Back to Tex Mex Basics

Posted in Tex Mex Recipes

Tex Mex cuisine is becoming so popular today that it’s easy to find complicated recipes for Tex Mex dishes. Or to find recipes for a recipes that are a fusion – if you will – of the best of Tex Mex and another type of cuisine.

But let’s get back to basics! Read below for two quick and easy Tex Mex recipes.

Carne Asada

Grilling carne asada.

You will need (makes 4-6 servings):

  • Two pounds of skirt or flank steak
  • Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
  • Olive oil

For the marinade, you will need:

  • Four minced garlic cloves
  • One seeded and minced jalapeño chili pepper
  • One teaspoon of ground cumin seeds
  • One large fresh cilantro (leaves and stems), chopped finely
  • Additional ground black pepper and kosher salt
  • The juice of two limes
  • Two tablespoons of white vinegar
  • Half a teaspoon of sugar
  • Half a cup of olive oil

To make:

  • Place the steak in a large bowl (non-reactive) or baking dish. Combine the ingredients for the marinade and pour the mixture over the steak, making sure that each piece is thoroughly coated.
  • Cover in plastic wrap, place in refrigerator and let stand for one to four hours.
  • When ready to grill, preheat the grill to medium-high flame. For stove-top cooking, use a cast iron grill pan on high heat.
  • Brush grates/pan with a bit of oil to prevent the meat from sticking.
  • Take the steak (brush off excess marinade). Season each side of the steak with the pepper and salt.
  • Grill each piece for just a few minutes on each side until medium rare or well done (to your preference).
  • Place the steaks on a cutting board and let them rest for about five minutes. Then slice them thinly on the diagonal and against the grain.


You will need (makes 6-8 servings):

  • Four pounds of boned pork shoulder. Remove as much fat as you can and cut into large cubes.
  • One quart of beef broth
  • Two cups of tomato salsa (chunky)
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Two cups of tomato salsa/pico de gallo
  • 20 or so corn tortillas

To make:

  • Take a large saucepan and, over medium-high heat, combine the broth, pork and salsa. Add water to completely cover the meat. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Keep it covered and reduce the heat to low and let simmer for at least three to four hours until the pork pulls easily apart (you may have to let it simmer for more than four hours). Add salt, as needed (to taste).
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Take the meat from the pot. Pour out the liquid.
  • Spread the meat in a roasting pan, breaking it into smaller pieces.
  • Roast the meat until crispy and brown (about 15-20 minutes).
  • Heat your tortillas one by one in a microwave or in a hot skillet
  • Double up the warm tortillas and place the carnitas in them by spoon. Top with salsa.
  • Best to serve with avocados, beans and maybe even grated cheese.

If you’d rather not do the cooking, visit a Mattito’s near you to enjoy our own delicious carne asada and carnitas dishes. We look forward to serving you.

Image by Meowmeow10 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons