Mexicans love cookouts and barbecues as much as the rest of us, and a Mexican grill or asado is never complete without arrachera. Arrachera falls under a somewhat ambiguous umbrella of grilled meats, or carnes asadas. If you walk into a Mexican butcher shop and request it, the butcher will hand you a thin, highly marbled cut of steak from the cow's underbelly.
Some recipes claim arrachera is flank steak while others assert that it's skirt steak. However, flank is known as "falda" at a Mexican butcher, and arrachera is another labeled cut you'll find independent of flank steak. Therefore, it's safe to say that arrachera is skirt steak. The two cuts have similar marbling and thickness, and both cook quickly. But skirt steak is thinner, longer, and more flavorful thanks to a higher fat content.
Skirt steak supplies an intense beefy flavor, while the fat gives it a buttery richness. Mexicans typically marinade arrachera in a complex and vibrant blend of citrus, soy, chiles, garlic, and spices like cumin and oregano. When thrown on the grill, you get a smoky finish and a tender bite. The most important hack to ensure the juiciest piece of grilled arrachera is to cut it into strips against the grain of its fibers before serving.
What To Eat With Arrachera
As a common carne asada enjoyed at family barbecues, arrachera is often enjoyed fresh off the grill with a squeeze of lime juice and a few charred green onions or chives. It has many applications in more formal Mexican dishes, too. One of the most popular and well-known dishes featuring arrachera is an order of sizzling fajitas, a fan favorite at any Tex-Mex restaurant.
For more authentic Mexican dishes, arrachera makes a decadent filling for burritos, quesadillas, tortas, and tacos. It would also make for a delicious addition to a plate of loaded nachos. You can make it the star of the show by slicing it into thicker strips and serving it on a plate with a side of fresh tortillas. Its intense umami richness and smoky notes from the grill pair well with a mild white cheese like Oaxaca, savory black or charro beans, and a dipping or drizzling sauce like a diced jalapeño chimichurri or a sweet and spicy chipotle.
You can use a marinade or dry rub to season arrachera. Because skirt steak is thin and highly marbled, it runs the risk of drying out and toughening on the grill or flat top. Marinating it will tenderize and enhance its flavor, ensuring that you get a succulent bite of steak whether you're eating it with a fork or stuffed inside a burrito.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.