Fire up the grill and make some Mexican arrachera! Skirt steak is marinated with lime, beer and spices for the most delicious tacos!
There are many non-beef options as well like carnitas tacos, shrimp tacos, and fried tacos dorados filled with potatoes.
You can find all these recipes and more in our Mexican Recipes tab!
What is arrachera?
Arrachera in English is skirt steak. It can be eaten whole like a steak, or chopped up to make arrachera tacos.
In my opinion, skirt steak is the best steak for tacos!
However, don’t get it confused with carne asada.
Carne asada simply means grilled meat, so it could be skirt steak tacos, or it could also be a completely different cut of beef.
How to cook arrachera
It’s usually grilled, although you can cook it on a griddle if necessary.
Skirt steak is very flavorful, but can be tough and chewy if not properly prepared.
Here are few tips to make sure yours turns out great.
Skirt steak can be a tough cut, which means it needs to be tenderized. This is achieved through the marinade and physical breaking down of the proteins.
When you purchase the skirt steak, ask the butcher to run it through the tenderizing machine.
You might be surprised to learn that a lot of grocery store chains have this option!
(They can also cut and grind meat for you as well.)
If that is not an option for you, tenderize at home with a mallet or needle blade tenderizer.
This will break down the proteins so the meat is softer.
After tenderizing you’ll need to marinate the meat.
This not only infuses the arrachera with flavor, but certain ingredients help to tenderize further.
Now this is where it gets personal and creative – everyone has their own way they like to season!
It can be as simple as lime and salt, or as many ingredients as you want.
The regions of Mexico differ widely, plus the adaptation of Mexican-Americans in the US has added new elements.
I took an unofficial survey of how different Mexicans season their arranchera and the results were extremely varied!
I’ve included a list of the most popular ingredients people used so you can experiment or substitute if you wish.
Skirt steak – the star of the show. If your steak comes in long pieces, you can cut them to a more manageable size.
Lime – enhances all other flavors and help to tenderize.
Beer – another tenderizer and great flavor.
Sazón – the final tenderizer which gives a pretty color and of course more flavor. Not authentic to Mexico but extremely popular in the US.
Garlic – I like to use both fresh and granulated.
Black pepper – freshly cracked if possible.
Italian dressing – not authentic but my uncle uses it in his famous arrachera steak and it is delicious!
Adobo seasoning – I use this a lot!
Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce – gives that umami flavor.
Juice of 1 orange – instead of using lime you can use orange. It gives a little sweetness as well.
Vinegar or lemon juice – these can also be used in place of the lime.
Chef Merito seasoning – this all-purpose seasoning is a one and done spice.
Lawry’s – another all-purpose seasoning that’s easily accessible.
White onion – this gives great flavor and the juice is a fantastic tenderizer.
Cilantro – if you enjoy that flavor infused in the meat.
Cumin – just a little gives it a smoky flavor.
Goya Mojo Criollo – this all-purpose bottled marinade contains citrus and spices.
How to cook arrachera
A charcoal grill is best for maximum flavor, but gas works too.
We just purchased this grill and we love it!
Only flip the meat one time. You want a nice char to develop.
Let the meat rest before serving or chopping for tacos.
This lets the juices settle and plump the meat instead of spilling out when cut.
What to serve with arrachera
If you’re serving it as a whole steak, you can’t go wrong with Mexican rice and refried beans.
Elote is an amazing side dish that can also be cooked on the grill.
We like to throw large Mexican green onions on there as well.
For tacos, I like to serve on corn tortillas with onion, cilantro, lime, and a variety of salsas and pico.
To drink: an ice cold Coke or cerveza!
And for dessert: fresas con crema (strawberries with sweet cream) are light and refreshing.
- 2 lbs skirt steak
- 2 packets Sazón (no salt)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated garlic
- 4 large limes
- 4 oz beer
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- Tenderize the steak by pounding with a meat mallet/blade, or ask your butcher to tenderize it for you.
- Season both sides of steak with sazón, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place in a ziplock bag and add the juice of the limes, beer and chopped garlic.
- Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat grill to high heat. Cook steak for about 3-4 minutes per side. The meat should have a nice char on the outside. We like our tacos medium-well done, between 150°F-160°F.
- Remove from grill and allow to rest before slicing or chopping for tacos.
- Serve with tortillas and desired toppings.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 taco
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 314mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 14g
Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.