How to Grill Carne Asada on Charcoal?

How to Grill Carne Asada on Charcoal?

Grilling carne asada on a charcoal grill is a fantastic way to achieve authentic flavors and mouthwatering results. However, it can be daunting to get started if you’re unfamiliar with the process. Do not worry, in this guide, I will share my expert tips and techniques for achieving the perfect grilled carne asada on charcoal.

Charcoal grilling can seem intimidating, but with the right knowledge, it is easy to master. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, these tips and techniques will ensure your carne asada is tender, juicy, and packed with flavor.

Key Takeaways:

  • Grilling carne asada on charcoal can result in authentic, mouthwatering flavors.
  • With the right knowledge, anyone can master the art of grilling carne asada on charcoal.
  • Expert tips and techniques are necessary for tender, juicy, and flavorful carne asada.

Choosing the Right Cut of Meat

When it comes to grilling carne asada on charcoal, selecting the right cut of meat is essential to achieving tender, juicy, and flavorful results. Here are some tips and best practices for choosing the perfect cut:

  • Look for fresh, high-quality meat: Choose meat that is bright red in color and includes marbling the small white streaks of fat that run throughout the meat. This will ensure optimal flavor and tenderness.
  • Consider the thickness: Carne asada is typically cut thin, but you don’t want it too thin that it will dry out quickly on the grill. Choose a thickness of about ¼ to ½ inch for best results.
  • Choose the right type of beef: Skirt steak is a popular choice for carne asada, but you can also use flank steak or arrachera. These cuts have the perfect balance of fat and tenderness, making them ideal for grilling.

By following these tips for selecting the right cut of meat, you can ensure your carne asada turns out perfectly grilled on charcoal every time.

Marinating the Carne Asada

Marinating the Carne Asada is a crucial step in achieving a delicious and tender result. The marinade enhances the flavor and tenderizes the meat, providing a juicy and mouth-watering steak.

When it comes to charcoal grilling techniques for carne asada, it is essential to marinate the meat for a minimum of two hours or overnight for the best results. The longer the marinade, the more flavors the steak will absorb.

Here are some delicious marinade options for your carne asada:

Marinade Ingredients
Classic Garlic, lime juice, orange juice, cilantro, salt, cumin, and chili powder.
Spicy Garlic, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro, salt, cumin, and chili powder.
Beer Beer, garlic, lime juice, orange juice, cilantro, salt, cumin, and chili powder.

When marinating the carne asada, place the meat in a large ziplock bag and add your preferred marinade. Seal the bag, removing any excess air, and refrigerate for the desired time.

Remember, once you remove the meat from the marinade, discard the remaining marinade, and let the steak rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepping the Charcoal Grill

Before grilling the carne asada, it’s essential to prep the charcoal grill properly. Following these simple steps will ensure that your meat is cooked to perfection:

  1. Set up the grill: Choose a flat area to place your grill and ensure that it’s stable. Remove the grill grate and set it aside.
  2. Prepare the charcoal: Fill a chimney starter with charcoal and place it on the bottom grate of your grill. Light the paper or firestarter underneath the chimney starter and wait for the coals to ash over, which usually takes about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Spread the coals: Use tongs to spread the hot coals evenly over the bottom grate of the grill. Create a hotter area for searing and a cooler area for indirect grilling.
  4. Oil the grill: Use a pair of tongs and a folded paper towel soaked in vegetable oil to oil the grill grate. This will prevent the meat from sticking to the grill.

Once the grill is prepped, you’re ready to start grilling the carne asada. Remember to keep the lid off the grill when searing and put it back on when grilling indirectly. This will ensure that the meat is cooked evenly and retains its natural flavors.

Grilling the Carne Asada

When it comes to grilling carne asada on a charcoal grill, perfecting your technique can be the difference between a dry, tough cut of meat and a juicy, flavorful one. As someone who has spent countless hours honing my skills, I’m here to share some expert tips for achieving charcoal-grilled carne asada perfection.

1. Start with the Right Heat

The key to grilling carne asada on charcoal is to get the right heat. You want a high temperature to sear the outside of the meat and lock in the juices, but not so high that you burn the outside before the inside is cooked. Aim for medium-high heat (around 400-450°F) and adjust as needed.

