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Tips for TENDER beef Fajitas?

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  • Panhead John
    Club Member
    • Aug 2020
    • 1308
    • Houston, Texas
    • Weber 22” Master Touch Kettle, added a side shelf
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    Tips for TENDER beef Fajitas?

    Hi everyone. I live in Texas and have been grilling for 40 + years. I do pretty good on my Weber 22” Kettle and Weber Smokey Mountain smoker. I have no problem grilling juicy and flavorful beef skirt steak for my fajitas. My problem is getting them as tender as a good Tex-Mex restaurant. Which there are a lot of good ones here in Houston. I just cooked some again tonight which prompted my desperate plea for help. 😄 I don’t know if it’s the quality of the meat (skirt steak from Kroger ) or what. I always marinate them for a couple of hours in Good Seasons Italian Dressing, dusted with Lawry’s Garlic Salt and fresh ground black pepper. I’ve always cooked them maybe 10-15 minutes on the grill. I’ve read that’s how to make them tender, not slow cooking. They’re tasty but always a little tough and chewy. Does anyone have a secret in getting skirt/flank steak tender? Please let me know! Thanks



    Attached Files
  • barelfly
    Club Member
    • Dec 2017
    • 1445
    • New Mexico
    • Smokin-It 3D
      Weber Kettle with an SNS
      Masterbuilt kettle that I call the $30 wonder grill
      Bullet by Bull Grills gasser
      Anova WiFi sous vide machine
      Thermoworks Thermapen and Chef Alarm

    #2
    How are you slicing the skirt/flank? Your method sounds spot on, so that’s the only thing I don’t see in your post, slicing against the grain? That piece you have in the photos, after grilling, I’d cut into three separate pieces and then slice against the grain.

    If you are doing that, sometimes the meat is just tough. Or, try to freeze the meat so it’s a little stiff, then slice in half to make it even thinner, then go about your process above.

    Comment


    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      I did forget to mention that. I DO slice against the grain. In fact I’ve tried slicing even thinner than usual hoping to make it easier to chew.
  • Brewmaster
    Charter Member
    • Oct 2014
    • 599
    • Santa Rosa, CA

    #3
    Sous Vide then grill

    Comment

    • Huskee
      Administrator
      • May 2014
      • 15445
      • central MI, USA
      • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

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      #4
      Maybe try Sv or braising the strips in the marinade. I too struggle with tough strips of beef. The whole strips pull out with the bite instead of biting in half.

      Comment


      • Panhead John
        Panhead John commented
        Editing a comment
        Tips on sous vide? Never done it. Is it sautéing it in the marinade?

      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        Panhead John No, sous vide (French for "under vacuum") is basically vacuum-packing meat or veggies and submerging it in hot water at a specific temp for long periods of time to 'cook' it gently and thoroughly, which hot air cannot do. It helps to tenderize tough cuts of meat.
    • BFlynn
      Charter Member
      • Oct 2014
      • 950
      • Third Coast

      #5
      I always grill mine hot and fast, cut across the grain, and hopefully come out medium or a little less done.
      It could need a different marinade or to marinade longer.

      The meat I get at the little carneceria surround the corner comes out more tender than what I get from Kroger

      Comment

      • jfmorris
        Club Member
        • Nov 2017
        • 3579
        • Huntsville, Alabama
        • Jim Morris

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          • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

        #6
        Do you know what the quality of meat is? I don’t see much better than choice at my Kroger. If it’s not marked choice or prime, then it’s select, which would likely be tough.
        Last edited by jfmorris; August 6, 2020, 07:50 PM.

        Comment


        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh I can guarantee coming from Kroger it’s probably select. Crappiest grade. But I can’t get prime or choice of skirt steak at Costco.
      • Steve R.
        Club Member
        • Jul 2016
        • 2521
        • Elizabethtown, KY
        • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Smokey Mountain 22" w/ Guru adapter.

        #7
        I think there is going to need to be some braising involved. Or just boil it and call it a day.

        Comment


        • HouseHomey
          HouseHomey commented
          Editing a comment
          !!!GASP!!! Just add it to the Ribs pot.

        • Steve R.
          Steve R. commented
          Editing a comment
          Busted! Hey, everybody, HouseHomey has a ribs pot!

        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          Funny! LMAO.
      • Panhead John
        Club Member
        • Aug 2020
        • 1308
        • Houston, Texas
        • Weber 22” Master Touch Kettle, added a side shelf
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          Char-Broil Instant Read Meat Thermometer

        #8
        I must say something here and now, I am really impressed with all the good people on this website! I cannot believe how fast everyone replies to questions or concerns,etc. It’s really unbelievable. I mean, I’ve only been registered 2 days now, and every time I’ve posted something, it’s been an incredible show of support and genuine caring and trying to help! And super fast responses! I really can’t believe it. Even though I am perfect and know everything there is about grilling, these people who answer me don’t know that! 😂😂😂😂. Please know I’m being very sarcastic with that last statement. Thanks sincerely.

