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Featured BBQ'n

Fajita recipe from the Rio Grande Valley and Matamorous, Mexico


Actually I have contributed to BBQ history having PERSONALLY contributed to the FAME of Fajitas outside of S. Texas by introducing it to my then girlfriend who was a caterer for huge rock shows (esp. outdoor) in the late 70's & early 80's where she fed literally 100's of famous people with my "borrowed" Fajita recipe from the Rio Grande Valley and Matamorous, Mexico "cookers".

The "avalanche" occurred when I held a "Fajita" party for scores of socially "wired" attorneys, doctors but really two restaurant owners and developers (out of Austin!!) who then opened a Fajitas restaurant in Denver, CO. in 1982. Then the only way I could find mesquite was to bribe the one single restaurant manager of the "Trail Dust Steak House" to let me steal some wood from his pile before the party.

The meat was obtained (RESCUED) from some Bro's who owned a meat packing plant here in Denver and "turned" the "Skirt Steaks" into "CUBE STEAKS" (no less??). Our Mexican American Community had barely HEARD of them and had NO clue how to get the meat or wood either, much less the marinade.

At the party one of my guests who was a famous creative director in advertising (one of Studs Terkel's most influential Americans, 5 out of 200 which were in advertising) out of Chicago so loved the taste he took it to several large Companies in the food and restaurant industries and the rest (as they say) is history. The WEIRD thing is I personally never profited ANY from the recipes or information as I'm an armature cook and PROUD of it! But the real credit goes to the Mexican Americans I obtained the information from.

Lastly NOW they call all meats Fajitas which is uninformed and just WRONG. Fajitas are beef skirts (you can substitute Flank Steak but..............) and nothing else and I never got them cooked over anything but charcoal mesquite and wet & cured mesquite strips, period. If anyone wants the "authentic" marinade just go to "El Chapparel" in Matamorous, Mexico!! I'll look forward to more Great info on your Site and keep up the good or rather DELICIOUS work.

Contributed by:
Ron Vallery

The following recipe represents our Grand Opener for Barbecue'n On The Internet's(TM) Weekly Recipe section. Not only a fantastic recipe for preparing beef Fajitas but Ron includes all the necessary steps to make this event an entire meal! Special thanks go to Ron Vallery of Lakewood, Colorado for his generosity in starting our pages off right! Hey thanks, Ron!

The Marinade:

    1 or 2 Bottles of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (the ingredients are for 1 bottle & mix)
    2 Sections of crushed "fresh" (Mexican if you got it) garlic
    2 or 3 "fresh" cut lime 1/4's
    1 teaspoon thyme
    1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional if you like it or have none in the beans)
    1/4 cup of brown sugar
    1 sprig of "fresh" cilantro

The Meat:

    2 or 3 sections (3 or 4 pounds?) Fresh cured (preferably NOT pre-frozen) lean Beef skirt steaks.

The Instructions:
Prep skirts by cross cutting the striated membrane (and remove the "excess" parts as much as possible)(if you don't do this it'll be rubbery & tough).

Set meat aside in large bowl and let come to "room" temperature while you make the marinate.

In 2 quart bowl combine crushed garlic (you can save 1 crushed section and "smear" it over the steaks if you like it "more" garlicky or you cook your Fajitas well done). Pour in the Lea & Perrins, add brown sugar, thyme, (and cumin here if your a going use it?) squeeze in the limes (thoroughly inc. some of the rind oils) and throw the sections in the liquid, crush a few sprigs of the cilantro (less the stems) on the edge of the bowl and grind the rest of the leaves 2 tsp. TOTAL into the liquid through your fingers to get the "taste" in.

Pour the liquid over the skirts and make sure the meat is ALL covered. (you can add some water but don't get carried away) Cover with Saran wrap and let chill overnight if possible. 1 hr or 2 before you cook the Fajitas let the meat in the marinate come up to room temperature. (I've been known to put it in the sun for 1/2 hr just before I cook it, but this will BUG the Ladies!!)

Start charcoal fire and wait till glowing (use mesquite charcoal if you can get it, try REAL wood charcoal not briquettes although everyone doesn't live on the border with Mexico). Soak some 1/2" dry mesquite wood strips 6" long in warm water for 20 minutes before cooking. When fire is HOTTEST place 3 or 4 mesquite strips on fire and begin grilling the Fajitas, keep covered to "smoke" them good and keep spraying the strips to keep them from burning and to continue them smoking. Baste the Fajitas ONCE on each side before turning in the marinate to keep up the flavor. Fajitas are best medium with a good "char" on the surface. If you smoke em' right they'll be BLUE 1/8" into the surface of the meat!! Don't forget to KEEP ADDING STRIPS, as they burn (you can't stop em' so don't try just use water, and DON'T SPRAY THE MEAT GUYS or the fire, Good Luck on that Task ;) When the Fajitas are done quickly CHOP them up with a chef's knife (across grain) in 1/2 " sections and serve with salsa and beans in tortillas (recipes below).

Recipe for Salsa

    tomatoes, (oval "Italian" ones or regular) ripe but FIRM.
    green peppers (the 1 1/2 in. "short" hot ones)(when prepping take out MOST or all of the seeds Or you'll Be Sorry tomorrow!!)
    sweet yellow onions "fresh"
    cilantro, "fresh"
    Mexican or excellent Italian olive oil

Chop onions, tomatoes, peppers, in equal amounts and 1 Tbsp. cilantro

Mix together without mashing or bruising tomatoes, make as much as needed but to every Pint add 2 tbsp. olive oil and then squeeze 1 lime "over" the top and as the lime "fractures" the oil (it works like a "salad dressing") carefully stir, cover and immediately refrigerate until used. Let come near room temperature before eating.

Recipe for Beans:
Use Pinto Beans (if dry soak, if canned DON'T)
Use garlic, onion & saute in PORK FAT in sauce pan until tender, add cumin powder & "fresh" cilantro leaves (to taste) with water and simmer ALL day adding water as needed. You can add a smidgin' of chili powder or fresh chopped green pepper after the saute but don't make chili kids.

The Dish!
Mix them all, FRESH steamed flour tortillas, or ones expertly made by a sweet lady who knows how to do it by frying them in an iron skillet and steam em' when ready. By laying out the tortilla flat and putting in 1/2 cup of Fajitas, 2 Tbspns. Beans, & 1/2 Tbspn. salsa and roll it up and pig out big time. Tres Equis Beer w/ lime squeezed in goes great with em' And though I'm a WASP from Denver & Boulder, Colorado I owe it all to the Mexican and Mexican American Folks who patiently walked me through it dish by dish.

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Bad Weather?  Too hot or cold? Know what your bbq pit is doing with these Wireless Thermometers

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Get all of Smoky Hale's wisdom and become the best cook around. Learn to do it right!

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