These Superb Beef Fajitas are sure to become a staple at your dinner table.
In case you’re wondering why I”m calling these Superb Beef Fajitas, it’s because, after a lot of trial and error, I finally figured out a way to turn an ordinary Beef Fajitas into a truly superb dish.
Now, before I give away my secrets, let me go ahead and tell you a bit about the history of this dish. Beef Fajitas are a traditional Tex-Mex dish invented by Mexican immigrants living in Texas, USA. When one explores the history of fajitas, several credible stories, going back as far as the 1930s, emerge. They originate from the ranch lands of South and West Texas. During cattle roundups, beef was butchered regularly to feed the hands. Throwaway items such as the hide, the head, the entrails, and meat trimmings such as skirt were given to the Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) as part of their pay. Hearty border dishes like barbacoa de cabeza (head barbecue), menudo (tripe stew), and fajitas/arracheras (grilled skirt steak) have their roots in this practice.
That brings up the great irony of fajita success: The more popular the dish became, the less likely it was to be made from skirt steak at all. By the mid-1980s, fajitas were a fairly common dish in Mexican restaurants and would ultimately become a popular Nineties fast-food item, thanks to Jack in the Box and Taco Bell. Increased demand often led Mexican restaurant operators to substitute other cuts of meat, and the addition of grilled items such as chicken, shrimp, and even vegetable “fajitas” blurred the lines even further.
Now I’ll tell how I turned a simple Beef Fajitas recipe into a truly superb dish. I began by making a marinade and adding some tequila to it. Why? Because tequila helps to tenderize the beef. Next, I added Worcestershire sauce since it goes great with beef marinades, then soy sauce which is also commonly used in beef marinades. Next, a touch of lime juice which is common in Mexican and Central American cooking and also helps to tenderize the beef. To complete the marinade I add some traditional Mexican spices and fresh herbs including scallions, cilantro, and garlic, then a bit of Jalapeño and bam, this amazing marinade was created.
Once the marinade was complete, I place the beef and marinade in a ziplock bag and refrigerated it overnight. This tenderizes the beef and gives some time for the beef to absorb the flavor of the spices. Marinating some cuts of beef is essential. The longer it marinates the more tender and flavorful the beef will taste. I recommend marinating the beef for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. I also recommend removing the beef from the refrigerator at least two hours before cooking to allow it to reach room temperature. Why? Because cold beef tends to release water when seared and when it’s cold, the beef cooks less evenly.
I also recommend grilling the beef outside. If that is not possible, use a large cast iron skillet. It really helps caramelize the beef and vegetables giving you almost the same flavor that you would get in better Tex-Mex restaurants. I recommend serving this Superb Beef Fajitas on a toasted warm soft tortilla with my Mexican salsas, and guacamole. You could also serve with rice and beans.
To toast the tortilla preheat a frying pan and toast it for a minute on each side. You could also wrap the tortillas in foil; place in the oven and heat to 300 degrees. I much prefer mine toasted in a skillet as they come out a little crispier.
I hope these Superb Beef Fajitas bring as much joy to your family as they do to mine. Enjoy!
- FOR THE MARINADE
- ¼ cup tequila
- ¼ lime juice
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
- 1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed then diced
- 4 scallions thinly sliced green and white parts
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup minced cilantro
- FOR THE FAJITAS
- 2 pounds beef loin flank steak
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 bell peppers red, orange, yellow or green cut into strips
- 1 large yellow sweet onion
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 flour tortillas
- In a bowl combine the ingredients for the marinade and mix well.
- Pour the marinade into a ziplock bag and add the steak ensuring the meat is fully covered. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
- Take the steak with marinade out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. (approximately 2 hours).
- Place a large frying pan next to your cast Iron skillet and warm the tortillas over a medium heat one or two at a time. If you need to heat the tortillas faster, you can wrap them in foil and place them in the oven at 200 degrees. Be sure not to completely seal the foil as the tortillas will release moisture and become soggy.
- Place a cast iron skillet on a medium-high fire and add 1 tbsp of oil. Place the steak in the skillet and sear for approximately 3 minutes per side. Remove the steak from the pan and let it rest in a cutting board tented with aluminum foil.
- While the steak rests, add a tablespoon of oil to the pan. When the oil is at temperature, add the onions and peppers and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Slice the steak against the grain into thin slices. Add the steak to the pan and mix with the onions and peppers. Turn the fire back on and cook for about a minute. Add cilantro and serve with warm tortillas, Mexican salsas, and guacamole.
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