My favorite part about warm weather is grilling. Even when it involves simultaneous activity with the stove or oven, there are flavors you get from open-flame cooking you just don’t get from indoors. Now, as a matter of convenience, we’re propane grillers. I don’t really have experience with charcoal or even a bonfire, outside of hot dogs and marshmallows. But I do love grilling. That’s probably why I’ve loved the perpetual summer/spring of the southwest. Very few days where grilling is impractical.
Now that we are in the advent of Spring, and the rest of the country is looking forward to warmer temperatures, the rest of the country is on the cusp of grilling weather. So I thought I’d share one of our staples: steak fajitas.
When we lived in El Paso, I think we had fajitas, quesadillas, or burritos probably 4 times a week. It was too natural to absorb the local flavors into our meals. That’s tapered off some since we left, but fajitas are always there. Whether using chicken (which is also excellent and almost better) or steak. We love it.
I love the fajitas because, when we buy those bulk steak packs, it’s a great way to use the less-than-centerpiece-worthy cuts of steak. It’s great for parties – easy to prepare, cook, and serve in bulk. It’s great for deployment – it reheats on the stove amazingly. It’s great when I want to save my daily calories for an after-dinner treat – just eat in a bowl sans tortillas.
It’s pretty much the perfect meal.
This particular recipe will give you steak that is well-done. I can sometimes handle a bloody eye staring back at me at a steakhouse, but not in fajitas. No pink, por favor. Also it will make your meat nice and crusty like at the restaurants. I like the flavor and texture it adds, but of course if you don’t, you can adjust accordingly.
I slice the food in a particular order: onions, peppers, then steak. First, this lets the steak rest as long as possible, and second, using the same cutting board allows the steak to absorb as much flavor from the vegetables as possible.
- Steak, one per person
- Red and green bell peppers, I use one for every two people
- Onion, 1 medium per two people
- Olive oil
- Lime juice – 1/4 tsp per side
- Chili powder – 1/4 tsp per side
- Cumin – 1/4 tsp per side
- Garlic Powder – 1/16 tsp per side
- Red Pepper Flake – 3 shakes per side
- Salt – 1/8 tsp per side
- Toppings for fajitas: tortillas/tortilla chips, salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole
Preheat your grill. We have a 3-burner, which I set thusly: 1 burner at 50% (hot zone for meat), 2 burners at 30% (warm zone for veggies).
Set out steaks and poke some holes with your fork. Squirt lime juice on steaks. Sprinkle seasonings across the surface of the steaks: salt, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and red pepper flake. Flip steaks and repeat all the flavorings, except the red pepper flake.
If you have the foresight to prepare your steaks in the morning, the longer they can marinate, the better.
Once the grill is to temp (about 400-425) spray it generously with grill spray and put the meat in the hot zone. I don’t worry about grill mark because it gets sliced up later.
Back inside, slice your onion into half-inch rings. Brush some olive oil on the rings. This isn’t to keep them from sticking – onions are naturally non-stick. This will help them retain their moisture while they brown.
Wash and slice the bell peppers in half lengthwise. Put the onions and peppers on the warm zone of the grill. Flip the steaks.
Close your grill and let everything cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip everything and let food continue to cook, grill closed. Repeat for 25-30 minutes, depending on how consistently your grill heats.
Meanwhile, cover a deep-sided dish tightly with aluminum foil. When the food is done, use this dish to put the food in, covered tightly.
Inside, pull elements out in groups to slice, keeping other food tightly covered to preserve heat and moisture. I start with the onions, cutting the rings in half. Return to dish. Pull out pepper halves. Remove seeds/stems and cut into matchsticks. Return to dish. Last, pull out each steak one by one and slice thinly.
Toss together with tongs and serve with desired toppings.