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’ll find no cast iron griddle with the sizzling bell peppers and
onions in this recipe. This was developed mainly by chain restaurants
and is in no way a part of true Tex-Mex fajitas. You can add them if
you wish. This recipe is authentic.
2 pounds beef skirt steak
1/2 onion, halved and sliced thin
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons powdered red chiles
3 pickled jalapenos, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons jalapeno pickling liquid *
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional - if grilling on cast iron
or under the broiler)
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (optional - if grilling on cast
iron or under the broiler)
- 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.
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.
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 pink. Remove the meat to a cutting board. Let sit 5 minutes
before slicing to rest.
Cut the meat into thin strips that can be easily rolled into
Serve with warm, soft flour tortillas and fresh pico de gallo or
NOTE: Only use the soy sauce and Liquid Smoke if you are cooking on the stovetop with cast iron or under the broiler. The soy sauce helps brown the steak, and the Liquid Smoke gives the fajitas that grilled