        Comment


        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          LMAO!!!!

        • Steve R.
          Steve R. commented
          Editing a comment
          Haha! Anything I post after about 11 pm EDT, take it with a grain of kosher salt for sure. But it will be my completely honest opinion.

        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          Hey Steve R. After 11? How the hell do you stay up so late? 😂
      • jfmorris
        Club Member
        • Nov 2017
        • 3579
        • Huntsville, Alabama
        • Jim Morris

          Cookers
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          • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
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          • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

        #9
        Panhead John glad to try to help - I’ve really just asked Questions so far, haha.

        I’ve done fajitas here only since I got a flat top (griddle), but marinated the skirt steak overnight. I scored some choice skirt but forget where - it was either Sam’s club or Walmart. I cut it across the grain into strips before marinating it, and just dumped meat and marinade onto the flat top after giving my onions and peppers a head start.

        Comment

      • Dewesq55
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 2174
        • The Poconos, NEPA
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        #10
        You might try adding some green papaya paste to the marinade. Or maybe some grated Asian pear.

        Comment

        • surfdog
          Club Member
          • Mar 2016
          • 1232
          • Sunny SoCal
          • Cooking gadgets
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            Other useful bits...
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          #11
          Try a citrus based marinade. Lime juice works well, as does OJ. Both will break down the meat a bit. Especially the lime.
          Add juice, perhaps a bit of zest, a little olive oil, Worcestershire, and some garlic into a large ziplock bag. Toss in the meat for a few hours, or over night...and you’re good to go. I can probably figure out amounts if you’d like, but mostly it’s a whatever looks/smells good kinda thing.

          Comment

          • Mr. Bones
            Charter Member
            • Sep 2016
            • 10168
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            #12
            When I used to commercially make 600-2500+ servings of fajitas for 1 meal, be they beef, or chicken, we'd definitely marinate, an toss fer at least 24 hours, prior to Go Time...

            Also, always used Rose's Lime Juice along with fajita seasonin, when each batch hit th flattop...it's much more concentrated and citric acidy than regular lime juice, an is, in fact, the world's first commercially produced fruit concentrate...

            Comment


            • SmokingPat
              SmokingPat commented
              Editing a comment
              600-2500 servings! Was that in the service?

            • Panhead John
              Panhead John commented
              Editing a comment
              Man, how did I miss that? MB DID say toss em for 24 hours. I’ve got to quit drinking.

            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              SmokingPat Nope, cooking here on campus,Student Housing.
              My regular kitchen we averaged 600-800 mouths a meal, sometimes I had to go work at another dorm, where we’d often feed 2000-5000 mouths per meal,sometimes even more...
              Last edited by Mr. Bones; August 7, 2020, 11:18 AM.
          • TripleB
            Club Member
            • May 2017
            • 915
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              BBQ Guru ATC
              Favorite Beer: Peroni
              Favorite Sports Teams: Rams, Dodgers, Kings, UCLA Bruins

            #13
            If it’s been said, sorry. I’d try dry brining a couple hrs or longer depending on thickness. Then marinade if wanted. Hot and fast fire.

            Comment

            • BFlynn
              Charter Member
              • Oct 2014
              • 950
              • Third Coast

              #14
              This is how they do it at Mama Ninfa's........
              And I'm not sure you'll find a better fajita anywhere

              https://thelocalpalate.com/recipes/mama-ninfas-fajitas/

              Comment


              • Mr. Bones
                Mr. Bones commented
                Editing a comment
                Desert Raider
                Bless yer G' Ma's Memory, some of us jus keepin on tradition...

              • Panhead John
                Panhead John commented
                Editing a comment
                I actually love scallions. I was just giving surfdog a hard time. 😉

              • Mr. Bones
                Mr. Bones commented
                Editing a comment
                surfdog escalivada, wasn't that th one Patrol Officer on CHiPs?
            • Greygoose
              Club Member
              • May 2019
              • 747
              • South Shore,MA

              #15
              I have used Goya Mojo Criollo marinade a few times.
              Marinated outside flap over nite and it came out darn good
              great flavor and a good chew but tender enough

              Comment


              • Panhead John
                Panhead John commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks! I’m gonna try that. Goya is real common here.

              • Panhead John
                Panhead John commented
                Editing a comment
                Greygoose. I’m at Walmart now. Picking up my Goya. Gonna try it for the first time. Thanks for the suggestion.

              • Parkin
                Parkin commented
                Editing a comment
                The Goya Mojo Cirollo marinade is really good....I know at least one of my favorite taco shops here use it. I also cook mine super hot super fast.

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