Rosa Mexicano’s Tacos al Carbon with Grilled Chile-Marinated Skirt Steak

John England shares his recipe

The mingling of chiles—guajillos and pasillas for flavor, and cascabels for heat—make this adobo particularly good with skirt steak, but it also goes well with other steaks like T-bones and shell steak and with pork tenderloin. It does wonders for game like venison and quail. The adobo can be made several days in advance.

Makes enough to fill about 15 tacos

1 3/4 to 2 pounds skirt steak
1 dozen corn tortillas

3 cascabel chiles, wiped clean, stemmed, seeded, and toasted

2 guajillo chiles, wiped clean, stemmed, seeded, and toasted

2 pasilla chiles, wiped clean, stemmed, seeded, and toasted

½ cup water

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

5 allspice berries

2 cloves

1-inch piece of Mexican cinnamon stick

5 garlic cloves

8 black peppercorns

  • Trim all fat from the surface of the meat and remove the silverskin (the thin whitish-gray membrane). If the steak is in one piece, cut it crosswise in two, into thicker and thinner halves. Put in a shallow baking pan. 
  • Make the adobo: Drain chiles, put them in a blender, and add remaining adobo ingredients. Blend at low speed until fairly smooth.
  • Wearing gloves if you’d like, rub adobo generously all over the skirt steak. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  • Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Grill the steak, turning once, until charred in places and cooked to medium-rare, about 10 minutes for the thinner half, slightly longer for the thicker half. (Adjust the cooking time as necessary for rarer or more well-done steak.) Remove to a carving board, cover with foil, and let stand 5 minutes.

Cut steak against the grain into ¼-inch slices and serve with warm corn tortillas.