Tacos al carbon and carne asada. Not the same thing? The “al carbon” part of tacos al carbon is meat grilled over charcoal. Carne asada is typically grilled, but many times seared over a commercial flat top or in a cast iron pan. So can they technically be called “al carbon” or “asada” even if not grilled over charcoal? I believe that all recipes are just a guidline, a matter of interpretation. Of course, you want to prepare it as authentic as you can sometimes, but that is not always possible. Some of us grill over charcoal, gas or do all our cooking indooors on the stove or oven. Whatever method you feel comfortable with, that should never stop you from trying a recipe. There are always ways you can adapt it to fit your taste and circumstances. When I first moved to central New York, there were no fresh chile peppers sold in the local markets!! I know! Can you believe that? And for those few awful years, lol, I used to purchase roasted jalapeños from a jar to use in my cooking. Not the case these days. There are plenty of fresh ingredients available to me now, which makes cooking alot easier and more enjoyable. In today’s blog post I share with you one of my absolutely favorite ways to prepare and eat tacos. I still won’t label them as authentic, unless I was standing at el mercado in Monterrey, using all the wonderful ingredients right from the indoor/oudoor markets. But, they are a close second and partially inspired by the most delicious tacos , mulita-style, from La Taquiza in L.A. My sister Chris always takes me there when I visit home, so it holds a special place in my heart, and always will. Taco Tuesday, here I come!
Tacos Al Carbon
Freshly pressed corn tortillas for some of my favorite Mexican tacos!
This is my version of Mulita-Style Tacos, just like the ones they prepare at La Taquiza in L.A. Two fresh corn tortillas filled with cheese, carne asada and guacamole. Theirs come stacked like a quesadilla. The idea is to separate them and build two tacos. The tortillas are soft and thicker than store bought tortillas. Very filling! P.S….Yes, I forgot the guacamole!! Lol! Darn!
Tacos Al Carbon-Carne Asada
- 2 pounds flank steak sliced thin into 4 pieces
- Kosher salt
- Fresh Cracked pepper
- Molcajete chile garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 4-6 chile de arbol
- 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 6 cloves garlic sliced
- Juice of 1 1/2 limes
- 1/2 cup grapeseed olive or canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard optional
Directions For Sauce-Marinade
- To a skillet add the peppercorns, cumin seeds, oregano and chile de arbol. Heat to medium. After a few minutes the spices and chiles will become aromatic. Stir and cook for just another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from pan ad transfer to a spice grinder or the molcajete. Grind down to a coarse powder. Pour into a bowl.
- To the molcajete, add the salt and garlic. The salt will help break down the garlic and also season the sauce. Grind until you have a paste with some garlic bits. To the garlic, add the lime juice and mix. Pour this mixture into the bowl with spices, add oil and mustard. Whisk until smooth. I pour mine into a plastic squeeze bottle. This makes it easier to squirt onto meat while it grills. Taste for salt and set aside.
- When ready to grill, season room temperature steak lightly with salt and pepper. Prepare grill and heat to medium/high. Right before you grill, brush grates with oil, add steaks and grill for about 3-5 minutes per side. Add some of the chile garlic sauce as you grill and turn them. Remove from heat, add more sauce, cover and let rest for a few minutes. Slice thin or chop for tacos or tortas. Serve with extra sauce.
12 chile de arbol
2 large cloves garlic, leave skins on
2 large roma tomatoes, sliced in half
Juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
1/3 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Directions For Salsa
1. Line a comal or skillet with foil paper and heat medium. Add chile de arbol in skillet with tomatoes and garlic. Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the chile de arbol after 2 to 3 minutes or until they are aromatic and charred in some spots. Turn the tomatoes and garlic as needed. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
2. Remove skins from garlic and grind to a paste using the molcajete. Remove from molcajete and set aside. Tear the chile de arbol(without stems) into smaller pieces and add to the molcajete. Add 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. This will help grind the chiles down. Grind down as much as you can so there are no big pieces left.
