Cinco de Mayo is the kind of holiday that outdoor cooks live for. Grilled meat, fresh tortillas, hot sauces and salsas, and plenty of Cerveza Fria!
Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a celebration held on May 5 (duh). It’s celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is called El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla).The date is observed observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Contrary to widespread popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day—the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico—which is actually celebrated on September 16.
Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.
Here’s what dinner’s gonna look like at my house, this year…
Carne Asada is a Mexican recipe for marinated, grilled beef served in in tortillas. This is not your run of the mill taco. This is a flavorful and delicious meal that is great for any occasion, and, for my money, skirt steak is one of the best cuts of meat you can ever toss on the grill!
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Total Time: 42 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
2 pounds skirt steak
12 flour tortillas
1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 medium onion chopped
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cumin
1 cup fresh pepper pico
1 cup simple guacamole
2 teaspoons hot sauce
Mix juices, garlic, onion, tequila, hot sauce, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add meat and marinate both sides. Cover and refrigerate, turning meat over occasionally. Let steak marinade for 6 to 8 hours. Preheat grill. Place a few drops of water on each tortilla, stack and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on grill. Remove meat from marinade, discarding marinade.
Place on grill. Turn steak and tortillas once during cooking. Cook to your liking (12 to 15 minutes for medium-rare). Cut into thin slices, across the grain. Place a few slices of steak on each tortilla with salsa and guacamole and serve.
Fresh Pepper Pico
Some folks aren’t fans of the heat, like I am…so I developed this recipe to allow me to minimize the fire by cutting out the jalapeno and some of the white onion (yes, some folks find white onion to be “too hot”) but still retain the contrasting crunch of those crisp, raw veggies with the fresh tomatoes. (And it’s purty, too!)
This attempt got major kudos from the “Mild not Wild” portion of the family.
5 fresh Roma tomatoes, chilled and diced
1/2 large white onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 large orange bell pepper, diced
2 Tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tbs fresh minced garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
3 medium Haas avocados, ripe. Peeled and diced.
1 Tbs lime juice
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.
Mix and chill
Elote (Mexican grilled corn)
4 ears corn, shucked
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
4 wedges lime
Preheat your grill for medium-high heat.
Grill corn until hot and lightly charred all over, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the grill. Roll the ears in melted butter, then spread evenly with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with cotija cheese and serve with a lime wedge.
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 lime wedge
1 cup watermelon puree (*see note)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup premium 100 percent agave tequila
1 cup ice
In a medium saucepan, combine the lime zest, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and strain out the zest. (Can be made in advance; keep in a covered container in the refrigerator.)
Chill a margarita glass in the freezer for 30 minutes. Place the coarse salt in a shallow dish or saucer. Wet the rim of the glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass into the salt, coating the top edge.
In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 tablespoons of the cooled lime syrup with the watermelon puree, lime juice, tequila, and ice. Shake until frothy and well chilled, at least 1 minute. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
*Note: To make the watermelon puree, remove seeds from fresh watermelon and cut into large chunks. Place in a blender and process until smooth.