Carne Asada (grilled or barbecued meat) is a very traditional dish in Monterrey, my native city. People eat carne asada every other day and, like the Irish Sunday Roast, it is a sort of given on the weekend. The climate in Monterrey is very dry and hot (up to 45 Celsius in the summer) and outdoor barbecues feature in every household. We use PROPER charcoal barbecues, none of that gas nonsense, so when I moved to Ireland, I insisted on getting a charcoal barbecue for the back garden.
My in laws are lovely really, John, my dad in law, spent hours building this BBQ thing and not once he complained about it (or at least not in front of me). Alan tried to convince me to get a gas BBQ but I dismissed him very quickly, charcoal had to be. When the thing was done, it looked good, the tray was a bit flimsy but usable. We had what I know now to be an unusual scorcher of a summer that year and we used the BBQ a few times... the next year it was back to typical Irish summer weather, so the few times we attempted to use the BBQ, by the time the charcoal was at the right temperature to be used, the sun was gone! It was a nightmare so eventually my lovely dad in law took the BBQ structure down. I think we used the red bricks in the garden somewhere, but a year later I gave in and we got a gas BBQ; this is my Carne Asada Tacos recipe for this or the next barbecue season. Enjoy!
Start by placing the steak on a shallow plate. Squeeze the juice of two limes over the meat; season with the garlic granules, onion salt and black pepper on both sides and let the meat rest in this little marinade for at least 10 minutes.
Heat the griddle pan on the hob till it's very hot. If you are using a BBQ get it ready while the meat marinades. Place the steak on the hot griddle pan and pour half the oil on the sides of the meat (skip the oil if you're cooking it in the BBQ). Cook the steak for about 7 minutes on one side at medium heat, before you turn it to finish cooking on the other for further 3 minutes. I like my beef well done, so adjust cooking time if you like it medium or medium rare. When the meat is ready, put it on a chopping board and let it rest for a few minutes covered.
Pour the remaining of the oil into the still hot griddle pan where you cooked the meat and add the sliced onions and the slices of jalapeno chili if you are using it. Stir occasionally to prevent them from sticking and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are soft and brown and fully coated with the juices of the meat. Once cooked, transfer them into a bowl, cover them with tinfoil and reserve them to garnish your tacos later. If you cooked your meat in the BBQ, use the oil to cook the onions in the griddle pan and pour any meat juices gathered on the chopping board where you're resting the meat. This will add flavour to the onions.
Cut the meat into strips and set aside making sure to keep it warm while you start heating your tortillas in a dry pan for about a minute on both sides, while you are at it, heat a few whole black beans as well to complement your tacos.
You are now ready to eat. I suggest you put all the components on the table and let the family make their own tacos; this is great fun for kids as they get involved in the making of their meal. Grab a warm corn tortilla, add some strips of beef, a few cooked onions and top it with a spoonful of salsa. I love adding a few whole black beans to complement the dish. Enjoy your tacos!