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Apr 19, 2008 09:25 AM

What is Carne Asada to you?

Many people consider carne asada to be different things in my experience. So what is it to you?

What cut of beef?
Marinated or non-marinaded? [what ingredients]
Dry rub or none? [ " ]
Thin or thick?

I think the best carne asada I have had comes from our local Carneceria in Fallbrook, Ca. It is a super thin cut of arranchera I believe, that is seasoned with and adovada chile paste. We take it home and throw it on the grill until it almost crisps up from its own fat. Between the adovada flavor and the superb thinness - its heaven tucked into a warm tortilla.

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  1. Literally it is 'grilled meat'; in the carneceria I expect a thin cut, unseasoned, or at least not an obvious marinade. The meat covered with chile paste is carne adobada (ie. in an adobe paste), which can be beef or pork. I usually buy the adoba, with a preference toward the pork.

    Occasionally I've also bought 'milanesa' which is also thin, but apparently intended for breading. Adoba tends to be the thinnest of the three.

    I suppose the terminology can vary with store and region, but those are the descriptions that have worked for me, both in Chicago and Seattle.


    1. Thin skirt steak marinated overnight in a bit of oil, lime juice, minced garlic, thinly sliced onion, touch of salt and pepper. No dry rub at all. Grilled to medium and served in corn tortillas. Hungry just thinking about it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: danhole

        ditto danhole, minus the onion. Stuffed in corn tortillas with cilantro, hot salsa and a splash more lime. Yum.

        1. Gringos beware!

          While in most of South America "asada" means "grilled", that's not always the case.
          In Venezuela an "asado" is a stew.

          Take a look at this Asado negro con puré de plátano:

          For mysterious reasons, the Wikipedia missed it:

          Etymologically ( "to cook by the direct action of fire or hot air" ) the correct translation seems to be "to grill".

          Most probably the Venezuelan aception is some kind of barbarism.

          1. I thought it was classically skirt steak that has been sliced in half horizontally to make very thin, and put directly unseasoned on hot coals.

            We norteamericanos tend to screw around with it. For me, I would probably do nothing more than a soak in fresh lime juice for a couple of hours, dry thoroughly, salt and then grill, adding pepper afterwards.