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Cooking With Fire | Carne Asada Fries

Carne asada is a favorite dish throughout Latin America. The term literally translates to "grilled meat," with the meat in this case being beef in the form of skirt, flank or flap steak.

The beef is seared over high heat, usually wood or charcoal, though gas grills are used as well. The dish is versatile and you will find it in tacos, burritos or simply served on a plate with a pile of vegetables and a fork.

And some innovative chefs in a few southern California kitchens took carne asada to a whole new level--carne asada fries!

Though you can find carne asada fries all over the American Southwest these days, there’s no question that ground zero of this delicious dish is San Diego. California is known for fusing cultures, and carne asada fries are no exception; this is a food fusion that just about any American should be able to get behind. Sure, it isn’t the healthiest meal you can create, but when you are looking to impress friends and family with something unique yet familiar at the same time, carne asada fries are sure to be a hit.

The recipe is actually quite simple. Just load up your favorite golden crisp fries with finely chopped carne asada, cilantro, cotija cheese, a little fresh Mexican crema and you’re done.

In this week’s episode of Cooking with Fire, Chef Tom and I will trace the history of carne asada through South and Central America to the American Southwest, where it has taken on a life of its own.

We’ll even give you a recipe for grilling up the perfect flank steak and building your own plate of carne asada fries -- which you can share with friends or just keep all to yourself. We promise we won’t tell.

Carne Asada Fries

  • 1 flank steak
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • carne asada rub (recipe below)
  • french fries


  • cilantro
  • crema
  • queso fresco or cotija
  • lime slices
  1. Preheat your grill for high heat (450ºF) grilling. Set up direct and indirect cooking zones. 
  2. Trim any excess fat or silver skin from the outside of the flank steak. Rub the vegetable oil over the surface of the flank steak. Season generously with the Carne Asada rub. Let the rub soak in for about 5 minutes.
  3. Grill the steak on both sides to achieve nice grill marks and some char. Move to indirect heat and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 125ºF. Remove from the grill and rest 5 minutes.
  4. Slice the flank steak thinly, against the grain. From here it can be chopped up, then places on top of your fries, along with your other preferred toppings.

 Carne Asada Rub

  • 3 tbsp whole toasted cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder, and grind until broken down into a powder.

Josh Cary may be the eCommerce Director at All Things Barbecue during the day, but at night he takes on the mantle of an award-winning Pitmaster, who has cooked on the competition barbecue circuit under various team names including ATBBQ, Yoder Smokers and the Que Tang Clan.
All Things Barbecue Staff Chef Tom Jackson is a Kansas native, born and raised in Wichita. In 2008 he and his wife moved to Portland, Oregon, where he attended Oregon Culinary Institute. Tom studied both general culinary skills as well as baking and pastry while working as a cook in a variety of restaurants. After graduating from Oregon Culinary Institute he began working as a bread baker and pastry chef at the renowned Ken’s Artisan Bakery in northwest Portland. He spent more than four years honing his skills under James Beard Award winning chef and owner Ken Forkish. In that time he and his wife had their first child, and the draw of home and family grew stronger. Longtime friends of the Cary family, owners of All Things Barbecue, they returned to Kansas to help All Things Barbecue continue to excel in their cooking classes. Tom has been further developing and building cooking classes and private events at All Things Barbecue since March 2014.