Ray Garcia's Carne Asada Tacos

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Here, Chef Ray Garcia, chef and founder of Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria in Los Angeles, California, shares his recipe for tacos made with steak that is marinated overnight for maximum flavor. Piloncillo is a form of unrefined brown sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. It’s available in most Latin American markets, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute brown sugar instead.


  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) beer, preferably a white ale
  • 2 Tbs. piloncillo
  • 1 Tbs. dry mustard
  • 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) orange juice
  • 5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml) tamari
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 lb. (500 g) skirt or flank steak
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 serrano chiles, sliced into rings
  • 1 orange, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) slices
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) fresh cilantro leaves
  • Kosher salt

For the salsa:

  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, peeled and halved
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 12 árbol chiles
  • 1/2 cup (1 oz./30 g) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt

For the pico de gallo:

  • 2 cups (12 oz./375 g) cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced into rings
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt

For the guacamole:

  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) finely diced yellow onion
  • 3 serrano chiles, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and coarsely mashed
  • 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice


8 handmade or purchased corn tortillas

In a bowl, combine the beer, piloncillo and dry mustard. Stir until the piloncillo and mustard are dissolved. Add the orange juice, tamari and liquid smoke and stir to combine.

Put the steak, onion, chiles, orange slices and cilantro in a large sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade into the bag, seal and turn to coat the meat evenly. Transfer to the refrigerator and marinate, turning occasionally, for 8 to 12 hours.

To make the salsa, preheat a large cast-iron fry pan over high heat until very hot. In batches if necessary, add the plum tomatoes, onion, garlic and chiles to the pan. Sear without turning until the bottom of the vegetables are charred, then turn and continue cooking until charred all over and slightly softened. (Don’t turn the tomatoes before the bottoms are well charred or the skin will peel off and the tomatoes will split.) Remove the vegetables as they are thoroughly charred, about 4 minutes for the garlic and chiles, about 6 minutes for the tomatoes and onion.

Transfer all the charred vegetables to a blender and add the cilantro, water and lime juice. Blend until the mixture forms a coarse puree. Transfer to a bowl, season with salt and set aside.

To make the pico de gallo, in a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, chile and lime juice. Season with salt. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

To make the guacamole, put the onion, chile and a pinch of salt in a molcajete and mash them together until they form a coarse paste. (If you don’t have a molcajete, you can chop the onion, chile and salt together and mash them with the side of your knife until they form a coarse paste.) Add the avocado, cilantro and lime juice to the molcajete (or combine in a bowl with the onion mixture) and stir and mash to combine. Season with salt. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface, and set aside until ready to serve.

To finish the dish, preheat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and discard the marinade.

Season the steak lightly with salt. Add the steak to the grill pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the second side and cooked to your desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

While the steak rests, in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, heat the tortillas one at a time, turning once, until warmed through, about 20 seconds per side.  Wrap in foil or transfer to a tortilla warmer to keep warm.

Slice the steak across the grain into strips about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick.

To assemble the tacos, spread a thin layer of guacamole on each tortilla. Divide the steak among the tortillas and top each taco with some of the salsa and pico de gallo. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Recipe courtesy of Ray Garcia, chef/founder of Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria

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