7 Satisfying South-of-the-Border Meat Grills
Of course you can use your grill to do light fish meals and crunchy veggies. But if you ever want to see what that sucker can really do, break out these brawny, Latin-inflected masses of meat, pure meat. 

FNL grill skirt steak fajitas

Skirt Steak Fajitas with Fresh Pico de Gallo
Serves 5

Pico de Gallo
One 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
¾ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped (leave the seeds in if you like more heat)
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Juice of one lime

Fajita Seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon good-quality chili powder
1/2 tablespoon finely ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

2 pounds skirt steak
1 lime, cut in half
10 eight-inch flour tortillas

To make the pico de gallo, put the tomatoes, beans, onion, jalapenos, and cilantro in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the salt, pepper, and lime juice. Mix well and set aside.

To make the fajita seasoning, add the salt, chili powder, pepper, granulated garlic, cumin, white pepper, and cayenne to a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

With a long, thin sharp knife, filet the skirt steak into two thinner steaks by holding the meat down on a cutting board and cutting through it. Cut the steaks into 6-inch pieces. Squeeze one-half of the lime on the meat, and then season it liberally with the fajita seasoning. Flip the meat and repeat.

Prepare the grill for cooking over direct high heat. Place the steaks directly on the cooking grate. Cook for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove to a platter and let rest for 3 minutes. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 1 minute. Meanwhile, slice the steak thinly against the grain. Mix the pico de gallo well again. Divide the meat evenly among the tortillas and let the guests add the pico de gallo.

Recipe & photo courtesy of “Ribs, Chops, Steaks, and Wings,” by Ray Lampe (Chronicle Books).

FNL grill aracherra with guajillo sauce

Aracherra with Guajillo Sauce
Serves 4

6 arbol chiles
5 garlic cloves
½ cup chopped onions
1-½ teaspoons kosher salt
1-½ teaspoons fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 cup olive oil
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile
1 teaspoon brown sugar
4 8- to 10-ounce skirt steaks, all membrane or silverskin removed

Pour all ingredients – except steaks – into a blender and puree until smooth. Brush marinade on both sides of the steaks (coat but do not drown) and let them sit for a couple hours in the fridge to gain maximum flavor.

Guajillo Sauce:
16 guajillo chiles, stemmed
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 cups water
3 tablespoons Mexican oregano

While the steaks are marinating, make the sauce. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, toast the chiles until fragrant and slightly blackened in spots. Remove chiles and coat the pan with oil. Add the onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and sauté until deep brown. Add cumin, fresh ground pepper, water, oregano, and toasted chiles and simmer over low heat until chiles are soft. Puree sauce in a blender.

Prepare your grill and cook steaks to about medium rare to medium. Cut on the bias and serve with Guajillo Sauce and garnishes.

Recipe & photo courtesy “The Elote Cafe Cookbook,” by Jeff Smedstad of Elote Cafe, Sedona, Arizona.

FNL grill Ancho-Rubbed Filets Mignon with Cuban Espresso Sauce

Ancho-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Cuban Espresso Sauce
Serves 6

For filets:
6 1-1/2 –inch thick center-cut beef tenderloin steaks, 8 to 10 ounces
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

For sauce:
10 whole cloves
2 cups veal stock
1/2 cup water
1/2 onion, sliced
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons instant-coffee granules
1 1/2 Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 tablespoons
Lime wedges for garnish

Pat steaks dry. Stir together spices, sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and rub on top and bottom of steaks, then rub oil over spices.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for three hours.

To make the sauce,  grind cloves in a spice grinder until finely ground.  Combine with remaining ingredients except butter in a heavy medium saucepan and simmer briskly, stirring occasionally until reduced to 1 cup, about 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard and discarding solids. Return to cleaned saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk in butter until incorporated, then season with salt and keep warm, covered, off heat.

Over medium heat, grill steaks, turning once, 10 minutes or until grill marks form.  Remove steaks from oven and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 5 minutes.  Transfer steaks to plates.  Top with some sauce and serve remaining sauce on the side.

Recipe & photo courtesy of Havana Blue, Morning Star Beach Club, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

FNL grill Mixed South American Grill with Chimichurri Sauce

Mixed South American Grill with Chimichurri Sauce
Serves 8 to 10

Chimichurri Sauce
4 cups chopped Italian parsley
1 cup chopped scallions, including some green part
¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cups olive oil
2⁄3 cup white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Combine the parsley, scallions, oregano, cilantro, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the lemon juice and zest and pulse, using quick on-and-off turns, to just mince. Do not over-process or purée. Scrape the mixture into a bowl. Add the olive oil and vinegar, and season with salt to taste. Stir to blend well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, or up to 4 days.

