Think of this as the meat you put into your fajitas, although you can do other things with your preparation. Arracheras are nearly always made from skirt steak, and it is marinated up to three days before grilling, although 24 hours is fine, too.
I did make this preparation for the actual date of Cinco de Mayo, but didn’t have time to post back then, so here we have it, now. Rather than serving it as fajitas, I opted to pan fry up in a skillet with onions and bell peppers, omitting the fajita bread entirely.
According to the below-linked web site, “Arrachera beef is a savory Mexican specialty that may have originated with vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) driving their herds to south Texas in the 1930’s. Tex-Mex cooks eventually reinterpreted arrachera beef, or ‘arracheras’ as the beef fajitas found frequently on menus in U.S. restaurants.” Back in the day, skirt steak and a lot of the offal were what the Mexican hands were given to eat.
I didn’t have any skirt steak from my beef CSA share to hand, so I picked up a strip from my Whole Foods — a little fattier than I’d have preferred, but then again maybe this was why this was the last piece available. Do cut off any excess fat pads, although thin bits of fat are fine. Those vaqueros were dining on animals constantly on the roam!
Prep Time: 20 minutes for the hands on part; marinate at least 24 hours.
Cook time: Maybe 10 minutes.
Rest time: 5 minutes.
Serves 3. Yes, some came to lunch with me that week!
Arrachera Tex-Mex Beef with Peppers and Onion
For the meat and marinate:
* 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed of any large fat pads. Slice into three segments for ease of grilling or pan-frying.
* 2 medium garlic cloves, minced.
* 1/8 cup cheap tequila.
* 2 teaspoons avocado or olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* Ground sea salt and ground pepper to taste — say, about 1/4 teaspoon of the former, and 1/3rd teaspoon of the latter.
For the veggies:
* 1/4 to 1/2 yellow or white onion, sliced into thick slivers.
* 2 bell peppers of different colors, de-seeded and sliced into slivers.
* up to one optional jalapeno, de-seeded and minced.
* 1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced.
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.
* salt and pepper to taste.
Add all the marinate ingredients to the beef, and mix well. Store in the fridge for 1 or 2 days, turning to mix four or five times during the marination process.
Put the prepped veggie portion into a skillet, and start cooking that on your range or in your outdoor grill. Indirect or medium heat is best. Then, while that is going on:
Grill (regular grill or George Foreman), or pan fry the meat. Considering the crevices that the skirt steak has, the marinate will reach all portions of the steak. 3-6 minutes per side, depending on your grill’s heat, the thickness of your skirt steak, and the done-ness level you prefer. On an outdoor grill, sear for a minute or two over high heat, then move to indirect heat for the rest of the cooking. On the range, start with medium high heat, sear both sides, then reduce heat to medium.
Rest the meat for a minimum of five minutes; reduce the heat anywhere in their cooking process for the veggies if necessary, to keep them from becoming mushy (unless you like mushy, which some folk do).
Slice the steak thinly on a bias against the grain, toss into the skillet with the veggies, mix around just long enough for the components to mingle, and serve.
Options: Serve with salsa, such as my pear and mango salsa, and/or with guacamole, sour cream, actual fajita bread, slices of avocado, chunks of tomatillo…
If you’d rather not use tequila, use a Mexican beer. Or, try a mixture of Worcester sauce cut in half with water (in this latter case, omit any added salt to the marinate). The tastes will be different, but arracheras is not defined by this ingredient.