Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Oct

Carne Asada

Carne asada, which translates as “roast meat,” is a festive and flavorful dish of thinly sliced marinated beef. The key to making amazing carne asada is a marinade that strikes the right balance of spicy, sweet and savory flavors.

Any cook who loves carne asada is likely to have their own secret blend of herbs, spices and marinating liquid and we’re thrilled Darlene has shared hers for the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Contest. (Enter your own Primal recipes for a chance to win a Primal prize package and to be included in the reader-created Primal Blueprint Cookbook. View all the details and the current theme here.)

When the ingredients for this marinade are all chopped and mixed together, take a long, deep whiff. The aroma of the marinade hints at the flavor to come. Warm spices, refreshing lime, the sweet scent of oranges and the malty aroma of beer will have you salivating and counting the minutes until the meat goes on the grill. The marinade doesn’t just add flavor; the acidity in the citrus fruits and beer helps tenderize the meat, too. The alcohol will burn off as the steak cooks but the flavor of the beer will subtly enhance the carne asada. Choose a darker beer for a richer, more intense flavor.

Serve carne asada over shredded lettuce with slices of avocado or guacamole and a garnish of pico de gallo or salsa.

Darlene’s Mexican Carne Asada


  • 1 1/2 pounds (grass fed) flank steak
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2  limes, juiced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 8 to 12 ounces beer (or beef broth)


Slice the flank steak on the diagonal into thin strips.

Combine all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag or in a shallow dish (meat should be completely covered in liquid).

Marinate in the refrigerator at least 3 hours. Take out and drain off the marinade. Lightly salt the steak. The meat can be cooked in a skillet with coconut oil or grilled.

Cook 3-6 minutes on each side for medium-rare.

Pico de Gallo


  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • Juice from half a lime


Mix together ingredients. Add salt to taste.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. yes, please!

    marci wrote on October 3rd, 2009
    • oh I am so thrilled Mark that you picked one of my recipes! this is one we love! I am originally from Arizona and we love our carne asada there! thank you so much Mark! you made my day! xoxo Darlene (Primal Goddess)

      PrimalGoddess wrote on October 3rd, 2009
      • Whoo, AZ represent! You know we love that carne asada here. I grew up on it coming from a Mexican family. I’m so ready to make this myself for once! Mmmm! Mm!

        Klapto wrote on October 4th, 2009
  2. Darlene,

    Looks great! And especially the nice Belgian beer (Grimbergen) will make this really great, it always does. Also very nice in meat stews.

    Will defenitely try this one, thanks for sharing

    pieter d wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  3. Or just go to the local taco shop, order a carne asada burrito, eat the contents, and throw the tortilla away. My favorite primal fast food.

    Helps if you live in San Diego. 😛

    Rob M wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  4. Great recipe Darlene! I will be making this tomorrow, lol. :-)

    seporter003 wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  5. I know what i am eating tomorow night !

    Great recipe !


    David L. wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  6. One of my favorites, my wife’s family being of Mexican descent.

    One suggestion I’d make: grill the meat whole and slice it after cooking. Then cut a bunch of fresh limes in half and squeeze all over the freshly sliced meat.

    Richard Nikoley wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  7. I literally just got back from the butcher with some nice flank steak! Looks delicious. Thanks.

    Duncan wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  8. This one had my mouth watering! Can’t wait to try it!!!!

    Helen wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  9. This looks so delicious!

    eero wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  10. This sounds anad looks delicious, thanks for sharing

    sandra wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  11. sorry and looks delicious

    sandra wrote on October 3rd, 2009
  12. I have done it both ways where I sliced it first and then cooked it whole
    I always like slicing it first seems more of the marinade gets to all sides of the meat ..xoxo Darlene

    PrimalGoddess wrote on October 4th, 2009
  13. I think we need a Seattle Primal Group Carne Asada Meet Up.

    erstad17 wrote on October 4th, 2009
  14. Looks good. I’m kind of a carne asada fanatic and learned how to prepare it from my cousins Mexican wife. Traditionally you’d want to marinate the meat over night. It’s pretty hard to over marinate flank/skirt steak.

    One tip is to put the meat in the freezer for about an hour prior to slicing. Makes it much easier to make those thin slices prior to marination.

    one_eye_mike wrote on October 4th, 2009
  15. YUM! I LOVE carne asada! This is similar to my recipe but I never thought to add beer – interesting. I’m trying that next time with my bison flank steak.

    Thank you!

    Yummy wrote on October 7th, 2009
  16. Hmmmm Very MMMM. :)

    VPS wrote on October 10th, 2009
  17. Just wanted to say that I made this last night (with slight modifications) and it was delicious! Never thought that such an inexpensive cut of meat could be so tender, juicy and bursting with flavor. Thanks, Darlene and Mark!

    Maria wrote on October 13th, 2009
  18. If you wait to cut it until it’s already grilled, you’ll preserve more of the juice from the meat.

    Shannon wrote on January 15th, 2010
  19. I like grilling it whole first, then slicing. Keeps it from drying out.

    Roksngr wrote on January 20th, 2010
  20. I just made the carne asada, and it is soooooo good!!! definitely going to become a staple for cheap steak :) (I marinated the meat overnight).
    Now to make the pico de gallo!

    fishergirl wrote on May 18th, 2010
  21. I’m making this one tonight. I’ll leave the steaks whole until after grilling, though. That will result in juicy meat!

    Mommaofmany wrote on March 24th, 2011
  22. I love this recipe. I cook it for my family and even the pickiest eaters love the exotic taste!

    sean wrote on July 7th, 2011
  23. I also slice the meat first,it wont dry out if you cover the meat with marinade.this meal is to die for ;]

    bobby tucson wrote on October 8th, 2011
  24. This looks awesome! BTW someone stole your recipe and claimed it as “Darlene’s Carne Asada” shame, shame!

    Rochelle wrote on September 5th, 2012
  25. Grilled this last night. Let it marinate for 20 hours. I thought it was pretty bland and needed more citrus. It might have tasted better if we baked it so the juices and toppings stayed on.

    LBC wrote on January 6th, 2013

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!