If you’re lucky enough to spend a few fall days in the mountains of Colorado, you’re lucky enough!
(Next few images courtesy of Amanda Montgomery!)
That said, a few weeks ago I felt incredibly lucky and grateful to get together with several fellow food bloggers to discuss all things food, business, and fun in a gorgeous, mountain-side cabin in Breckenridge, CO. Pinch me!
The “Fresh Air Retreat”, organized by Liz and Lauren, was the third retreat I’ve attended with these two incredible woman and, although it felt strange to be in Colorado without the kids and Ben, since we go as a family every year, it was such a treat being able to talk shop with people who have the same job as me — IN PERSON! The changing aspen leaves and crisp fall air were icing on the cake.
We spent the week not only sharing struggles we face in our jobs, but different ways we manage and grow our businesses (plus eating, and drinking all the wine in the whole wide world. WOO!)
Of all the retreats and conferences I’ve been to, this was the most impactful and I credit the other mega talented attendees – Liz, Lauren, Jen, Brittany, Yvette, Tessa, and Dan – for leaving Colorado with tons of ideas and inspiration.
The Fresh Air Retreat was sponsored by the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner., USA Pears, and La Croix, and one of the highlights was meeting pit master Rasheed Phillips, who flew in from Atlanta to cook for us one night of our stay.
Rasheed competed on Netflix’s American Barbecue Showdown and it was literally a treat to eat his food and hear the inspiring story of how a child from Kingston, Jamaica ended up as a pit master in Georgia. I asked him if it was difficult cooking on a smoker/grill that wasn’t his own and he said: “Fire is fire.”
Inspired by the first course on Rasheed’s dinner menu — smoked then seared ribeye served over sizzling peppers smothered with jerk butter (I mean I can still taste it when I close my eyes) — I decided to create a similar supper to share with you: Sizzling Steak Fajitas. This simple yet impressive dish rivals any restaurant’s, yet can be made at home any night of the week.
Serve with guacamole and flame kissed tortillas, and you’re set!
What Cut of Beef is Best for Fajitas?
Beef fajitas are typically made with Skirt Steak: a thin, tender cut of beef that comes from the underbelly of the cow. Skirt Steak cooks quickly at high heat and absorbs marinades well, which makes it an excellent cut of beef for sizzling fajitas.
If you can’t find Skirt Steak at your grocery store or butcher, opt for Flank Steak instead. Whichever cut you go with, be sure to let it rest after cooking then slice very thinly at an angle against the grain.
What Does it Mean to Slice Against the Grain?
Slicing “against the grain” is a term you’ll almost always hear when following a recipe for beef that’s going to be sliced or cut. Look for parallel lines within the cut of meat then thinly slice perpendicular or “against” the lines at an angle. This will give you tender pieces of meat that are easy to chew, vs chewy, tough-to-eat pieces.
Quick and Simple Steak Marinade
If you’ve ever tried my Best Ever Chicken Fajitas then you know that simple is best when it comes to flavoring meat for fajitas. Forget the heavy seasonings and seasoning packets – all the beef needs is a soak in lime juice plus a few aromatics like smashed garlic and green onion, and pantry staples like cumin and smoked paprika. Marinate anywhere from 3-12 hours, though honestly an hour will still get you where you need to be.
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: Marinate the Skirt Steak
Start by trimming a Skirt Steak of any tough pieces of fat or connective tissues – a little fat left on the steak will flavor the meat so we don’t need to be too finicky here.
Now, the inside skirt typically has a thinner side and a slightly thicker side, so slice the two sections apart to make them easier to cook, slice, and serve.
Add the trimmed steaks to a large Ziplock back with a marinade that includes fresh lime juice, smashed garlic cloves, gluten free Tamari, vegetable oil, brown sugar, green onions, cumin, and smoked paprika, if you have it. Massage to coat then pop into the refrigerator for 3-12 hours to marinate.
Step 2: Cook the Steak
When it’s time to cook, remove remove the steak from the marinade then pat dry with paper towels and season each side generously with salt. Heat a large cast iron grill pan or grill over HIGH heat then, when it begins to smoke, brush or mist the grill pan with vegetable oil (no need to do this step on an outdoor grill), add the steak, and grill for 3-4 minutes per side.
NOTE: Be sure to have your hood fan on high – definitely set my smoke alarm off while sizzling this baby up!
Remove the steak to a cutting board then let it rest for at least 10 minutes while you sear the peppers and onions.
Step 3: Sear the Vegetables
Meanwhile, heat a large, cast iron skillet over high heat on a burner next door. Once it’s screamin’ hot, add a thin layer of vegetable oil then add sliced bell peppers and onions. Arrange the vegetables into an even layer, season with homemade seasoned salt and a pinch of cumin, then let them sit undisturbed until the bottoms have seared, 2-3 minutes. Stir then continue to saute until the vegetables are crisp-tender, another 3-4 minutes.
Remove the vegetables to a plate then cook the remaining peppers and onions in a touch more oil, seasoning with seasoned salt and cumin.
Step 5: Assembly
Last step is to thinly slice the cooked Skirt Steak against the grain then serve with the cooked vegetables, plus guacamole, and warmed corn tortillas, if you please. Sizzling, succulent, and such a treat – I hope you love these gorgeous steak fajitas – enjoy!
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Sizzling Steak Fajitas
Sizzling Steak Fajitas are tender and flavorful. Serve this simple yet stunning beef recipe any night of the week!
- For the steak:
- 1lb skirt steak, trimmed
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons gluten free Tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 2 green onions, cut in half
- For the vegetables:
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or other high heat cooking oil like avocado oil
- 2 small bell peppers, any color, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- Homemade Seasoned Salt (see notes)
- For the fajitas:
- Corn tortillas (I like Mission Corn "Street Style" Tortillas)
- Salsa or Pico de Gallo
- For the steak: Combine all ingredients except steak in a large Ziplock bag then squish to combine. Slice steak in half to make it easier to cook then add to marinade and massage to coat. Squeeze the air out of the bag then seal and refrigerate for 3-12 hours. Massage and flip the bag a few times during the marinating process.
- Remove steak from marinade then pat dry with paper towels and generously salt each side. Heat a grill pan or grill over high heat then, if using a grill pan, brush or mist the bottom with vegetable oil or other high heat cooking oil like avocado oil (skip this step if using an actual grill). Add steak then grill for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on desired level of doneness, then remove to a cutting board and rest for at least 10 minutes.
- For the vegetables: Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron preferred) over high heat. When it begins to smoke, add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil then add half the vegetables. Season with homemade seasoned salt plus a pinch of cumin then let vegetables sit undisturbed until seared on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Stir then continue to saute until vegetables are crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Remove to a plate then sear remaining vegetables in remaining 1 Tablespoon oil, seasoning with seasoned salt and cumin.
- Assembly: After steaks have rested, use a sharp knife to thinly slice against the grain and at an angle. Serve with seared peppers and onions, plus corn tortillas, guacamole, and salsa, if desired.
- Click here for my Homemade Gluten Free Seasoned Salt recipe >
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I attended a Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. sponsored retreat, though all opinions are my own.