Thursday, April 12, 2012

Carne Asada Lettuce Wraps

I have had a very stressful week at work and home.

One night I needed something that was simple to make.  I threw this together and it turned out very good.  It certainly didn't hurt that I got to take out some of my frustrations with a meat mallet!

I'll preface this by saying this is my spin on carne asada.  It's not an authentic recipe, but it was close enough for me.  As long as it tastes this good, who cares?  Besides, do you want to take issue with a guy who has a black belt AND a meat mallet?  ;)

Carne Asada Lettuce Wraps, Tex-Mex

Carne Asada Lettuce Wraps
Source:  NibbleMeThis
Serves:  4-5 servings of 2 wraps each

  • 1.5 lbs sirloin steak
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp coarse chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 8-10 lettuce leaves*
  • 2 cups Spanish rice
  1. Use a meat mallet to pound the steak to 1/2" thin.*
  2. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and cumin together for a marinade.  Place the thin meat into a gallon Glad ziptop bag.  Pour the marinade into the bag and massage around to mix thoroughly.  Let marinate for 1-4 hours.
  3. Preheat a charcoal grill to 450f (medium-high heat).  
  4. Remove steak(s) from marinade and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Grill for 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Rest steaks for 5 minutes and then slice thinly across the grain.
  6. Lightly spread 1/4 cup of the Spanish rice on each of the lettuce leaves.  Top with some slices of steak.  Garnish with whatever you like, diced onion, cilantro, etc.
  • I usually use Bibb lettuce when I can find it but tonight I used romaine heart leaves.
  • Cover on both sides with plastic wrap and lightly mist the wrap with water before pounding the meat.
I was going to use flank steak but sirloin was about half the cost.

Carne Asada Lettuce Wraps, Tex-Mex
Beef + Fire = Mmmmmm

Carne Asada Lettuce Wraps, Tex-Mex
Tasty and easy.

I served mine with Pintos a la Diabla - pinto beans in a sauce with de arbol, jalapeno and serrano chiles.  The beans simmered in this 3 chile sauce packs a nice heat, but it's not overwhelming.'s not a dish I made up.  It's from Bush's Beans new line, Cocina Latina

Cocina Latina will be available in select markets, so you might not see it available in every grocery store (you can always contact Bush’s customer service with any questions).   

My family has tried them all, some as side dishes some as an ingredient, and they have been a hit.  My favorite of the line was the Frijoles Charros Machacados (smashed pintos with tomatoes, bacon, serrano peppers and did I mention bacon?).   They taste great with just chips, in a quesadilla, or as a side to any Tex-Mex or Mexican main course.  

Memphis In May
Although I like going to BBQ competitions and taking BBQ classes, I have never actually participated in a BBQ competition.  It is a HARD JOB and I didn't have the desire to put myself through what the dedicated BBQ competitors do.  That ends next month when I will be competing on a team at the world famous Memphis In May.  Memphis In May was one of the first contests I ever saw on TV and it helped pique my interest in the crazy world of BBQ.

My dabbling into competition BBQ is made possible largely thanks to Bush Beans sponsoring some specific posts on my blog this year.  (This isn't one of the posts but they did give me samples of the beans to try.)  Thanks Bush Beans!


  1. The competition sounds exciting! Keep us posted on it all. These wraps sound absolutely perfect for summer. I made a carne asada salad last week that we all loved and now I want to try these too!

  2. Sorry you had a stressful week. At least you got to beat the crap out of some meat!

  3. Good luck in your competition! Your wraps sounds very yummy and I like that you put the spanish rice in these - yum! I love that marinade, too!

  4. this looks killer I have to try this we did your smoked pork chops a while ago and they got rave reviews even from my mother in law (who would complain if they hung her with a new rope) I try to do as many of your recipes as I can haven't missed with one yet. :)

  5. Amen! Authenticity is great, flavor reigns supreme. These look fabulous!

  6. First of all, this recipe sounds delicious. I love finding new twists on bbq - thanks for sharing!
    Second - that's terribly exciting about competing at Memphis in May! I will be down there as well, with my team, SLABS a' Smokin. What team are you on? I'd love to swing by and say hello.

  7. Oh Chris, how exciting for you! You will do fabulous in the competition!! I can't wait to see how it all turns out!
    I know about stressful weeks, been having a few myself. I love that simple, quick and delicious dinners can still be made.. Love lettuce wraps, have done them with everything but steak.. will need to change that soon!

  8. Your meal looks fantastic Chris and good luck at the comp. Two times with a pro team, including a middle of the night thunderstorm cured me.

  9. @Kevin H - I'll be cooking with Neil Gallagher's team "Too Sauced To Pork". We're in space R090. Look forward to meeting you.

  10. I would love to try those beans!!!The carne asada looks amazing!!!I ma hungry :)

  11. Meat, spices, a hammer and then add heat. That is the way to un-stress. Great looking combo as always. Good luck in Memphis and enjoy the competition.

  12. I do not and will not take issue with a man with a meat mallet and a black belt. No sir! I love this idea, but you knew I would. And even better, I just discovered my Whole Foods has pre-marinated carne asada now available daily. Makes it real easy for me to make this meal. And I had no idea about this new line of beans! Thanks for the heads up on that one. Sorry to hear about your bad week Chris.

  13. Can't wait to have you aboard in Memphis Chris...Four days of BBQ Bliss!!!


  14. Sorry for your stressful week but what a way to make yourself feel better - these carne asada lettuce wraps look amazing!!

  15. I hope this week is less stressful for you, Chris! This looks so delicious and easy...perfect for a weeknight meal! I haven't seen those beans in my local market yet, but will keep an eye out for them. They sound deliciious!

    Kim in MD

  16. Put the meat mallet down and slowly step away!! LOL

    Looks like some tasty eats right there. Like how you went with a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla. Good way to cut down on the calories and eat healthier. I need to try that. Great job.

    I'll be looking for those beans.

  17. Your lettuce wraps look amazing! I'm craving food like this since we are having a heatwave in NY. I'm sorry your week was bad - hope this one's going better!

  18. Maybe i should get a meat mallet for those stressed out days in lab...I'm not sure what I would tenderize. But I'm sure I could find someone. i mean...someTHING.

  19. Sorry about the stressful week, but seriously YUM, I've been craving some good carne asada!

  20. Good luck with the Memphis in May fest. I have no doubt you will be great. I know one of these days I'm going to see you with your own show. Love the lettuce wraps by the way :)

  21. Advantageously, the write-up is in reality the freshest topic on this associated concern. I fit in together with your conclusions and will eagerly appear forward to your upcoming updates. Just saying thanks is not going to just be adequate, for the exceptional clarity in your writing. I will straight grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.


Comments are moderated and won't appear immediately.