There are so many articles about the best fajitas and the best marinades, it’s not even funny. And some of them are very good! Yet, every passionate cook insists on developing their own, perfect to their taste recipe. Where all these marinade variations come from? What was at the beginning? Now that we know about basic adobo, let’s compare ingredients, shall we?
dry chile peppers
citrus juice or vinegar
lime juice or vinegar
salt or soy sauce
There is an additional ingredient — oil — in fajita marinade. Almost the same ingredients, but different proportions result in different marinade consistency. Adobo is a paste, south-western fajita marinade is an liquid emulsion.
Story of My Life
For a long time, I didn’t bother to work on my own recipe for fajita marinade. Central Market had the best tasting Southwest Marinated Fajita meat, and I cooked it for all my friends visiting Texas. It was always perfect. Two years ago, I noticed CM fajita meat doesn’t taste the same. During the last two years it changed even more. Finally, I decided to talk to CM meat mongers and ask them directly. It was not my imagination, the recipe did change a number of times, because of customers who were worried about allergens — gluten, soy, etc.
The new recipe is completely safe, but unfortunately I don’t like it any more. Is it possible to make it tasting good and allergy-safe at the same time? What if we go back to the roots and base it on adobo?
Skirt, Flap, Flank, and Flat Iron Went to a Party…
Doesn’t it sound like roaring 20s? Good names for four notorious girls who smoked, drank, and “danced in a shockingly immodest fashion with a revolving cast of male suitors” are also names of beef flat steaks for fajitas.
From the top to the bottom: Skirt, Sirloin Flap, Flat Iron.
Marinate meat in a ziplock, refrigerated for 3-6 hours for best results. Scrape extra paste from the surface of the meat before cooking on a very hot grill. Flat steaks are the best (to my taste) when cooked to 127-135F inner temp.
My favorite way of serving fajita meat is with blue corn tortillas, cucumber guacamole (the same recipe minus seafood), strawberry pico de gallo (part of tomatoes replaced with strawberries, a killer!), classic seared onions and peppers.