use Lawry's or Adobo Seasoning salt. If so, you may have to use less because of the high salt content, and add a teaspoon of sugar.
Arrachera Tacos - Grilled Skirt Steak Mexican Sryle
- Cut the long skirt steak pieces into thirds to make it easier for handling on the grill.
- To make the marinade, whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl with a pouring lip. Layer the sliced onions, meat and marinade in 13 x 9 x 4 inch glass dish until the meat is fully submerged. Alternately, you can place all in a ziplock bag mush around to distribute evenly. Marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. .
- Prepare the grill on high. Place steak pieces directly over the flames and grill 3 minutes per side. The Arrachera should be caramelized and crusty on the edges but not overcooked. The meat is thin and will cook quickly.
- Grill the whole scallions along side the meat. Warm the tortillas on the grill after the meat is finished.
- Serve immediately with warm tortillas, grilled scallions, Pico de Gallo, lime wedges and avocado slices.