Ok, so let’s be real. Everybody loves fries. They’re literally the greatest way you can eat potatoes and they happen to come in an endless rainbow of options.
But we all know the clear winner of the perfect vessel for eating fries are carne asada fries. Obviously.
But there’s lot you might know about the bomb dish so we’re here to give you a little master class while sharing pictures of amazing carne asada fries that will have you out the door or on your Uber Eats app in no time.
First off, many people think carne asada fries are specifically from Southern California.
That’s not exactly true. Sure there are several restaurants in San Diego that claim to have invented the magical dish but Mexicans have been putting papas with grilled meats for a looooong time.
But that’s not exactly true. Case in point the taco arrachera:
You can find this classic taco combination all over Mexico, especially at farmer’s markets called tianguis.
These humble tacos are proof that meats and papas belong together and they’ve been together long before San Diego started claiming asada fries as their own.
Now that we’ve cleared that up let’s get to the actual asada fries.
Carne asada fries are a local specialty found on the menus of restaurants all across Southern California and now even in Arizona and other states wth large Latino communities. As I mentoned above, restaurants in San Diego claim to have created the dish so it’s especially popular there.
And since we’re keeping things real, carne asada fries (at least not Cali-style ones) aren’t exactly authentic Mexican food – so you won’t typically find them on menus at traditional Mexican restaurants.
The Cali-style asada fries that everyone loves is said to have originated at Lolita’s Taco Shop in San Diego.
Lolita’s Mexican Food in San Diego claims to have originated the dish in the late 1990s, inspired by a suggestion from their tortilla distributor.
And now you can find them all over Southern California.
The dish is also served at Petco Park and Dodger Stadium. By 2015, fast food chain Del Taco began to sell the item. It’s safe to say they’re pretty much every where and we couldn’t be more thankful.
But for those people who are totally clueless, what exactly are carne asada fries?
They’re some of the most tasty fries you’ll ever eat. Plain and simple.
First, they start off with a generous portion of amazing potatoes topped with perfectly grilled meats.
Typically, the fries are of the shoestring variety, but other cuts may be used, as well. The carne asada is usually finely chopped to avoid the need for a knife so you eat them as they’re supposed to be enjoyed – with greasy, dirty fingers.
In many places, especially in San Diego and LA, they’ll then get topped with a giant portion of beans and cheese.
The cheese is commonly cotija, although many placesuse a less-costly shredded cheese mix which melts with the other ingredients and keeps longer.
They’re then finished off with some sour cream and guac, thus creating an explosion of flavor.
Carne asada fries have a devout following on Twitter. Like some people just can’t help themselves.
I mean lay it all out there girl. Now’s not the time for vergüenza.
And for some, they rather have carne asada fries in their belly than intimate human contact.
I’m pretty sure we can all relate. Like I know I’ve been there.
Like you know a food is amazing when people take to Twitter to share their carne asada fries fan art.
This. is. everything.
And although the original carne asada fries are literally life, there’s nothing wrong with experimentation.
We all know about carne asada fries. However, for all of you sweet vegetarians, use Hot Cheetos to change things up. Instead of using meat, this snack add another layer to the very popular french fries dish. You really can’t go wrong with fried potatoes, cheese, sour cream and Hot Cheetos.
There are few hard and fast rules on how to make delicious carne asada. Over its long history as carnivorous Latinos’ favorite meaty treat, carne asada has been through many transformations. If you’re making carne asada for the first time there are three key things you must know.
Sure your papa or tío probably shared their wisdom with you but here is our some of ours.
First, the cut of beef (skirt or flank) must be marinated and seasoned by a pro. Second, the meat must be cooked on a grill or skillet that’s so hot it screams. And third, the meat must be properly rested and thinly sliced before serving.
With the ground rules out the way, here are 15 carne asada recipes guaranteed to get you drooling before you know it.
1) The Simple Carne Asada
There are many ways to make a carne asada marinade but many swear by simplicity. At it’s most basic, a simple carne asada marinade is made from oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and lime juice. Nothing more. Let the meat chill in the marinade for at least 4 hours and return to room temperature before you slap it on the grill.
2) The Classic Carne Asada
There’s simple and then there’s classic. This carne asada recipe from Isabel Eats follows the recipe the author remembers from her childhood. To the oil, lime, garlic, and seasoning in the simple marinade above, Isabel adds a good handful of chopped cilantro, a chopped jalapeno, white wine vinegar, chilli powder, dried oregano, and cumin.
3) Carne Asada with a Citrus Punch
This crowd-sourced recipe for carne asada takes the basic carne asada marinade above and adds a whole host of other flavors, including a major glug of citrus juice. Lime juice, lemon juice, and orange juice go into this marinade, along with chopped chipotle pepper, coriander seeds and cumin. This recipe recommends flank steak or skirt steak and suggests you regularly massage the meat while it’s marinating!
