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Apr 28, 2012 11:59 AM

Please help I need advice about Steak Fajitas for a largish, pre- graduation, end of school year, party.

Hi all. Every year my hubby and I host a back yard barbecue for my sons college friends. It started out in freshman year with about 15 kids this year there will be 35. Normally we serve hamburgers and hot dogs with a number of sides. This year since they are seniors and it is the day after Cinco De Mayo we thought we might step it up and served grilled steak fajitas and a bunch of sides.

I've been reading a number of threads here about fajitas where you all recommend skirt steak. To be honest normally when we serve steak that is going to be sliced very thinly we use what's on sale, which is usually a top round ( labeled as London Broil) . Anyway, yesterday I was talking to the butcher about skirt steak ($8.49 lb), flank steak etc and he said to me for that many people he would just use top round ($2.99 lb) and slice it thin. So today I called Stop and Shop and spoke to the head butcher that said the skirt steak was good but he thinks it is too expensive for that many people and he would use sirloin tip ($6.99) left as a steak.

What would you do?

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  1. I'd say tomorrow night should be "Fajita Night" at your house. Grill a small amount of each steak and sample them. Pick your favorite and enjoy! Congratulations on the graduation.

    13 Replies
    1. re: critter101

      Good idea, but Hubby can't eat steak so I would be the only one sampling :( . To be honest my concern isn't so much about the flavor of the steak but if it will be tender enough. To my taste most beef steaks taste pretty much the same once marinated, grilled,sliced thinly and served with toppings. That is why we always used what was on sale. But then after reading discussions here I thought maybe I should go with skirt steak. So to hear two different butcher tell me that they wouldn't pay that much for that many people for fajitas surprised and confused me. Oh and thanks. It's pretty exciting.

      1. re: MsBees

        I've done fajitas with top round and they come out just fine. We usually marinate and then grill and slice it thin, as you said. Especially for a large group, I think the round will be fine. Also usually leaner and healthier:)

        1. re: sunflwrsdh

          sunflwrsdh Thank you. I've always thought it seemed fine. LOL...but I was thinking maybe I've just been doing it wrong all these years :)

          How much would you serve per person 1/3 or a half lb? I will also be making peppers and onions, and put some cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo out with the tortillas. On the side I'll be served a black bean salad, probably a green salad, maybe some corn on the cob . I'm wondering if I need a starch.

          1. re: MsBees

            With those sides and flour tortillas, skip the starch.

            1. re: Veggo

              Yay! You are all making this so easy for me. Thanks:)

            2. re: MsBees

              Corn is a starch. Grilled corn, then cut off the cobb would be a great add-in to the black bean salad.

              1. re: wyogal

                Yes, I thought of that but then wondered if they would feel like they had more choices if I left the corn as another side dish. And I just realized, I bet not all of them would eat the black bean salad. So having the corn on the cob is probably a must. Do you think I can have both corn on the cob and corn in the salad, or is that too much?

                1. re: MsBees

                  I'd probably do it separately then. Or have the corn grilled, cut off the cobb, and then served on the side. That way, people can add it to the salad or the fajita, and not worry about having two things to eat with their hands, the cobb and the fajita.
                  Charred corn and roasted green chilies, grilled onions, chopped, would make a nice side dish.

          2. re: MsBees

            Don't be swayed by what folks "think" should be best. You've done it before with a cheaper cut, it's been supported by butchers, so there you have it. Do it your way.

            1. re: wyogal

              Again, I have to say thank you. I am so glad I decided to ask all of you.

              I do plan to eventually try it with skirt steak. But not with 35 college students.

              1. re: MsBees

                Have you considered brisket? I have had brisket tacos at several places in Dallas that I wouldn't trade for any other meat. It's all in the cooking.

                1. re: Veggo

                  We've never done a brisket on the grill. And although that sounds interesting I don't want to experiment with the main course. was the brisket sliced or shredded?

                  1. re: MsBees

                    Sliced, but tender enough to break apart into convenient chunks. A little smokey, with some bark crisp. You may want to experiment with it another time, it works.

