Spring grilling season is solidly here. Of course, except when it’s rainy and not so great for grilling, but with fine weather in the forecast, you’d be a fool not to break out your grill at least once in the next week or two.
Here’s a recipe from Michael Symon, Iron Chef, co-host of “The Chew” and chef/owner of Mabel’s BBQ, a “Cleveland-style barbecue restaurant located in downtown Cleveland.” He has a new cookbook to showcase his love of fire, smoke and meat that spans American regions. The book features dry ribs from Memphis, wet ribs from Nashville, pork steak from St. Louis and burnt ends from Kansas City, as well as this grilled skirt steak taco from the Lone Star State.
Symon reminds us that the flavorful skirt steak is one of the best values at the butcher shop. A hot grill allows you to get a great sear on the meat without pushing it past medium-rare, he says, and don’t forget to thinly slice the meat against the grain for the most tender results possible. “I like my tacos on the spicy side, so I load them up with plenty of sliced jalapeño and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime, cilantro and pickled red onions,” he writes.
Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos with Pickled Red Onions
Note: To make puréed chipotles, blend the entire contents of a 12-ounce can of chipotles in adobo sauce in a blender. What isn’t needed can be jarred and refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
— Michael Symon
1 tablespoon puréed chipotle in adobo sauce (see note)
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Juice of 1 lime, plus 2 limes sliced into small wedges
2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed of silver skin
1 package corn tortillas (about 12)
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds
Pickled red onions (see recipe)
In a small bowl, mix to combine the chipotle purée, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, salt and lime juice. Pat the skirt steak dry with paper towels, place in a zip-top bag, add the chipotle marinade and toss the meat inside the bag to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Remove the meat from the bag and discard the marinade.
Prepare and preheat your charcoal grill to high. Place the skirt steak on the grill and cook until medium-rare, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the meat against the grain and serve with warm or slightly charred corn tortillas, cilantro, jalapeño, pickled onions and lime wedges. Serves 6.
Pickled Red Onions
1 pound red onions, halved and thinly sliced
White wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 fresh bay leaf
Pack the onions into a 1-quart Mason jar. Fill the jar with cold water, leaving 1/2 inch of air space at the top. Pour the water from the jar into a measuring cup (use a spoon to keep the onions in the jar) to calculate its volume. Discard half the water and replace with an equal quantity of vinegar. Add 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons salt for every 1 cup liquid.
In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the vinegar mixture, garlic, peppercorns, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Carefully pour the hot liquid over the onions in the jar, seal and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Makes 1 quart.
— From “Michael Symon’s Playing with Fire: BBQ and More from the Grill, Smoker, and Fireplace” by Michael Symon and Douglas Trattner (Clarkson Potter, $30)