You’ll Think This Killer Fajita Meat is From A Restaurant!
I’m not kidding.
If you are a fajita fan then you will thank me for this.
Of all my recipes, this is one of my best ones.
Believe me, you’re gonna want to keep this.
Burn it on your brain.
It’s so simple, yet so fantastic, that you won’t even need a copy of the recipe.
You know those recipes you come across that become one of your “tried and true”, that you absolutely love?
This is one of those.
My husband and I were at Pappasito’s Cantina in Atlanta many years ago, and had ordered steak fajitas for two.
Their fajita meat was incredible.
The flavor was better than any I had ever had.
Over the years I had evolved my fajitas from sirloin steak to what I had eventually learned was supposed to be skirt steak, but still something was lacking.
I just didn’t have the seasonings right.
But Pappasito’s had it right.
Righter than right.
That One Dinner Changed Our Lives Forever
I boldly asked the server if she would tell us how they make their fajita meat, and just like that she went back to the kitchen to ask!
Who knew it’d be that simple, or that such greatness could possibly be revealed to a mere diner.
Surely it was a grand secret meant to stay within the walls of the cantina!
But minutes later the server returned and said two things: soy sauce and pineapple juice.
How much of each? How long does it marinade? Surely there must be more to this flavorful greatness!
Is it really that simple?!
Yup, it’s just equal parts of soy sauce and pineapple juice, and you marinade for 30 minutes.
Now We’re Cooking Killer Fajitas!
It’s off to the store to buy some skirt steak, soy sauce, and pineapple juice to make some Killer Fajitas.
We made many fajitas along the way and then something went awry.
I bought a package of skirt steak at a grocery store, marinated it, grilled it, and yet it was kind of tough and not right.
Hmm. I hadn’t done anything differently.
Why all of a sudden is it not right?
I bought another package of skirt steak at a different grocery store, marinated it, grilled it, and same thing.
Something’s not right.
It’s too chewy. Too tough. Why is the meat not working anymore?
Time to Talk to the Butcher
I’ve gotta figure out why the skirt steak isn’t tender anymore.
Lo and behold, I learn there is “Inside Skirt Steak,” and “Outside Skirt Steak,” and there is a difference.
If you want more tender, then you need to make sure you buy the “OUTSIDE SKIRT STEAK.”
Phew, I’m glad that got settled.
I bought the Outside Skirt Steak, crossed my fingers that the butcher was right, and took it home.
I marinated the steak in that magical marinade, grilled it, and YES we’ve got Killer Fajitas!
That’s the key!
So let me say it again for all you fajita dreamers….
Killer Fajitas require Outside Skirt Steak, and equal parts soy sauce and pineapple juice.
About That Steak
I had never heard of skirt steak prior to my love affair with Tex-Mex food.
I think I got the “skirt steak” clue from a cooking show one day when someone said skirt steak is key.
Well who am I to question the cooking masters?
Skirt steak is not like your NY strip or Ribeye.
And it’s not the same as Flank steak.
It’s going to look a little strange to you.
The package HAS to say Outside Skirt Steak or you’re not getting the right thing.
There’s a long complicated butcher explanation on what the “cut” of meat actually is, but reading it takes longer than the marinade process, and I don’t have time for that.
The cut of skirt steak is close to 2 feet long, and isn’t cheap either.
But it’s worth every penny.
If you find if for less than $10 a pound you’re doing good.
But because it’s so long you need to cut it into a couple of sections before marinating.
It will fit better in the ziploc bag and better on the grill.
There’s no need to trim any fat or anything off of it.
I promise you it’ll all work out in the grilling.
I usually buy a package that’s between 1 and 2 lbs., and for that amount I can marinate it with 1 cup soy sauce and 1 cup pineapple juice.
I’m not kidding that it only takes 30 minutes.
If you want to get all scientific, there’s something about the enzymes in pineapple juice that work some wondrous magic on the tough muscle strands found in your steak, but that’s another blog post.
Whoever discovered how wonderful pineapple juice is outside of a pinacolada and in a steak marinade deserves a medal.
Now for the Killer Fajitas Grilling Method
The key to grilling this killer fajita meat is high and fast.
Crank up your grill to 500 degrees. Even 550.
Put your steak on that screaming hot grill and don’t turn the dial down.
Close the lid, and cook 3 minutes.
Flip them over and do another 3 minutes.
If you happened to have an unusually thicker section of meat then maybe 4 minutes on one side.
But I’m not joking about high and fast.
You want it medium rare.
Take them off the grill to rest and get ready to cut.
Killer Fajitas: The Final Cut
I know sometimes seeing the “grain” of the meat is a little confusing.
The lines on the meat in the photo are running generally in the same direction as the grill-mark lines.
It is crucial that you cut the meat “against” the grain or “perpendicular” to the grain of the meat in order to have tender bites.
This is JUST as crucial as buying the right cut of meat.
Because the meat is so long and difficult to cut being that long, you need to cut the meat into manageable sections.
Look at the photo.
You will see the lines of the meat are running across the page from left to right.
So you are going to cut the meat from top to bottom so it is perpendicular to the lines.
Here you see the sections cut into meat for fajitas!
You could stop here if you are eating traditional fajitas with all the fixings in a tortilla.
But if you want fajita nachos like my husband always does, then go one step further.
And cut the meat into smaller bite size pieces suitable for nacho goodness.
It doesn’t matter how you decide to eat this Killer Fajita meat….it makes everything right with the world.
You will wonder where this marinade has been your whole life.
Feed your friends. Feed your family. Feed your Tex-Mex soul.
This Killer Fajita recipe is a “keeper!”