Authentic Tex-Mex Fajitas

Authentic Tex-Mex Fajitas

2 Pounds Beef Skirt Steak
1/2 Onion – halved, slice thin
2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 Teaspoons Powdered Red Chiles
3 Jalapenos – (pickled) chopped
2 Cloves Garlic – chopped
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Jalapeno Pickling Liquid – * see note
1 Tablespoon Corn Oil
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce – (optional)
1 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke – (optional)
This is the liquid used to pickle and flavor the jalapenos. It is basically
white vinegar with added spices, and there is always ample liquid in the jar
or can to use in this recipe, without leaving the remaining jalapenos dry.

  1. Place half of the onions in the bottom of a nonreactive dish. Mix the
    cumin, powdered red chiles, chopped jalapenos and garlic together in a small
    bowl, then rub on all sides of the meat. Put the skirt steak into the dish,
    on top of the onions. Pour the lime juice and the jalapeno liquid over all
    areas to coat. Sprinkle the remaining onions on top of the meat. Cover and
    refrigerate at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight, turning once.

  2. Preheat the grill or broiler until hot. Fajitas need to cook close to a
    very high heat source, in order to sear the outside but still leave the
    interior medium rare. Mix together the oil and, if you are using them, the
    soy sauce and liquid smoke. Brush or spoon the oil mixture onto the meat
    surfaces. Grill or broil about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until the
    outside is brown and slightly charred, and the inside is still slightly

  3. Remove the meat to a cutting board. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing. Cut
    the meat into thin strips that can be easily rolled into tortillas. Serve
    with warm, soft flour tortillas and fresh Pico de Gallo or Salsa Fresca.


Fajitas are pure Tex-Mex food. They originated along the Rio Grande River on
the Texas-Mexico border and were eaten by cattle wranglers. The skirt steak
is the traditional cut used and was reserved primarily for the chief cowboy.
Other cuts of beef can be substituted, such as flank steak or sirloin, but
the skirt is by far the most tender, flavorful and authentic.

You might be wondering where the cast-iron griddle with the sizzling bell
peppers and onions are in this recipe. While such a serving method may be
dramatic, it is an affectation developed mainly by chain restaurants and is
in no way a part of true Tex-Mex fajitas. You may go ahead and add it, but I
am still partial to the clean, simple taste of hot grilled meat topped
solely with fresh tomato salsa and blanketed in warm, soft tortillas. I do
make two minor additions in my recipe when oven-broiling: I add soy sauce to help the thinly cut steaks brown quicker, and I use bottled “liquid smoke”
to replicate the flavors created by the more desirable method of
charcoal-grilling. Otherwise, this recipe is as authentic as it gets.