Saturday, August 21, 2021

Mezcal Adobo Skirt Steak


While tequila and mezcal are both made from agave plants, mezcal is actually tequila's smoky first cousin. When the agave plants mature, they produce inulin, a type of fructose that cannot be directly converted to alcohol. So to make mezcal, the agave plants are roasted. The roasted plant hearts are then pressed and the runoff juice is the basis for mezcal. The roasting is what gives mezcal that pronounced smoky taste.

Chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeƱo pepper. Ripe jalapeƱos are placed in a smoker for several days, where they lose all their moisture and become prune-like. The peppers are then combined with adobo sauce and canned. While adobo sauce is basically white vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves....the sauce becomes incredibly smoky and hot from the chipotles. You will find them in the Mexican/Ethnic section of your grocery store, sold as Chipotles in Adobo Sauce.

So two of the main ingredients in this recipe owe their distinct flavor to smoke. You can add to that by cooking your skirt steak over charcoal and throwing in a few chunks of mesquite. When you are done cooking, you will have the foundation to make some of the best steak fajitas you have ever tasted. Just grab some flour tortillas...your favorite fajita fillers...and have at it.


For the Marinade
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup mezcal
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons canned adobo sauce (more if you like it spicy)
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika

1-1/2 pounds of skirt steak

  1. Combine the first 12 ingredients in a bowl and whisk to mix. Place steak in a ziplock bag, pour marinade over steak and seal bag. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  3. Remove steak from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Grill steak for 3 minutes on each side (for medium rare). Transfer steak to a cutting board, tent with foil and let steak rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Slice against the grain in 1/2-inch strips for your fajitas.

 Pairing: Ice Cold Pacifico

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