        2. Haven't done top round, but do you have a Costco near you? They have really good prices on flank steak, but I'm not sure of the current price per pound. Also, will everyone eat steak? Or will you do some chicken as well?

          3 Replies
          1. re: perk

            Unfortunately no we don't :(. I have to rely on supermarkets. Initially I thought we may do some chicken but my son said it wasn't necessary. I didn't believe him until I received all the meal responses to another graduation party we are organizing with 100 people. More than half of the responses were for steak. So I figure since we had typically served beef burgers and beef hotdogs at their past Bqs, just the steak would be fine. Also there are enough sides that someone could make a vegetarian fajitas.

            1. re: MsBees

              Got it. Thought by doing some chicken you might stretch the dollars....but sounds like you're going to have a lot of hungry beef eaters. I'm sure they'll be very appreciative!

              1. re: perk

                You would think that wouldn't you. But when I've tried doing something like that before they just ate more :)

          2. You could use sirloin tip. I like flank steak much better than I do strip steak. I've also used short ribs and loved that.

            I'm making fajitas tomorrow and here's the method I use:

            I keep fajitas simple and the method yields, what I consider, better flavors and an overall better experience (due to less work, less planning, and less time).

            I do not marinate the meat. I don't see a reason to. The meat will be thinly sliced so any additional flavors I'd like to be in the fajita I can simply add after the meat comes off the heat. So, here's what I do:

            1. Cook the meat (I do this just as I would a ribeye: seared and cooked under the broiler, seared and cooked on a charcoal grill, or seared and cooked directly on hot coals.

            2. Rest the meat while I cook the vegetables using whatever heat source I used to cook the meat: bell peppers of whatever color(s) you want, onion (white or even green - simply cut them into 3-inch lengths), and sliced or mined garlic (added at the end).

            3. Slice the meat thinly, against the grain, on the bias.

            4. Dress the tortilla with meat and vegetables, then squeeze on fresh lime juice and add chopped fresh ciliantro and possibly minced garlic if you'd like to skip cooking with with the other vegetables. Add anything else you might like: thinly sliced avocado, sliced or diced fresh pineapple (this is dang good), guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese, etc..

            5. Close tortilla and put in mouth.

            A few of the advantages of not marinating the meat is, mainly, the flavors of the lime juice and cilantro are fresher and pop more as well as it saves work and time.

            5 Replies
            1. re: 1POINT21GW

              Sounds delicious. I'm thinking since it is such a large group I'm going to stick with the top round and slice it thin. Although these kids appreciate food they are not going to know the difference between steaks.

              Your fajitas sound yummo.

              One thing I keep wondering about is keeping the steak warm. Slicing 15 to a7 lbs of meat takes some time. Do you think it is ok to just tent it with foil and serve it warm to room temperature? Or can anyone think of a method to keep that much meat warm?

              1. re: MsBees

                Do you have any disposable chafing kits? You can pick up disposable chafing dishes, the wire racks, and the canned fuel really cheap from a restaurant supply house or Costco.

                If you don't want to go that route and will only be holding the sliced meat for as long as it takes you to slice the remainder, I'd simply hold the sliced meat in a disposable chafing dish or foil pan sealed with foil in an oven set to "Warm", adding to it as you get each batch of beef sliced. If you plan on holding the meat for longer than 30 minutes, you may want to add a small amount of beef broth to the pan to prevent the meat from drying out.

                1. re: 1POINT21GW

                  1point......Thank you, thank you, thank you! Although I do have a few small chafing dishes they won't be large enough for all the steak. Now I guess I could rent 4, 1 for each banquet table and they could serve themselves the steak from the chafing dish at their table. But since those are raised up and they will all be sitting it might make it difficult for them to serve themselves. I think I'll just use one of those large disposable pans.

                  1. re: MsBees

                    You're welcome!

                    Please let me know how it goes!

              2. re: 1POINT21GW

                Slicing against the grain is key and will go a long way towards making the meat tender regardless of the cut you use.