Ponzu-Marinated Carne Asada Tacos

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: Ponzu can be found in most Asian grocers or ordered online.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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Ponzu-Marinated Carne Asada Tacos

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:1 to 4 1/2 hours
Special equipment:Grill
This recipe appears in: Pantry Essentials: All About Ponzu Sauce


  • 1/4 cup ponzu (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane
  • 1 fresh Thai bird chile, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak or flank steak
  • 16 warm corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup cabbage kimchi, chopped coarsely
  • 1 lime cut into 8 wedges


  1. 1

    Combine ponzu, sugar, vinegar, garlic, chilies, and olive oil in a medium bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Reserve 2 tablespoons marinade and set aside. Place steak inside a zipper-lock bag and add marinade. Seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

  2. 2

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

  3. 3

    Remove the meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towels or clean kitchen towels. Add steaks to hot side of grill and cook without moving until well browned on first side, about 2 minutes. Flip steaks using tongs and cook until second side is browned and steak registers 125°F on an instant read thermometer, about 2 minutes longer. If steak starts to burn before internal temperature is achieved, transfer to cooler side of grill and continue cooking. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

  4. 4

    Chop meat into 1/2 to 1/4-inch pieces and transfer to medium bowl along with any juices. Add reserved marinade and toss to coat. Serve with tortillas, cilantro, onion, kimchi, and lime.

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