Monday, April 2, 2018

Steak Fajita Bowls

[FTC Disclaimer] This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Fajita bowls are a favorite at our house.  First, they are delicious. Second, they are suitable for using up ingredients in the fridge. Third, because you get to pick and choose your ingredients, they accommodate the picky eaters in your family.

Steak Fajita bowls are ideal for that picky eater because you get to choose your own toppings.

Fajita bowls are a fajita without the flour tortilla. 

  • They have a base of seasoned rice.  I like to use either cilantro lime rice or a Mexican style rice.  
  • They have a grilled protein.  Typically this is steak or chicken that has either been marinated or heavily seasoned.
  • They have a melange of grilled peppers and onions.
  • The rest of the ingredients are up to you.  We like to make a buffet of ingredients and let everyone compose their own fajita bowls.  Some of the ingredients we put out are:
    • avocado 
    • black beans
    • tomatoes
    • fire roasted corn
    • Mexican crema
    • Cotija cheese
    • Shredded Oaxaca cheese
    • Tortilla strips
    • Pico de gallo
    • Store bought black bean and corn salsa for those shortcut nights
    • salsa verde
    • cilantro

The main attraction, of course, is the grilled steak.  Skirt steak is more traditional, but I like the thickness of a good flank steak.  I start off with a Certified Angus Beef® Brand flank steak that I bought at our local Food City. 

You can buy pre-made fajita seasonings at the grocery store.  Typically those are made for 1 pound of meat so you would need to buy 2 for a good sized flank steak. I prefer to make my own NMT Fajita Seasoning Dry Rub recipe, and that is what we used for this steak.

How to score meat
I score my flank steaks by running a sharp knife across the surface making 1/4" deep cuts, which open it up for seasoning and give the edges a neat texture once it is sliced.  TIP:  Hold the steak stretched out like this when seasoning it.

Grilling tip - stretch your meat when seasoning, compact it when cooking.
Holding it open like that lets the seasoning get down into all of the nooks and crannies.

Let the steak do a quick dry brine at room temperature for 1 hour.  This pulls some of the flavorings in and it lets the steak temper before grilling.

While the steak is brining, work on your fruits and veggies.

Start with the onions and peppers.  Put them in a zip-top bag with a tablespoon of oil, a tablespoon of lime juice and about 1.5 teaspoons of fajita seasoning.

Preheat a grill to high heat.  Today I was using a ceramic kamado style grill (Big Green Egg, Primo, etc.) loaded with hardwood lump charcoal. High heat is pretty much anything North of 450°f.  According to Steven Raichlen's "Mississippi test," it should be so hot that you can only hold your hand 6" above the flames for about 1-2 seconds. thermometer

For rice today I made a quick Mexican style rice.  
  • Bring a cup of water, a cup of veggie stock, and 2 tablespoons tomato sauce to a simmer.  
  • Add in 1 cup of long grain rice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of dehydrated onion flake.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  
  • Remove from heat and five minutes later, fluff with a fork. 

Fire roasting corn on a kamado grill like Big Green Egg, Primo, Vision or Grilla Kong
Fire roasting the corn over hot coals. 

Then saute your veggies in a hot cast iron skillet over the hot coals.  Is there any better smell than this cooking outdoors?

Skillet on a grill
Cook the veggies until tender, 5-8 minutes.  

Finally, the centerpiece.  Grill the flank steak until it is an internal temperature of 120-125°f.  Flank steak is best at medium rare of below.  This is almost always 4 minutes a side over a very hot grill for me but go by your instant-read thermometer.

Certified Angus Beef Brand grilled Flank Steak from Food City
Look at that beauty.  

Flank steak sliced
Slice the steak thinly across the grain.  The grain runs along the long side so cut across the shorter side.

Crispy crust on the outside, beautifully medium rare on the inside.  So tender, too.

How to make steak fajita bowls at home
My bowl of rice, steak, and veggies was adorned with tomatoes, avocado, black beans, cilantro and crema.

Steak fajita bowls
Alexis' fajita bowl added tomatoes, black beans, roasted corn, tortilla strips, and cotija cheese.

For other excellent Flank Steak recipes, check out the Recipe Section at Certified Angus Beef® Brand's website.  Better yet, join us at the Certified Angus Beef® Brand Kitchen on Facebook.  A bunch of us share recipe ideas and techniques there.