Grill ArnieTex's Fajitas For Your Next Carne Asada

Tacos de asada with a layer of guacamole and topped with pico de gallo
If you’ve ever poked around YouTube in an attempt to learn more about barbecue, grilling, or even Mexican rice, chances are you’ve stumbled across — and become enamored with — Arnie Segovia, aka ArnieTex, aka "the internet's favorite tío." And while you may have come for his extensive knowledge, you’ll stay for his avuncular charm.  If you don't know Arnie, well, it's our pleasure to introduce our June Chef en Residencia!

The Texas native is a semi-retired barbecue competitor and was one of the first inductees into the IBCA Hall of Fame. On the heels of a twenty-year cook-off career, he was inspired to share his learnings with grilling enthusiasts around the world via his YouTube and other social channels.

So who better, we thought, to talk about summer grilling and teach us about the barbecue tradition of South Texas than Arnie? We're starting, of course, with that most classic of Mexican grill recipes, carne asada. Except this deep in the Rio Grande Valley, it has a different name: fajitas, named for the most popular cut of beef in South Texas. Fajita is the diminutive of faja, meaning belt or girdle, so the name is used to reference skirt steak. Arnie prefers the outside skirt steak, which is harder to find than inside skirt steak, but far more tender and juicy when cooked correctly.

Arnie prepares his fajitas simply: a rub of salt, pepper, and garlic that lets the meat sing and makes room for a colorful array of toppings. About those: Arnie likes to tuck the steak into a fresh warm tortilla with guacamole and pico de gallo. For an added touch, he'll make a salsa, like this salsa de chile de árbol.

While fajitas reference the dish, the event is still a carne asada: a gathering that's all about moments spent with family, surrounded by the sizzle of good meat on the grill, great music, and for Arnie, the continuation of a cherished tradition.

Here are Arnie's top five tips for throwing a killer carne asada:

1. Timing is everything

One thing I always notice is that people show up ready to eat. Start your longer cooks like charro beans or brisket way earlier in the day so they have ample time to come to doneness. Then, work on your quicker cooks closer to the arrival time of your guests, like the guacamole and fajitas. In the event that you are running late, then as a fail safe, have a big ol' bowl of pico de gallo ready ahead of time as an appetizer for the hungry guests who show up. So this is my number one tip – start earlier than you need to!

2. Clean your grill

Again on the importance of timing – this isn’t something you want to do when the pressure is on. Take your time the day before to properly dust off your grill, dispose of the ashes, clean the grates and get it set up for success. This way on the day-of, all you have to do is get your fire set, clean the grates with an onion (because, tradition), and then throw that onion in the coals and get to grilling.

3. Thaw your meats

The last thing you want to run into is a hunk of frozen meat in the fridge when it should have already been on the grill. Thaw them out ahead of time to ensure they’re ready to go on the day of.

4. Ask for help

You and your household don’t have to do everything alone! Ask your tía nicely to bring her famous Mexican rice. Maybe your grandma can help with the homemade tortillas and your uncle can show up with the hard-to-find chiles de monte. Know someone who is an expert griller? Ask them to hang out by your side in case anything gets out of control. A carne asada is all about the community gathering and sharing of fun times and creating great memories. Friends and family will usually jump at the opportunity to participate.

5. Set the vibes

Take note of calm silence before the storm. Flip on a speaker blasting your favorite tejano or rock hits and watch how quick the life of the party changes. Take requests from your guests and allow the fun to flow throughout the day and into the night. Now what's for dessert?!


All Comments


Most cannot get outside skirt (most goes to restaurants). I tend to use flank steak as inside skirt can be tough.

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