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Sep 20, 2011 03:46 AM

How to cook thinly sliced beef for carne asada?

I have some very thinly sliced top sirloin that I'd like to prepare for carne asada tacos.

Most of the carne asada recipes I see really concentrate on the marinade, and less so on the cooking technique. I'm sure that is because you could use so many different kinds and cuts of meat, from a rib-eye, sirloin, flat iron or skirt steak, and the cooking technique is going to be different.

I'm happy with my marinade, but not so much for the beef.

So given the meat that I have, what is the ideal way to cook it? I am trying to get some crusty edges without completely drying it out. Is that possible given the geometry of this meat?

What I have tried in the past is using cast iron preheated to smoking hot. This method does produce some crust, but what happens is that as soon as the meat hits the metal, it seems like every bit of liquid just explodes from the beef. And the meat has been marinating, so it is fairly wet. The meat tends to boil in a little pool of its own juices, and doesn't brown until that cooks away, and by that time the meat is dry.

To get around that, I thought my propane grill might let the liquid drip through the grates. Indeed this seemed to work a little bit better, but I think there might be room for improvement.

I even thought about going the opposite direction, using lower heat and some butter like a Ducasse steak preparation, but I haven't tried that yet.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. You must dry the meat as thoroughly as possible before cooking, and lightly coat with oil. Also, do you have any Mexican markets around you? If so, check out FLAP steak (flap is the new flank). Lastly, you might not believe this, but you can achieve better and more delicious results using certain brands of Mexican powdered carne asada seasoning.