Northern Mexico-Style Steak Tacos

Arrachera y Tacos Nortenos, courtesy of Rick Martinex.

Northern Mexico-Style Steak Tacos

Enjoy these tacos nortenos with grilled skirt steak (arrachera) from Rick Martinez's "Mi Concina."

Serves: 4


For the Arrachera:

  • 4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, smashed
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 cup Mexican-style pale lager beer
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon Morton Kosher salt (.14 oz/4 g)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) skirt or flank steak

For the Tacos Nortenos:

  • 1/4 cup lard or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion (6.3 oz/179 g), thinly sliced
  • 1 medium chile poblano (4 oz./125 g), stemmed and seeded, thinly sliced
  • 3 chiles jalapenos (3.3 oz/99.6 g), stemmed and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon Morton kosher salt (.14 oz/4 g)
  • 8 medium Roma tomatoes (1.5 lb/680 g), cored and chopped
  • 12 ounces (340 g) queso asadero, queso Chihuahua, quesillo, or Monterey Jack, shredded
  • Tortillas de Harina con Mantequilla

For serving:

  • Your favorite salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Lime wedges


1. Marinate the Arrachera: In a medium bowl, whisk the chipotle peppers, garlic, beer, lime juice, fish sauce, orange juice, soy sauce, oregano, cumin, and salt. Add the steak, turn to coat, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.

2. Make the Tacos Nortenos: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the lard. Cook the onion, poblano, jalapenos, garlic, and salt until the onion and chiles are tender and beginning to brown, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they release their juices and start to break down, for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the queso. Cover to keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, prepare a gas grill for high heat. (Alternatively, prepare a charcoal grill for high heat.) Grill the steak, turning occasionally, until charred, for 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick strips.

4. Grill the tortillas until lightly charred, for about 1 minute per side.

5. To Serve: Top the tortillas with the steak, cheese, vegetables, salsa, and guacamole. Serve lime wedges on the side.

Reprinted with permission from Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico by Rick Martinez copyright © 2022. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Ren Fuller. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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