How to make Flank Steak Fajitas Recipe? Flavorful and tender Flank Steak with sautéed onions and peppers in a soft tortilla with sour cream and guacamole on top.
So we’re going to take those leftovers (please stop laughing) and make some Flank Steak Fajitas!
Seriously, why waste the time and effort of marinating and cooking a steak when you can get two meals out of it?
How to make Flank Steak Fajitas Recipe?
SO WHAT ARE FAJITAS?
Have you ever been in a restaurant and heard a loud hot sizzle followed by a flash of hot steam and an incredible aroma of onions, peppers, and deep seasonings? My friends, those were fajitas.
Fajitas are grilled strips of chicken, steak, or shrimp seasoned with chili powder, cumin, and other spices and cooked over high heat.
They are served with onions and peppers, fresh tortillas, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.
WHAT’S THE BEST BEEF FOR FAJITAS?
Let’s be honest: 99.9% of restaurants do not use beef tenderloin for their fajitas, especially if you’re paying $12.99.
They’re either using a skirt steak or a flank steak. Both are much tougher cuts of meat, but they are also quite inexpensive.
You can make a great fajita if you marinate the steak for about 8 hours, cook it until it’s medium, and slice it against the grain.
I don’t usually go out of my way to make fajitas. What I do is buy a larger piece of flank steak than I know we will eat in one dinner and set some aside immediately after I cook it.
That way, I’ll have something to eat for dinner the next night.
WHERE DO STEAK FAJITAS COME FROM?
Fajitas with steak, chicken, or shrimp have to be one of my favorite Mexican foods and one of the most popular Mexican foods, so I was surprised to learn that fajitas aren’t even from Mexico!
Fajitas were invented in Texas in the 1930s by vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) who cooked skirt steak – then throwaway butcher meat – over an open fire.
Fajitas have their origins in Tex Mex – the word faja is Spanish for “strip” or “belt,” and “ita” means “little,” referring to the thin strips of meat.
WHAT TYPE OF MEAT SHOULD I FOR STEAK FAJITAS RECIPE?
Traditionally, steak fajitas are made with skirt or flank steak. With its wide, flat shape, rich buttery flavor, and melt-in-your-mouth texture, I prefer flank steak.
Flank steak is leaner than skirt steak, but because we use a marinade to enhance the flavor, it comes out wonderfully juicy and flavorful.
Is it okay to use skirt steak? If you must use skirt steak, cook it rare or medium rare for the most tender texture.
Skirt steak contains more tough muscles that become exponentially tougher the longer it is cooked.
STEAK FAJITA MARINADE
The marinade for the steak fajitas is made up of orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, and a splash of liquid smoke.
We add a tablespoon of spiced marinade to our rainbow of bell peppers and onion, along with a splash of olive oil (no boring veggies! ), and then we add the steak to the remaining marinade to soak up all of that tenderizing goodness.
The incredible steak fajita marinade turns this flank steak into a juicy, flavor bomb by doing three things: 1) tenderizing the flank steak, 2) infusing the steak with flavor, and 3) chemically changing the structure so it retains juices and actually becomes juicier.
I’ve outlined how the ingredients listed below do this expertly:
- Citrus juices, such as orange and lime juice, tenderize steak by breaking down tough connective tissue. They also infuse the meat with the bright floral tones found in steak fajitas, which complement the earthy seasonings.
- Soy sauce: enzymatically breaks down proteins to tenderize them further while also adding a rich depth of grounding flavor.
- Ground cumin, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, salt, onion powder, ground coriander, pepper, and cayenne pepper are among the seasonings. 3 tablespoons of this Spice Mix are added to our marinade, and the remaining amount is rubbed all over our steak before grilling. This allows the seasonings to penetrate both the inside and outside of the meat and is the key to the best steak fajitas ever.
- Oil is essential because it distributes oil-soluble flavors more evenly across the meat and promotes even browning when cooking.
STEAK FAJITA MARINADE INGREDIENTS:
- Extra virgin olive oil: For the best flavor, use high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Orange juice: Freshly squeezed is best, but bottled orange juice can be used if it is pure fleshly squeezed with no additives.
- Lime juice: You’ll need about one lime’s juice.
- Soy sauce: We use reduced sodium soy sauce to keep the salt under control.
- Brown sugar: balances the tangy orange and lime juice, as well as the umami of the soy.
