Ultimate Beef Fajitas
Let’s make the ultimate beef fajitas, but first, let’s talk about passionate love affairs. I am currently involved in several love affairs of the passionate variety. First, there is my deep, unending love for peanut butter and jelly. This started when I was a child and has continued on into adulthood. Like a fine wine, our relationship only gets better with age. Unlike most relationships that carry-on into adulthood, it has not matured much. I am still all in for a PB&J cut into a fun shape.
Then, there is my equally passionate but decidedly different relationship with chocolate. NOT white chocolate (the bane of my existence). I’m talking about real, bonafide, made with cocoa chocolate. This is a relationship that also started when I was young, but it definitely has matured as I
matured was dragged into adulthood. I have moved on from eating spoonfuls of canned frosting to enjoying a fine piece of dark chocolate. For the most part.
And finally, I have a passionate love affair with Mexican and Tex-Mex food. I honestly didn’t realize how deeply I loved Tex-Mex until I went to college in Memphis. Then, I literally could not find a decent Tex-Mex meal to save my life. It’s true what they say: you don’t know a good meal until you can’t get one (that’s how the saying goes, right?). Honestly, we are so spoiled here in Texas. You can just about go a mile in any direction and run into an amazing taco place. Talk about the closest thing to heaven.
So, when it comes to making Tex-Mex dishes at home, my standards are pretty high. I mean, for minimal effort (albeit maximum cost) we just drive down the street and enjoy a delicious dinner in about 15 minutes. So if I’m going to put forth the effort it takes to whip up a Tex-Mex meal and create a mountain of dishes for my hubby to wash later, I want it to be as good as or (preferably) better than what I can get in a restaurant. Before you get too nervous, these beef fajitas do NOT make a mountain of dishes. Just a little molehill.
This recipe makes the ultimate beef fajitas – they will be the best, most tender, yummiest fajitas you have ever had. They are better than the beef fajitas at our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. And they cost about half the price to cook them at home. Plus, minus the marinade time, you can have dinner ready and on the table in about 30 minutes. With the weather getting oh so nice for patio suppers, this is the perfect meal for porch-sittin’ and cold drink sippin’. And, there’s something a little fancy but also a little down-homey about beef fajitas that makes them one of the best dinners for guests.
Now, my only beef (yeah. that just happened!) with fajitas is that sometimes the meat can be really tough – like chewing a piece of jerky tough. You’re all primed and ready to enjoy an amazing fajita with some friends, then you find yourself on the wrong end of a piece of leather and you end up looking like your dog trying to chew off a bit of the rawhide bone that you gave him as a treat. And that is why I have usually avoided fajitas at restaurants in the past. Instead I go straight for the chicken flautas (my all-time favs).
But don’t worry – I have the solution and that is why I have named these the ultimate beef fajitas! It’s a little crazy, but stick with me: fresh pineapple stem. The bromeliad in pineapple is an amazing meat tenderizer. In fact, dried bromeliad from pineapples is what is in a lot of meat tenderizing spices. I have no clue how it all works because science – but, I know that it does work. It is such a powerful tenderizer that you cannot marinate the meat for these fajitas for more than 5 hours. Any longer than that and you will end up with meat that has totally broken down altogether. HOWEVER, if you use canned or bottled pineapple juice, have no fear, you can marinate overnight if you want, just know that your meat will not get nearly as tender (or even really tender at all).
Another solution to the rawhide debacle is changing the cut of meat you use. This recipe calls for a cut of meat called “flap iron steak” instead of skirt steak. This is not the typical cut for beef fajitas, most fajitas are made from skirt steak, but we found ours no problem at Costco. You can always ask the butcher at your local grocery store for the flap iron steak cut if you can’t find it on the shelves. This cut has less cartilage than a skirt steak and is therefore much more tender.
Use these two tricks and you will be well on your way to enjoying these ultimate beef fajitas and to being crowned the Fajita Queen (or Fajita King, or Tiger King) by all your friends and family – and who could ask for a better title than that?!
The rest of the recipe is fairly straight forward: grill the meat for about 4 to 5 minutes per side and then let it rest for 10 minutes. Toss the veggies with EVOO and grill them up too (or cook them in a skillet over your cooktop if you don’t have a nifty veggie grill pan like this one). Crumble up some cojita, slice an avocado, and warm-up some tortillas and BOOM: the ultimate beef fajita dinner is served.
Ultimate Beef Fajitas
- 1 fresh pineapple
- 1 c soy sauce
- 2/3 c water
- 2 12 oz. loin flap steak you can use skirt steak, but loin flap steak will be more tender
- 1 T cumin
- 2 t chili powder
- 2 t zested lime peel
- 3 garlic cloves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 T EVOO
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 purple onion
- 1 to 2 jalapenos
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lime juiced
- 1 T EVOO
- flour or corn tortillas warmed
- shredded cheese we love cheddar with our fajitas!
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- limes quartered
To Marinate the Beef
- Slice the pineapple in half lengthwise and cut out the core. Place the core in a blender and add about half of the remaining pineapple flesh. Blend until smooth. Add enough remaining pineapple flesh to reach about 2 1/2 cups of "juice".
- In a large ziploc bag (or 2, as needed) combine the pineapple juice, soy sauce, and water. Add the loin flap steak and move marinade around to cover steak. Lay on a plate or pan and place in the fridge to marinate for no more than 4 hours.
- At the end of the four hours remove the steak and discard the marinade.NOTE: While the steak is marinating this is a great time to prep your veggies. Remove the seeds and white membrane from the peppers and slice the peppers and onion into thin strips. Set aside in the fridge until you are ready for them.
To Cook the Beef and Veggies
- Just prior to removing the steak from the marinade, preheat your grill to medium high heat. Set out a tray for the raw beef to go on and one for the beef and veggies once they have been cooked. If you have a veggie grill tray, spray it lightly with EVOO cooking spray and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the cumin, chili powder, zested lime peel, garlic cloves, salt and pepper, and 2 T. of EVOO. Brush on both sides of the beef.
- In a ziploc bag combine the veggie strips, the remaining 1 T. of EVOO, salt and pepper, and the lime juice from half a lime. Seal and mix to coat veggies evenly.
- Grill the beef on medium high heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the grill and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- While the beef is resting cook the veggies on the grill using the grill pan until veggies are seared and onion is translucent - about 5 to 8 minutes. Place on the tray with the cooked meat.ALTERNATIVELY: Cook the veggies on skillet over your cooktop if you don't have a veggie grill pan; cook on medium heat until seared and the onion is translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Slice the beef against the grain into strips. Serve with grilled veggies, tortillas, and toppings. Enjoy the most tender, succulent fajitas of ever!
This might be the beginning of a whole new passionate love affair…
If you make these ultimate beef fajitas…
Please share your results – leave a comment below and post a photo on Instagram with #braisedinakitch