I did Chicken Fajitas/Quesadillas in the past but I decided to kick them up a bit with some beef in the form of flank steak, blackened peppers, and a Caribbean marinade.
This dish has a lot of components to it but once you get the process down it’s just too easy. This is also one of those very social dishes that brings everyone together so that they can make their fajita just the way they want it. As you can see below there are a lot of components here:
Let me break them down for you.
1.5 pounds of flank steak
2 medium chicken breasts (Mom requested chicken so I made some extra)
3 bell peppers, quartered with all seeds and white flesh removed
2 medium size onions, chunked into 6 equal chunks
1 pound shredded cheese (I recommend shredding your own but preshredded will do)
1/2 cup olive oil and pastry brush
Salsa and sour cream for garnish
One bottle Tobago Keys Steakman’s Marinade
The Bud Light Lime is optional
Let’s start off with the beef. Below is a very lean 1.5 pound flank steak:
Basically a very lean cut like this is tough and going to need some flavor. And I have just the thing:
Tobago Keys Steakman’s Marinade. The first ingredient is orange juice. The smell alone makes me think of my honeymoon in Playa del Carmen. This stuff just oozes a Caribbean flavor throughout the meat. And it being highly acidic (the orange juice) it will tenderize quite well. I’m a big fan of the entire line of Tobago Keys stuff.
Into a plastic bag with enough of the marinade to cover all surfaces and into the fridge overnight:
My parents were coming over and my mom requested some chicken as well as a healthier alternative to the beef. I had a cuple partial chicken breasts left over in the freezer from a bag of boneless, skinless breasts. Combined these three pieces make about two medium size breasts. I realize that the marinade is called Steakman’s Marinade but they are selling themselves short. In the end the marinade permeated the meat better on the chicken than the steak. The steak was a great mellow flavor of the Caribbean but the chicken just burst with the flavor:
Also into a bag with the marinade and into the fridge:
Now back to this picture. Get everything chopped and ready before putting anything on the grill in order to save yourself a lot of time:
Once everything is chopped and ready, throw the chicken on:
Once the chicken is done, pull it off the grill and set aside but do not slice yet. Now for the flank steak and the peppers. Directly over a hot fire:
After just 2 minutes flip the flank steak:
After another two minutes remove from the direct heat and continue to cook the peppers. This is where I made a mistake. I should’ve pulled the flank steak right here when it was still pretty rare. Instead I pulled it to the side and closed the lid to hasten the cooking of the peppers which means the steak continued to bake. I will go into why this was a mistake at the end in the, “What I would do different,” section:
Once the peppers are done take them and the steak inside. The peppers are done when they have a nice blackened skin and are fairly pliable rather than stiff when they went on the grill.
Now that I have room on the grill again, time for the onions. While the peppers will not slide through the grill grates when quartered as such, onions will quite easily no matter how big you slice them so I used my grill pan with all the holes in it to do the onions:
Onions have become, soft, translucent and browned up in spots:
Now you are probably asking yourself how the chicken can still be warm at this point. The easy answer is it’s not. But each person will stuff a fajita shell with meat, cheese, pepper, onions, etc and it will go back on the grill to brown the shell and thus reheating everything nicely.
Inside with all the ingredients Dad is slicing up the peppers:
Once the peppers are done he tackled the steak which he cut against the grain. What that means is that those lines are striations that run sort of up and down in the picture above are the grain. Slicing the knife perpendicular to those lines is slicing against the grain like so:
Here is everything sliced with a bowl of shredded cheese, some fajita shells, the onions in another bowl and some salsa verde (but you can use whichever salsa you prefer). The steak is a medium rare to medium. And on it’s own it had great flavor and was very tender. But it was now sliced into thin pieces and going to go back over a heat source which means it will cook very quickly. Considering the second round of heat I should’ve pulled it when it was still really rare. I’m not perfect. We make mistakes too. Hopefully you learn from our mistakes without having to make them yourselves:
Here we have dad with a layer of cheese, topped with some beef and some peppers:
Another layer of cheese is added. Cheese on the top and bottom layer allows for this thing to bind together nicely once it melts:
Dad decided to add some salsa verde as well:
Here are Mom’s two fajitas getting olive oil painted on to keep the shells from burning on the grill:
Before putting anything back on the grill this is a good time to check to see if the fire needs any more fuel. I added about a dozen briquettes at this time and allowed about five minutes for them to heat up.
Then Mom’s went on first:
Here are all six in various stages of turning:
Being the polite pit master that I am, I cooked mine last:
And here they are plated:
A dollop of sour cream completed the meal.
What I would’ve done differently
- Remember that there is a second cooking cycle so pull the beef when it is still pretty rare as it will cook more once back on the grill
- While someone else is slicing the peppers, steak, etc, add more coals to the fire to allow them to heat up and save yourself some time.
A couple of notes.
- When these things come off the grill they are like molten lava inside so please give them plenty of time to cool
- This recipe made a lot more than just enough for six fajitas. My toddler had some of the steak and chicken and I still have enough for a couple more tonight. In order to save on charcoal I will simply make these on the stove. Fajita shell, layer of cheese over half, the leftover ingredients, some salsa, more cheese, fold over and place in a medium high frying pan with a little oil. Heat till both sides are browned and then plate (again contents of the fajita will be like molten lava)
- For those vegetarians out there. These things are excellent with just peppers, onions, cheese, and salsa.
If you have any questions about the fajitas please feel free to comment below shoot me an email.
- 1.5 pounds of flank steak
- 2 tbsp Tobago Keys Steakman’s Marinade
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 bell peppers, quartered with all seeds and white flesh removed
- 2 medium size onions, chunked into 6 equal chunks
- Fajita shells
- 1 pound shredded cheese (I recommend shredding your own but preshredded will do)
- ½ cup olive oil and pastry brush
- Salsa and sour cream for garnish
- Coat the flank steak with the marinade and place in a plastic bag
- Put in the refrigerator for 2-12 hours
- Remove from the marinade and hit each sides with coarse salt and black pepper
- Prepare the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with coals on one side and nothing on the other
- Place the peppers and the flank steak over the coals
- Once the steak gets some nice grill marks (about 2-3 minutes) flip over and repeat on the other side
- Remove the flank steak from the grill
- Continue to grill the peppers, flipping once they get a char on one side
- When the peppers have been blackened on both sides, remove from the heat
- Place the onions in grill pan and place them over the coals
- Grill until the onions become soft and translucent and remove from the heat
- Inside, slice the peppers into long strips and the meat across the grain
- Place the tortillas out flat
- Cover one side with layers of cheese, peppers, onions, meat and another layer of cheese
- Sour cream and salsa are also optional
- Fold the tortilla shell in half to create the fajita
- Paint the olive oil on the outside of the tortilla shells with a pastry brush
- Place the fajitas right over the coals
- Check frequently as they will burn quickly
- When they are browned on one side, flip them over and toast on the other side
- Remove from the heat and allow to rest as they will be like molten lava inside