Friday, November 16, 2012

Dutch oven Carne Asada

I’ve always loved the taste of carne asada, and I’ve wanted to do it for a long time.  When I finally decided to do it, I kept thinking of more and more things to add to the meal.  In the end, I did quite an elaborate Mexican-inspired meal, but the carne asada was just a part of it all.  It was interesting juggling the various pots to make all of the elements of the meal, as well as timing them all to be done right.  Today, I’ll just post the recipe for the Carne.

Dutch oven Carne Asada

12” Dutch oven

25+ coals below

The Meat

2-3 lbs very thin sliced beef steaks
juice of three limes
4-6 cloves garlic

The Salsa

3-4 tomatoes
3 medium onions
2 green peppers
1-2 jalapenos
juice of 2 limes
olive oil
fresh cilantro


flour or corn tortillas
sour  cream

I started in the morning, putting all of the first set of ingredients into a zip-top bag and shaking, to evenly coat the steaks with the marinade.  I put that into the fridge and went to church.

Later that afternoon, I lit up some coals, and while they were heating up, I prepared the veggies in the salsa.  I cut the tomatoes and the onions into wedges, like in sixths or eighths.  The peppers I simply sliced into long sticks, like a big julienne.

I put a lot (about 25+) of fresh coals under my 12”, and drizzled some olive oil in the bottom to heat up.  Once that was heated, I started with the veggies.  I started with just the tomatoes, because everything has different cooking times.  I put the wedges in, skin down.  Immediately, it started sizzling.  I didn’t stir it.  The idea is to get a good sear going on and carmelize it.  Originally, I put the lid on, with a spacer to allow for moisture to escape, but I don’t think I’ll do that next time.  It’s OK to soften up the tomato flesh a bit, too.

Once the tomatoes are all seared, I pulled them out and set them aside, and let the heat build back up.  Then, I did the same thing with the peppers, onions and jalapenos.  The onions, I laid on their sides, instead of the back of the wedge.

Once they’re all seared and cooked (but not sauteed), I put them all on my chopping block and just went at them with my chef’s knife, using a mince cut to chop them into coarse chunks.  The tomatoes, of course, sort of fell apart, and provided a lot of liquid to the party.  When they were all cut up, I tipped them all into a bowl, and added the lime juice, the cilantro, and the seasonings.

This ended up with a really delicious charred/smoky sort of flavor.  The onions got a bit sweet, too, and it just had a richness that I hadn’t found in normal pico de gallo.  It was delicious!

Then, I got some fresh coals under the Dutch oven again and got it heated up.  I wanted it good and hot, so I used new coals, not the half-burned ones that were left.  I spread out two pieces of the meat and let it sear and sizzle.  Only a few minutes on each side, so that it’s still got a thin sliver of pink in the middle.  When each one was done, I brought them in.  I cut them into long, thin slices and we served them up with the salsa in tortillas, with guac and sour cream.  I also made rice and refried beans (from scratch) for side dishes.  All in all, it was a delicious Mexican meal!

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

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