4) Port Wine and Ginger Carne Asada
Ever thought about adding a ¼ cup of honey, some grated ginger and a cup of port wine to your carne asada marinade? Well now’s the time to give it a try! This recipe for flank steak with a port wine marinade is essentially port wine carne asada. Searing the meat on a smoking hot outside grill cooks the wine off nicely, leaving a sticky, sweet coating behind.
5) Spicy Carne Asada with Fish Sauce
According to the author, this Mexico-inspired carne asada from A Spicy Perspective is a fast, healthy low-carb meal. This recipe is also packed with flavor and easy to prepare. For this marinade, you need to add ancho chilli powder and habanero chiles to the usual ingredients like garlic, cilantro, and lime. These two types of chilli give the recipe a kick. But it’s the addition of fish sauce that adds a vivid umami flavor to the meat that will have your guests coming back to the grill for second and third helpings.
6) Carne Asada Tacos
And now, a true Mexican rule to live by. If in doubt, put it in a taco. The Food Network recommends marinating your steak in a simple Mojo (marinade) that includes two tablespoons of white vinegar and a whole jalapeno for 8 hours. Any more and the meat begins to break down and loses its texture. Once cooked, pile the meat on top of warmed tortillas, sprinkle with lettuce, onion, and cheese and finish with Pico de Gallo salsa.
7) Roy Choi’s Carne Asada
Now we’re going to get a little fancy with this take on carne asada from LA chef and Kogi BBQ founder Roy Choi. A number of ingredients set this recipe apart. Take the classic carne asada recipe, lose the cumin and oregano and add mirin, beer, chopped tomato, and onion. Roy recommends a coal-fired grill to get a good crisp on the outer edges of the meat.
8) Carne Asada with Soy Sauce
This popular recipe from Chungah at Damn Delicious keeps things simple but adds one key ingredient – soy sauce. Seasoning is a very important and every good carne asada cook has a salt grinder on hand. But soy sauce adds a richer flavor that cannot be achieved through salt alone. Chungah quite rightly uses flank steak and cooks the meat for only six minutes to keep the dish nice and rare.
9) Vegan Jackfruit Carne Asada
For our vegan friends, this carne asada recipe replaces beef steak with jackfruit. Jackfruit is a tropical fruit native to South India that has a fibrous, meaty texture when cooked. Shredded jackfruit often pops up on vegan menus as an alternative to pulled pork but when doused in a spicy citrus marinade it can pass for a tasty vegan carne asada! This recipe recommends baking the jackfruit, rather than grilling it but throwing the marinated fruit on the grill should work just as well.
10) Carne Asada Salad
Carne asada goes beautifully with fresh salad vegetables. This salad recipe from Skinny Taste shows you how to incorporate juicy strip steak into a fresh summer salad. The carne asada is treated to a simple marinade and grilled in the usual way. Once rested and sliced, the meat is thrown onto a bed of salad leaves, covered with homemade Pico de Gallo and doused with the juice of an entire lime.
11) Carne Asada Fries
Everything in moderation. If you’re eating the salad, you can also eat the fries! To make carne asada fries, prepare a half portion of carne asada using the classic carne asada recipe above (number 2). Make a batch of fries; either from scratch using russet potatoes and a deep fryer or by short cut using oven fries. Sprinkle grated cheese and a teaspoon of paprika over the fries, pile on the carne asada and finish with a dollop of guacamole. Heaven.
12) Carne Asada Burrito Casserole
Trust Lifehacker to come up with a recipe you didn’t know you wanted. Essentially a layered casserole with carne asada and all the ingredients you’d need for a burrito cooked together in the oven, this carne asada burrito casserole is not elegant but it sure is tasty.
13) Carne Asada con Rajas
Food52 enjoys its carne asada con rajas, which means carne asada with sliced peppers. The most refined recipe on this list, carne asada con rajas requires a fairly complex marinade that includes brown sugar, cumin, and ancho chilli powder. Once the steak has been marinated, cooked and rested, you can start on the rajas. Saute poblano pepper and onions in olive oil, add minced garlic then finish with fresh oregano and a dollop of heavy cream.
14) Keto Carne Asada and Chimichurri
If you’re following a keto, low carb, paleo or dairy-free diet, this recipe is the one for you. This keto carne asada marinadefeatures healthy ingredients like avocado oil, cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper and the side of Chimichurri sauce is much lighter than the usual sides of rice and tortillas. Net carbs per serving: 0g!
15) The Ultimate Carne Asada
And to finish, the ultimate carne asada recipe from Serious Eats. This recipe combines everything we’ve learned from the recipes above and incorporates it into the ultimate carne asada experience. Three types of fresh chilli (ancho, guajillo, chipotle), a whole load of citrus, soy sauce and fish sauce go into this marinade. The result is a slab of grilled meat that’s buttery, salty, sweet and absolutely delicious.
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