2. Don’t Flip Too Often

It can be tempting to constantly flip your carne asada, but this can actually dry it out and make it tough. Instead, let it sear for 3-4 minutes on one side before flipping it once and searing for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. This will help seal in the juices and give you a perfectly cooked cut of meat.

3. Use a Meat Thermometer

The best way to ensure your carne asada is cooked to perfection is to use a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat and look for a temperature of around 135°F for medium-rare or 145°F for medium. This will help you avoid overcooking the meat and ensure you get the perfect level of doneness.

4. Let it Rest

Resting your carne asada after grilling is essential to keeping it juicy and flavorful. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing, and cover it with foil to keep it warm. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and make it even more delicious.

By applying these expert tips and techniques, you’ll be well on your way to perfecting your charcoal-grilled carne asada game. Trust me, your taste buds (and your guests) will thank you!

Resting and Slicing the Carne Asada

Now that we have grilled the carne asada to perfection, the next step is crucial for achieving juicy and flavorful results resting the meat. Letting the meat rest for a few minutes allows the juices to redistribute, making it more tender and succulent.

To rest the carne asada, transfer it to a cutting board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let it rest for at least five minutes before slicing.

When slicing the carne asada, it is essential to cut against the grain to keep it tender. Find the direction of the grain by looking for the lines of muscle fibers running through the meat. Then, slice perpendicular to those lines, cutting across the grain.

For a stunning presentation, slice the meat thinly and arrange it on a platter. Sprinkle some cilantro and onion on top, and serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, and pico de gallo.

Mastering the art of grilling carne asada on charcoal can take some practice, but by following these tips and techniques, you can achieve authentic, mouthwatering results that will impress your family and friends.

Serving and Enjoying Carne Asada

Now that your delicious carne asada is perfectly grilled and sliced, it’s time to enjoy! Here are some tips for serving and garnishing your dish:

  • Top the carne asada with freshly squeezed lime juice for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, and pico de gallo for an authentic Mexican experience.
  • Pair with a cold Mexican beer or a refreshing margarita for the ultimate carne asada feast.

Hosting a carne asada gathering can be a fun and festive way to enjoy this delicious dish with family and friends. Here are some tips for a successful event:

  • Plan ahead and marinate the meat the day before to save time and ensure maximum flavor.
  • Set up a self-serve salsa bar with a variety of toppings, such as chopped onions, cilantro, and jalapenos.
  • Provide plenty of seating and a festive atmosphere with colorful tablecloths and decorations.

By following these tips, you can impress your guests and enjoy the authentic flavors of grilled carne asada on a charcoal grill. Remember to savor each bite and savor the moment!


Grilling carne asada on charcoal can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By selecting the right cut of meat, marinating it properly, and following the steps outlined in this guide, you can impress your guests with authentic and mouthwatering results.

Remember to control the heat, flip the meat properly, and let it rest before slicing. And don’t forget to pair your carne asada with delicious sides and accompaniments for a truly memorable experience.

If you’re looking to master the art of grilling carne asada on a charcoal grill, don’t be afraid to experiment with different marinades, seasoning blends, and cooking techniques. With practice and dedication, you can become an expert at grilling carne asada on charcoal and host unforgettable gatherings for family and friends.


Q: How long should I marinate the carne asada?

A: It is recommended to marinate the carne asada for at least 1 hour, but for best results, marinate it overnight in the refrigerator.

Q: Can I use a gas grill instead of a charcoal grill?

A: While a charcoal grill is preferred for authentic flavor, you can still grill carne asada on a gas grill. Just make sure to adjust the cooking times and temperatures accordingly.

Q: How do I know when the carne asada is cooked to perfection?

A: The internal temperature of cooked carne asada should reach 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accurate cooking.

Q: Can I freeze the carne asada after grilling?

A: Yes, you can freeze the cooked carne asada. Ensure it is properly wrapped or stored in an airtight container to maintain its quality.

Q: What are some popular garnishes for serving carne asada?

A: Common garnishes for carne asada include fresh cilantro, diced onions, lime wedges, and salsa. These add freshness and flavor to the dish.

Q: Should I let the carne asada rest before slicing?

A: Yes, it is crucial to let the carne asada rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in a more tender and flavorful meat.

Michael Davis
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