- Liquid smoke: gives the chicken a wonderful smokey flavor, as if it had been grilled on an outdoor grill over a hot flame. It takes these Chicken Fajitas to new heights!
- Fajita seasonings: We make a pantry-friendly fajita seasoning blend with chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, dried oregano, and pepper.
DO I HAVE TO ADD LIQUID SMOKE?
It’s worth looking for liquid smoke (it really is liquid smoke!). It appears in a variety of my recipes, including Mexican Chicken, BBQ Brisket, and these Chicken Fajitas.
Capturing smoke as it rises through a combustion chamber filled with wood chips to a condenser produces liquid smoke.
The smoke cools and condenses in the condenser, forming a liquid and thus liquid smoke. (With thanks to Wikipedia.)
It’s a common ingredient that should be easy to find in your grocery store near the barbecue sauces.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN THE STEAK IS DONE?
Because flank steak is a lean cut of beef, it should not be cooked above medium or it will become tough and chewy instead of juicy.
I’d go for medium, which means it’ll be pink in the middle. That being said, the marinade allows for some leeway, but I wouldn’t go too far.
Insert an instant read thermometer into the center of the steak to check for doneness.
- 125 degrees F for rare steak
- 135 degrees Fahrenheit is considered medium rare.
- *RECOMMENDED* Medium: 145 degrees F
- 155 degrees F for medium well
- Well Done (not recommended)
- 165 degrees F is a good result (not recommended)
HOW DO I SLICE MY STEAK FAJITAS?
For the best juicy tenderness, slice your steak thinly across the grain. In my husband’s opinion, the thinner the slices, the better.
The “grain” can be seen running through the meat in one direction. The grain is made up of muscle fibers that run through the meat.
Cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers to make them as short as possible.
You can have a melt-in-your-mouth steak right off the grill, but if you cut it parallel to the grain, you’ll get long muscle fibers, which means chewy, rubbery tough meat. Hence, cut against the grain!
STEAK FAJITA VARIATIONS
- Bell peppers are versatile. You can use any combination of peppers you want. You can also add more peppers if you like.
- Add the beans. Before you pile on the steak and bell peppers, add warmed black beans or pinto beans to your tortillas.
- Veggies should be added. You can add more vegetables or swap out some of the bell peppers for vegetables such as corn, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and so on.
- Salsa de maiz. I’m crazy about sweet, smoky, crunchy, juicy corn salsa. I’ve already used it in my pork tacos and believe it should be on everything! Alternatively, serve it on the side with some chips.
- Serve with pineapple or pineapple salsa. Freshly chopped pineapple or grilled sweet and smoky pineapple salsa complement steak fajitas beautifully and add a delightfully juicy, sweet freshness.
- Serve with Mexican French Fries. As in California Burritos, add Mexican French fries to the bottom of your tortilla – because fries make everything better!
- Make it more interesting. The spice level as written should be sufficient for most people, but if you like things spicy, feel free to add more cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste to the assembled steak fajitas.
HOW TO REHEAT STEAK FAJITAS
- Transfer the steak and bell peppers to a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 60 seconds, then 20 seconds at a time as needed.
- Warm the steak in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until warmed through.
- Oven: Place the steak and bell peppers on a baking sheet and reheat for 10 minutes, or until warmed through.
CAN I FREEZE STEAK FAJITAS?
The best cuts for fajitas are rump, skirt, or flank steak! Skirt steak is my favorite (pictured). It’s more tender and flavorful than flank, and it can be cooked well done (for those who prefer it that way) without becoming tough and chewy. Flank steak is a leaner cut that should be cooked rare to medium.
Fajitas can be made with flank, but because it does not absorb marinades well, they will taste more like steak tacos than true fajitas. Because of the looseness, slices of skirt are more tender than slices of flank when cut across the grain.
Traditional fajitas are made with skirt steak, but they can also be made with flank steak (or even chicken). Both cuts of meat must be marinated in order to tenderize and flavor them. COOKING. After the meat has marinated, pat it dry and heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Flank steak is a lean cut of meat derived from a cow’s abdominal muscles. It’s fairly flat, with a distinct beefy flavor that pairs well with the citrus marinade. It’s incredibly juicy and tender when cooked correctly, and it doesn’t take long to make.
inspired by: https://carlsbadcravings.com/grilled-steak-fajitas-recipe/