Steak fajitas are a dish commonly prepared in Tex-Mex cooking that consists of steak, typically a flank or skirt steak, which is marinated then grilled and wrapped in a tortilla with grilled peppers and onions. This dish is quite easy to make, though it can require a bit of preparation time to properly create the marinade, marinate the meat prior to cooking, and then slice the peppers and onions. Steak fajitas are often served at restaurants and in home kitchens with the steak sliced thin and still hot and sizzling, often in a heated cast iron pan.
As a type of Tex-Mex cooking, steak fajitas build upon traditional Mexican ingredients and cooking methods, combined with Texan sensibility and culinary style. These fajitas typically begin with the proper selection of the steak. Either a skirt steak or a flank steak is commonly used, both of which come from the underside or belly area of a cow and can be quite tough if not properly prepared.
This steak is usually marinated for at least one hour, though overnight or 24-hour marinating is not uncommon. The marinade used for steak fajitas is typically quite simple, and often includes the juice of a lime, ground cumin, some chopped jalapenos, and cilantro. This is combined with the steak in a lidded container or bag and allowed to marinate, infusing the meat with flavor and beginning to break down the fibers of the steak slightly.
Steak fajitas are then prepared by cooking the steak. It should be removed from the marinade and any excess marinade on the steak should be wiped off, as it can prevent the steak from properly browning or producing char. The steak can then be cooked at high heat over a grill, under a broiler, or in a very hot pan. A cast iron pan or skillet with a little oil is often used for steak fajitas, and it is best to use peanut oil or other oil with a high smoke point, which does not include olive oil.
The steak should be allowed to rest after cooking, to ensure the juices remain in the meat after cutting, and onions and peppers should be cooked in the pan used to cook the fajitas. These should be cooked until soft and then removed from the pan. Flank and skirt steak should both be cut against the grain, to help combat the tough nature of the meat, and thin slices are typically best. The steak can then be placed back in the pan to heat through once more, and served with the peppers and onions. These are typically assembled together in tortillas to make steak fajitas, and often served with cheese, guacamole, salsa, or pico de gallo.