A Spicy Perspective

Carne Asada Tampiqueña (Mexican Steak)

Carne Asada Tampiqueña Recipe – Tender marinated skirt steak grilled with poblano peppers and onion is a bold, flavorful main dish for a delicious Mexican-inspired meal.

Plate of Tampiquena with guac, beans, rice, and enchilada.

Why We Love This Steak Recipe

We tried Tampiqueña for the first time on a recent trip to Puerto Vallarta and were spellbound by the tenderness and overall texture. The flavors are bold and exciting – but, surprisingly, the dish is pretty easy to prepare!

This classic Carne Asada Tampiqueña recipe makes melt-in-your-mouth skirt steak with very little effort. Simply marinate the meat in a vibrant red wine marinade, then grill with fresh poblano peppers and sweet onion. In 5 minutes on the grill you have tender, flavorful Mexican steak to serve as a main dish protein, or slice and serve in tacos!

What is it?

Carne Asada refers to a wide range of grilled red meat dishes. Tampiqueña Carne Asada is a variation from the Mexican city of Tampico. It consists of skirt steak pounded thin and marinated to tender perfection! The meat is most commonly grilled with a combination of onions and poblanos, or other local seasonal produce.

Side dishes often include black beans or pinto beans, rice, and an enchilada with green or red sauce. And these dishes (and their colors) usually represent the specific city and region where the dish is being served.

Top down view of full Tampiqueña Mexican steak plate with side dishes on a large platter.

How is it different from Carne Asada?

Tampiquena is a type of Carne Asada. However, traditional Carne Asada has a more robust marinade and less of a focus on tenderness. Also, it is usually sliced thinly against the grain to counteract the tough texture.

Tampiquena is meant to be served as a whole steak, so tenderness is the focus. This is achieved by pounding the steak thin and marinating it over time.

Close view medium rare Tampiqueña steak with bite.

Ingredients You Need

  • Skirt steak – a thin, flavorful cut of lean meat
  • Poblano peppers – a mild-to-medium hot pepper, milder than a jalapeño, with smoky notes
  • Sweet onions – the larger the onion the sweeter it is
  • Garlic – minced
  • Olive oil – or avocado oil
  • Red wine vinegar – for a vibrant, tangy marinade that beautifully tenderizes the Mexican steak
  • Spices – dried thyme, salt, and pepper
Raw skirt steak on a white cutting board.

How to Make Mexican Tampiqueña

Place the skirt steaks on a plastic board. (Or on a wooden cutting board covered with plastic wrap.) Cover the top of the skirt steak with plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet to vigorously pound the skirt steak into a very thin even layer, flipping to pound on both sides. The more you pound the steak, the more tender the steak will be. Yet stop before the steak falls apart. Then remove the plastic wrap.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to use plastic wrap, but it does help keep little raw meat flecks from flying through the air.

Meat with plastic wrap covering, mallet pounding the meat tender.

Cut each flattened skirt steak in half, lengthwise, to create four long strips.

Note: You can leave them whole for cooking and cut them later if desired. However, one long thin strip per plate is traditional at restaurants.

Two long pieces of strip steak, raw and tenderized on a white cutting board.

Now cut the tops off the poblano peppers. Remove the seeds and slice the peppers into long, thin strips. Then peel the onion, and slice into strips. Mince the garlic.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, dried thyme, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper. 

Place the steak strips in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place the onions and peppers on top of the steaks.

Slices of poblano peppers being added to a marinading dish with raw steak.

Pour the marinade over the top, then move the steaks around a little to make sure the pieces are fully coated in the marinade on all sides.

Pouring marinade from glass pitcher into baking dish with meat, peppers, and onions.

Cover and refrigerate. Allow the Tampiquena steak to marinate for at least 6 hours, up to 24 hours. (The longer the better.)

This is a great recipe to prep the night before it is needed!

Get the Complete (Printable) Carne Asada Tampiqueña Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Top down view Carne Asada marinating in baking dish.

When you are ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium-high heat, around 400°F. Set a grill basket on one side of the grill for the peppers and onions.

Pro Tip: If you do not have a grill basket place a piece of foil on the grill for the vegetables.

Once the grill is hot, place the vegetables in the grill basket. Then place the steak on the grill. Grill the steak for 2 minutes per side, for medium rare.

2 long grilled steaks on a white cutting board.

Remove the steak and flip the vegetables over, cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes until they are softened.

Thin poblano peppers and onions grilled in a grill basket.

If you choose not to slice the steak ahead of time, restaurant style, cut it into strips after grilling.

This recipe makes 2 extra-large servings, 4 large servings, or 6 average-size servings.

Sliced meat on a cutting board.

