Tacos de Carne Asada Sonora

From Marisssa Gencarelli of Yoli Tortillas @ www.eatyoli.com

Tacos de Carne Asada Sonora

Serves 8 – 10 tacos

In Sonora, we have the best of both worlds with abundant seafood from the gulf of California and a deep cattle ranching tradition. Seafood is mostly eaten in the morning and lunch, while steak is reserved for night meals with the exception of machaca and tacos de cabeza that are served in the morning only. There are several ways to grill the steak, but we do have some cardinal rules:

  1. Never ever marinate the steak. Salt and pepper – nothing else.

  2. Quality matters, but most taqueros do not stick to just 1 cut of meat. You could be going to a taquero using cabreria (ribeye, filet, etc) or another using sirloin, ribeye combos.

  3. Flour tortillas made Sonoran style (the fat to flour ratio is different than what you find in most grocery stores). Corn is available if you ask and we do use corn for special taco called Lorenza. Thus for the most part tacos are done with flour tortillas.

  4. Grilling – it is typically done over mesquite wood, though there are variations. One of my favorite spots is made over a flat top that is greased with tallow. They call this method “tacos cebosos” aka fatty tacos. Heart attack for sure, but incredibly delicious.

  5. Toppings are simple: red salsa, taquero green and fine cabbage. On the side you always have grilled and caramelized onions.

  6. Aperitivo. Every taco stand will have without a doubt a bowl with cucumbers, radishes and limes. These are free and you just “snack on them” while you wait for your tacos.


1 lb of a combination of steaks (Delmonico, Ribeye, Skirt)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Salsa Roja

1 lb of red tomatoes

1 garlic clove

3 chiltepines or chile piquin

1 tsp white vinegar

Pinch of oregano

Salsa Taco Stand

12 oz tomatillos about 8 (husked and cleaned)

5 serrano peppers

5 jalapenos

¼ white onion

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp white vinegar

½ cup of avocado oil or grapeseed

Salt to tast


Finely chopped white cabbage

Green onions for grilling





Flour tortillas


Red Salsa:

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the tomatoes and remove after 1 minute. Let them cool and peel. Cut in 4 sections and remove seeds. Place in a blender with garlic, vinegar and chiltepines. Blend until completely smooth and transfer to saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes and add pinch of oregano. Salt to taste.

Taco Stand:

Cut the tops of serranos and jalapenos and discard. Place the chiles along with tomatillos, onion and garlic in a pot with enough water to barely cover and bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until the tomatillo color becomes almost a khaki green about 15 minutes. Strain the extra water, place in the blender and pulse a couple times. Add the oil and vinegar. Blend until completely emulsified and smooth. Salt to taste and blend again.

30 minutes before, bring your steak to room temperature and salt and pepper generously 10 minutes before grilling.

Heat up the grill, if using wood follow your normal process until its ready. If using gas or a stove top you want your grill as hot as you can about 600. Grill for about 5 min per side depending on the cut and thickness. While I love my steak to the rare side, this is not the time to eat it like that… you want it medium to medium well. Remove and let it rest for 10 minutes, if you can’t wait, let it rest for at least 5 minutes.

Now we are ready to chop! You want to have bite pieces with steak…not tiny (if you ever get very tiny pieces at a taco place be very skeptical) though not so big its too hard to eat.

Heat up the flour tortillas and assemble the tacos in the following order: meat, cabbage, 1 tbsp red salsa and tsp drizzle of taco stand. Enjoy with limes and grilled onions on the side.