Carne asada is featured early on in Roy Choi's new memoir and cookbook, L.A. Son. Choi noshed on these tacos growing up in Koreatown, and then later when he was riding in a lowrider crew. Given Choi's future success on the food truck circuit, this experience clearly had a lasting impression.
Choi makes his carne asada with skirt steak marinated in a pungent, garlicky sauce perked up with citrus juice, kiwi, mirin, and beer for the better part of two days. After that, it just needs a quick stint on a hot grill before being chopped and eaten with steaming hot tortillas.
Why I picked this recipe: I couldn't cook Choi cuisine without eating at least one taco.
What worked: This recipe couldn't be easier, and the complexity of the marinade really pays off in the final taco—you don't need more than a pinch of chopped onion and a handful of cilantro to finish the dish.
What didn't: Be sure to generously salt the marinade. Choi doesn't provide measurements, so I'd start with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and go from there.
Suggested tweaks: This recipe is only for the steak itself. To complete the dish, chop the rested steak into bite-sized pieces and serve on warmed tortillas with chopped onion, cilantro, and salsa (if desired). Leftovers (if you've got them) also make a killer steak salad. If you can't stomach grilling in cold weather, you can sear the steak inside on a griddle or cast-iron skillet; you'll need to cut the long steak into smaller pieces if you don't have a griddle.
Reprinted with permission from L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by Roy Choi with Tien Nguyen and Natasha Phan. Copyright 2013. Published by Anthony Bourdain/Ecco, an imprint of Harper Collins. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1/4 cup garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/4 onion, peeled
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1/4 cup ancho chile powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 jalapeño peppers
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
- 3/4 cup Budweiser or any other beer you got in the fridge
- Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
- Juice and grated zest of 2 limes
- 1/2 kiwi fruit, peeled
- 1/4 cup mirin
- Good pinch of kosher salt
- Good pinch of sugar
- 1 pound skirt steak
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a blender or food processor and purée.
Rub the marinade all over the steak and marinate the meat in the refrigerator, covered, for at least an hour and up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to grill, heat the grill to medium heat, brush with oil, and cook the steak for 10 minutes, until it’s nice and charred on the outside and medium on the inside.
Rest the meat for 5 to 10 minutes; then eat. Yum.