½ cup coarse salt
¼ cup minced garlic
Two 6-pound boneless sirloin steaks, about 2 inches thick
Olive oil for rubbing
Cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat and oil the grill. Combine the salt and garlic with 2 cups of cold water, stirring to dissolve the salt. Set aside. Generously coat both sides of the steaks with olive oil. When the grill is very hot, place the steaks on it, cover, and grill for 12 minutes, basting every couple of minutes with the salt/garlic water. Turn, recover, and continue grilling and basting for an additional 12 minutes for medium-rare, or until the meat reaches the desired degree ofdoneness. Remove from the grill and season both sides with pepper. Let stand for about 4 minutes before cutting and serving with Chimichurri Sauce.

Recipe and photo courtesy of From Judith Choate's “A Reader's Cookbook” (Red Rock Press)

FNL grill jerk grilled kurobuta pork tacos

Jerk Grilled Kurobuta Pork Tacos
Makes 6 tacos

3 bunches scallions, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons ground allspice
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
Scotch bonnet chile pepper, stems removed, to taste
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 pork tenderloin
Mango chipotle salsa to taste
6 or more warm tortillas
Toppings such as lettuce, avocado onion and/or sour cream

In a medium bowl, mix together the scallions, onion, garlic, allspice, salt, thyme, pepper, oil, vinegar and honey. Trim the pork tenderloin of all outer silver skin. Using a sharp knife, butterfly the tenderloin and pound slightly with a mallet until meat is approximately ½-inch thick. Place this in the marinade, ensuring the marinade covers the meat. Marinate for 1-3
hours. On a hot grill, grill the tenderloin until desired temperature, typically medium well. Remove the cooked tenderloin from the grill and julienne into thin strips.

To assemble tacos, place on warm tortillas with lettuce, avocado, salsa, onion, sour cream or whatever toppings you wish. Finish with fresh cilantro and lime.

Recipe & photo courtesy of the Beach Club Restaurant, The Breakers Palm Beach.

FNL grill picanho

Picanha with Onion Garlic Mojo
Serves 4

½ cup onions, chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
¾ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-½ teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 zucchini, julienned
½ yellow squash, julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup diced eggplant
¼ red onion, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
4  4-ounce top sirloin steaks

For the Mojo, sauté onions and mushrooms in a lightly oiled pan until onions are translucent and mushrooms are cooked through. Combine the oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano in a small bowl; add salt and pepper if needed. Pour over onions and mushrooms in skillet. Cook until fragrant; do not allow garlic to brown. Remove Mojo from skillet and set aside to cool.

In the same skillet, add zucchini, squash, bell pepper, eggplant and red onion. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until cooked through.  Season steaks with salt and pepper. Grill until desired doneness. To serve, top each steak with the Onion Garlic Mojo.

Recipe and photo courtesy of San Juan Marriott Resort’s La Vista Latin Grill - San Juan, Puerto Rico

FNL grill argentine flank beef steak

Argentine Stuffed Flank Steak
Makes 6 main-course or 10 to 12 appetizer servings

4 small carrots, trimmed and peeled
4 slices bacon
1 thick flank steak, about 2 1/2 pounds, butterflied
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 cups chimichurri sauce
4 ounces baby spinach leaves
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into thin strips

Bring a wide saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until just beginning to get tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and reserve the drippings.

Light a grill for indirect medium-high heat, about 400ºF.

Gently pound the steak to an even thickness of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Mix together the salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano, and then season both sides of the steak with the spice mixture. Reposition so that the cut side is up and the grain is running horizontally.

Spoon 3/4 cup of the chimichurri sauce into a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon drippings. Reserve the remaining chimichurri. Brush about half of the chimichurri-drippings mixture over the top of the steak. Arrange half the spinach in a narrow horizontal row close to the edge of the steak nearest you. Crumble half the bacon and half the onion over the spinach. Make three more rows above the spinach: a row of carrots, then eggs, then bell pepper. Position the pieces end to end as necessary to create long, horizontal rows. Repeat the rows of spinach/onions/bacon, carrots, eggs, and bell pepper, leaving a 1-inch border of uncovered meat at the top. Drizzle some of the chimichurri-drippings mixture over the stuffing, and then roll the steak from bottom to top into a compact roast. Using kitchen string, tie the roast crosswise at 2-inch intervals. Brush all over with the chimichurri-drippings mixture.

Brush the grill grate and coat with oil. Grill the roast directly over the heat until browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes total. Use tongs and a spatula to move the roast to the unheated area of the grill, and close the lid. Cook until the internal temperature of the meat registers 130ºF, 20 to 25 minutes total. During cooking, turn the roast once and baste once or twice with the chimichurri-drippings mixture.

Remove to a cutting board and let stand for 20 minutes. Cut crosswise across the grain into slices about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, removing the string as you go. Serve with the reserved chimichurri. The roast can also be chilled and sliced cold.

Recipe & photo courtesy of “Fire It Up: More Than 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything” by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim, Chronicle Books.

7 Satisfying South-of-the-Border Meat Grills

Of course you can use your grill to do light fish meals and crunchy veggies. But if you ever want to see what that sucker can really do, break out these brawny, Latin-inflected masses of meat, pure meat. 

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