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How to Cook Arrachera Mexican Beef

author image Bryn Bellamy
Bryn Bellamy has written professionally since 1999 and specializes in food & drink, travel, outdoor recreation, nutrition and general features. She has a background in restaurant management and hotel catering, was a features editor for Gannett, and was nominated for a James Beard Award for Food & Drink design and editing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Southern California.
How to Cook Arrachera Mexican Beef
A sizzling platter of arracheras on a table with tortillas. Photo Credit: rez-art/iStock/Getty Images

Arrachera beef is a savory Mexican specialty that may have originated with vaqueros driving their herds to south Texas in the 1930s. Tex-mex cooks eventually reinterpreted arrachera beef, or "arracheras," as the beef fajitas frequently on menus in U.S. restaurants. Two things distinguish arrachera beef from other preparations: it must be made from skirt steak, a cut from the belly, and the meat must undergo a lengthy marination -- usually with a concoction that includes citrus juice, garlic, chiles and onions. They're best grilled over an open flame. Serve arrachera beef as you would fajitas, with tortillas and toppings of your choice.

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Step 1

Trim the fat from the skirt steak. If you're working with a large piece of skirt steak, you may wish to cut it into sections for easier grilling.

Step 2

Combine the citrus juice, garlic, onion, chiles, vegetable oil, salt, pepper and liquid smoke, if using. For a 1-lb. skirt steak, use 1 cup orange juice or ½ cup lime juice, 2 tbsp. minced garlic, ½ onion, 1 tbsp. liquid smoke and 1 chile -- or more, if you like it extra spicy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3

Place the skirt steak in the marinade and place in the refrigerator overnight, or up to three days.

Step 4

Bring the skirt steak to room temperature before grilling.

Step 5

Heat the grill to high heat, or preheat your oven broiler to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6

Cook the skirt steak 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until the meat is nicely browned. Arrachera beef is normally served with a little pink inside -- medium -- but you can adjust the cooking time up or down to your taste.

Step 7

Remove the meat to a cutting board, cover with foil and allow it to stand 5 minutes. Slice the steak across the grain into thin strips, or cut into ½-inch cubes; serve.

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