What to Serve with Tampiqueña

Tampiqueña steak is traditionally thought of as a whole dish, not just the Carne Asada. At restaurants, it is always served with Spanish rice, refried beans, a heaping portion of guacamole or sliced avocados, and grilled poblano peppers. The meal usually also includes a small cheese-filled enchilada with a red sauce, green sauce, or poblano mole on top. However, Mexican home cooks often skip the enchilada portion and serve fresh tortillas on the side.

To plate restaurant-style, place the Carne Asada a la Tampiqueña in the center of the plate and arrange Mexican pinto beans, green rice (arroz verde), guacamole, and a small cheese-filled enchilada on the side. Then place some of the grilled onions and poblano peppers on top of the steak. Or simply serve homestyle with yellow rice (arroz amarillo), refried beans, and your choice of flour or corn tortillas.

How to Make Easy Cheese Enchiladas

It’s easy to make rustic cheese enchiladas in a snap! Roll shredded Monterey Jack cheese in small flour or corn tortillas, then lay them on a baking sheet. Cover with canned green or red enchilada sauce, or Mole.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 5 to 8 minutes, just until the cheese is melted.

Full Tampiqueña plate with beans, rice, guac, and enchilada.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sear Carne Asada in a pan?

Sure! If you don’t have a grill, cook the steak strips in a large cast iron skillet over high heat. 2 minutes per side is perfect for medium rare.

Is steak Tampiqueña spicy?

The Mexican steak marinade is tangy but not spicy. However, poblano peppers do have a bit of heat. You can leave the slightly spicy peppers off for those sensitive to heat!

What is the best way to store and reheat leftovers?

Leftover Carne Asada will keep well for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat in a hot pan on the stovetop for just a minute or so on each side, flipping back and forth a few times as needed. You want the steak to get warm but not overcook the tender meat.

Fork taking a bite of medium rare Tampiqueña Mexican steak from full meal platter.

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Carne Asada Tampiqueña (Mexican Steak)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Marinade Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 19 minutes
Carne Asada Tampiqueña features marinated skirt steak quickly grilled with poblano peppers and onion. It's a flavorful main dish for a delicious Mexican-inspired meal!
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the skirt steaks on a plastic board. (Or on a wooden cutting board covered with plastic wrap.) Cover the top of the skirt steak with plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet to vigorously pound the skirt steak into a very thin even layer, flipping to pound on both sides. The more you pound the steak, the more tender the steak will be. Yet stop before the steak falls apart. Then remove the plastic wrap. *You don’t have to use plastic wrap, but it does keep little raw meat flecks from flying through the air.
  • Cut each flattened skirt steak in half, lengthwise, to create four long strips. (You can leave them whole for cooking and cut them later if desired. However, one long thin strip per plate is traditional at restaurants.)
  • Cut the tops off the poblano peppers. Remove the seeds and slice the peppers into long strips. Then peel the onion, and slice into strips. Mince the garlic.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, dried thyme, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper.
  • Place the steak strips in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Place the onions and peppers on top of the steaks. Pour the marinade over the top, then move the steaks around a little to make sure the pieces are fully coated in marinade on all sides. Cover and refrigerate. Allow the Tampiquena steak to marinate for at least 6 hours, but the longer the better. This is a great recipe to prep the night before it is needed!
  • When you are ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium-high heat, around 400°F. Set a grill basket on one side of the grill for the peppers and onions. (If you do not have a grill basket place a piece of foil on the grill for the vegetables.)
  • Once the grill is hot, place the vegetables in the grill basket. Then place the steak on the grill. Grill the steak 2 minutes per side, for medium rare. Remove the steak and flip the vegetables over, cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes until they are softened.
  • To plate restaurant-style, place the Carne Asada a la Tampiqueña in the center of the plate and arrange Mexican beans, rice, guacamole, and a small cheese-filled enchilada on the side. Place some of the grilled onions and poblano peppers on top of the steak. (Or serve homestyle with rice, beans, and tortillas.)

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5lb, Calories: 527kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 50g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 20g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 143mg, Sodium: 154mg, Potassium: 788mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 258IU, Vitamin C: 49mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 5mg
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Central American, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Author: Sommer Collier

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5 comments on “Carne Asada Tampiqueña (Mexican Steak)”

  1. I am a big fan of your blog. I just want to say thank you for all these inspiring ideas to prepare delicious dishes. Greetings from Calgary.

  2. This is really easy to follow, loved this carne asada tampiquena mexican steak recipe! It’s really tasty and very flavorful! Will surely have this again! Highly recommended!

  3. Totally won my husband’s heart all over again with this recipe!! He said it’s his new favorite. Thank you!

  4. Marinated it overnight and it was so flavorful! Served with beans, mex rice, shredded lettuce, and pico, and the whole family loved it!

  5. this steak is the most delicious thing and tastes amazing in a taco! thank you so much for sharing!