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Elemental Arracheras

This traditional recipe for fajitas hails from the wood-fire cookouts on northern Mexico ranches.

  • 2 skirt steaks (2-21/2 lbs. total), trimmed of membrane and fat 
  • Juice of 6-7 limes 
  • 2-3 pickled jalapeños, minced 
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1-2 medium onions, thickly sliced 
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Lime wedges 
  • Flour tortillas (preferably thick), warmed 

Place steaks in a shallow, nonreactive dish. Combine next three ingredients, and pour mixture over steaks. Refrigerate steaks for at least 6-8 hours, turning occasionally. Remove steaks from refrigerator and drain. Salt steaks, and let sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes. Coat onions with oil, and place on a piece of foil. 

On an outdoor grill, fire up enough charcoal to form a single layer of coals. When coals are covered with gray ash, place steaks directly over the fire; place onions a little to the side, where they’ll get less heat. Grill steaks to medium-rare (about 5-6 minutes per side); remove from grill. Turn onions occasionally, removing when soft (some edges will be brown and crispy). Allow steaks to sit for 5 minutes before slicing diagonally across the grain into finger-length strips. Pile meat, onions, and lime wedges on a platter, and serve with tortillas. Yield: 6 generous servings.

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