How to Cook Arrachera Mexican Beef

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.

A sizzling platter of arracheras on a table with tortillas. Credit: rez-art/iStock/Getty Images

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.

Things You'll Need

  • Skirt steak

  • Orange or lime juice

  • Garlic, minced

  • Onion, minced

  • Jalapeno or serrano chiles, seeded and minced

  • Vegetable oil

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Liquid smoke (optional)

  • Grill or oven broiler

Tips

Traditional accompaniments for arrachera beef in Mexico include pickled red onions, grilled yellow onions, chopped cilantro, avocado and red salsa.

You can substitute flank steak for skirt steak, which is often hard to find in American supermarkets, but the result won't be as tender. Pounding the flank steak with a meat mallet may help, as will a long marination time.

references
Load Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.