Carne Asada Marinade/Seasoning

Ok folks, I really need to find an excellent marinade or dry seasoning for carne asada.

Think Tire Shop or the likes LOL.

Seriously though, can anyone here assist?

:sos: @Dommy et al.

Thank you!!

Throw away any recipe that calls for Sazon. PLEASE.

Simple is better and not for too long. Lime or beer. Cilantro, thinly sliced onion, salt, pepper, olive oil (To help it stick). Mix well, get a lasagna pan and then place one piece of asada on it and drizzel with marinade. Stack and drizzle… stack and drizzle. Leave over night or just the morning of. Then grill with good wood based charcoal. We used to buy Royal Oak, but their stuff just isn’t the same… So now we use the Komando. You can get the Mesquite stuff that Tire Shop and others use at Vallarta… but while it works just fine on the large format grills they use, with smaller household grills… it’s just a sooty mess.

To be honest, we don’t eat a lot of beef… so when we do Asada, we do often buy already prepared from La Carneceria. Great guys, total pros even during the holidays…



Thank you so much!!

Years ago, a chef friend told me that the secret ingredient a lot of Mexican chefs use is soy sauce. Huh?

What makes the marinated asada reddish at so many of these carnicerias?

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No… not soy sauce… people add all sorts of things. But most Asada cuts are SO thin you don’t want anything messing with the sear or flavor of the beef. Personally, I don’t even like the Orange Juice in my asada marinade.

As for the reddish hue, it’s paprika or achiote. Which is pretty neutral in flavor so I never add it. You can see the ingredients here of most commercials shakes.


I do like a little salsa Magi but otherwise same as Dommy

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Yes, what Dommy said…

I think soy sauce is an ingredient more common to the areas around the California/Baja border where there have been Asian communities for a long time. Try grilling jalapeños and serranos and then marinate in a mix of soy and lime juice.

We used to go through about 300# of beef flap meat every week that we used in our carne asada tacos, burritos and fries. Because of time and storage constraints we had to do a quick marinade. I think we went at least and hour but up to 4 on the marinating part, but almost never overnight. A couple of our Mexican employees helped us come up with a marinade that worked and that our customers liked…

Oil, we used a canola/olive oil blend.
Orange juice, but not too much
Lime juice to cut the sweetness of the OJ
A whisper of granulated garlic
There may have been some onions, I don’t remember at this point

The ratio of OJ to lime was either 80 (OJ)/20 (lime) or 75/25. Lime juice will do to meat what it does to fish, hence our short marinating time. Beef flap meat is not inherently tough, our goal was mostly to soften it up a bit more and put some flavor on it to enhance the beef flavor so that it would come through when buried in a taco, burrito or carne asada fries (one of our best seller, by the way :wink:).

Basically, we let the salt do it’s work with a little help from the rest of the ingredients. Even tho’ our marinade is liquid we only used enough to coat the flap meat as we wanted to minimize drainage and the meat bleeding out. After grilling we ended up with a product with a rich beef flavor but not citrus zing. It took us a little trial and error to get the proprotions right. No matter what recipe you elect to try - and the one Dommy gave you is excellent - you may need to tweak a bit to suit your tastes. Good luck and happy grilling.


Great tips!
I have been using Fogo charcoal, Barbecues Galore carries it. You can also order it from SNS Grills, Free shipping if you spend over $50, so I stock up on it. I used to buy big bags of mesquite from Smart and Final, but it is messy to use, and there is a fair amount of waste.

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J. Kenji tried a lot of variations.

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Some recipes seem very close to Cuban mojo de ajo: sour orange juice (or a mix of orange and lime), olive oil, garlic, salt. I don’t think I’ve ever seen sour oranges in Mexico, but that’s probably because it’s regional.

I looked for sour oranges at 3 markets today but couldn’t find any.

I’ve seen them fresh only around December-February. Cubans use the bottled stuff.

La Lechonera Marinade Naranja Agria Sour Orange - 23 Fl. Oz. - Safeway.

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Yeah, I couldn’t find bottled stuff either. I was surprised.

Yeah, in Florida we saw them in winter citrus season.

Mexican markets usually have the bottled.

Instacart can be useful for figuring out who has what.

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I went to 3 Mexican markets in my area including a Vallarta (sold out). None of them had it. :cry:

The salsa fresca is ready.

Making the salsa de aguacate later.


Weird. I wonder if there’s a pandemic-related supply chain issue?

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Oh yeah.



I like the idea of a splash or two. Just like Worcestershire, it enhances beefiness, right ?:slight_smile: Thanks for the great tips!


Do NOT use the bottled stuff, it is vile and not anything like the real deal. Goya naranja agria should be easy to find, but to me it has a very chemical aftertaste. I have no problems finding it in San Diego. Here is a link to information about Seville oranges which are the most common of the sour orange varieties. As you’ll see, their season is from Winter to early spring.

The best substitute for real naranja agria is 2/3 fresh OJ to 1/3 fresh lime juice. You can also try a combination of pomelo juice and mandarin orange juice, altho’ I’m not sure either of those would be very easy to find either :grin: The Goya stuff is junk, use fresh OJ and lime juice instead and adjust to suit your needs and tastes, your carne asada will be better for it.


Goya might not be the best brand.

Bottled is a weird idea to me, but I’ve never noticed any odd taste in the finished product at restaurants that use it.