3. Remove skins from tomatoes and add to molcajete with chiles. Grind down and combine until there are no more big pieces of tomato. Add garlic, lime juice. Stir to combine, taste for salt and add oregano. Serve out of the molcajete. if you do not have a molcajete, add all of the igredients to the mini chopper(after cooking) or blender and pulse until desired consistency.
Tips~ For tacos al carbon or carne asada, the thin cuts of beef are the best. They cook quickly and are flavorful. Ideal for tacos!
For Molcajete Chile Garlic Sauce/Marinade
Tips~ Two of the steaks chopped fine yields 15 to 18 tacos. I would suggest preparing the sauce/marinade a day ahead. The flavors intensify! Ground spices can be substituted in this recipe as well.
Chile de Arbol Salsa Molcajeteada
Tips~ This recipe only yields about 1 cup of salsa, so you may want to double up on the recipe.
Tips~ Not up for the molcajete challenge yet? Just add all of your roasted and toasted ingredients to the blender or mini chopper and pulse until desired consistency.
For Homemade Corn Tortillas Click Onto Picture To See Full Recipe Right On Site.
How to prepare the Tacos al Carbon (Mulita-Style) pictured in this post:
You will need some good melting cheese like Chihuahua, jack, or muenster, shredded. Also some fresh guacamole.
1. Once you have pressed you masa ball in the tortilla press, place it on a preheated comal/griddle. After 20 to 30 seconds the tortilla is ready to turn. Brush or spray the inside of raw tortilla with oil before turning.
2. Once you turn it add a full tablespoon of shredded cheese down one side. Add 2 full tablespoons of chopped carne asada and a tablespoon of guacamole, if using. Wait for 10 seconds. Take two spatulas, with one gently hold taco in place. With the second one, fold over the filled side to form your taco. Hold the spatula in place for a few seconds. Cook and turn taco just until browned in some spots. Place in covered baking dish to keep warm until you finish. If tortillas tear when you fold your taco, you need to cook it a little longer.
I rally like your recipes Is there a way to print frenly?
I am working on that Maria. Hoping to resolve it very soon. I will post it when it’s ready, thanks!
Are you supposed to marinade the steaks in something before you grill them?
No need to marinate the steaks before. Just salt and pepper. Once you baste them with the sauce while they grill, that will add alot of flavor. I keep the extra sauce and add a little more as soon as it comes of the grill and let it rest.
Looks great! Is it spicy? I love spicy but I have little ones. I want to make sure it’s not if I plan to give it to them for dinner
Hi Jenny, the salsa in the post is spicy for sure. For the sauce I used on the meat, you could just eliminate the chile de arbol if you like. Most of my recipes tend to have a bite.
Why do I need to line the iron skillet with foil? Can I just cook straight on the pan?
Because most times the ingredients will stick to the pan when they start to caramelize. They will still blacken and roast, but you will have less mess to clean up. It’s really up to you Christy. Thanks for the question.
Hi Sonia, do happen to know what the typical cheese used for making mulitas is? I keep reading on the Internet to use jack cheese, but I wonder what they use more in the small resteraunts. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Allyson, when I can find them, I prefer to use Oaxaca, Chihuahua or asadero cheese for mulitas. I only use Monterey Jack if nothing else is available. Another cheese that reminds me of Chihuahua cheese is muenster cheese. It’s a great melting cheese and I love the flavor.
So the meat is basically the same for both? Kept seeing reference to the al carbon but not the asada. Wanting recipe for the asada. Thanks. All looks yummy!
It’s the same. Al carbon is just another way to describe the carne asada that is cooked over charcoal.
Ok thanks for lessening the confusion lol.
Al carbon is just a term. It means over charcoal. The taste is great. If you visit Mexico, try tacos al carbon.
We love tacos al carbon. That was how my Dad referred to the carne asada when he grilled over charcoal. Thanks for the feedback. Someday I will return to Monterrey.
This all sounds amazing! Just reading the ingredients and techniques makes my mouth water. Sounds authentic to me I can’t wait to try these recipes! Thank you for sharing!
Thank You Christine!