When I visited San Antonio, Texas, years ago, my cousin took me to the Texas Folklife Festival, where he introduced me to fajitas, telling me that they were originated by poor people who cut "beef skirts" (skirt steak) across the grain to make this tough cut much more tender.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- Juice of two limes
- 1 tsp red pepper flake
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground cumin
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 3 Tbs dark brown sugar
- 50 grams cheddar cheese
- 1 inside skirt steak, cut into 3 equal pieces, about 2.25 lb (1 kg)
- Combine first 7 ingredients in your friendly neighborhood blender until smooth.
- Pour in marinade into a gallon size zip-top plastic bag. Add skirt steak and seal, removing as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably 24 hours or more.
- Remove steak from marinade and place down as close as possible to coals of a preheated charcoal grill. Cook one side until the internal temperature is 125F (51C). Flip and allow to cook until the internal temperature is at least 145F (63C) in the thickest part. These temperatures are enough to safely cook the meat, you may like it more well done.
- Remove and cover immediately, allowing at least 3 minutes to rest. You may wish to immediately wrap tightly with aluminium foil and remove to a low heat area of the grill or a low heat oven to keep ready for less-than-immediate use.
- Meanwhile, drop a 9 - 10 inch (23 - 25 cm) cast iron skillet down on the coals (or a stove).
- Once pan has heated, toss vegetables with vegetable oil. Place in the skillet and cook for at least 2-3 minutes. They should be cooked to a moderately soft state on high heat with some browning evident. A small amount of water can be added, and the pan covered, to partially steam the vegetables if desired.
- Remove and keep warm.
- Slice steak as thinly as possible across the grain.
- The onion and bell pepper are often mixed with the sliced meat in one dish and allowed to marinate together.
- The tortillas, and other ingredients typically served in separate dishes.
- For those who may not know, the eater is expected to use the various items as he or she prefers, there is no need for the cook to do further assembly. The tortillas are used as wrap for the other ingredient, topped with a squirt of lime juice, if desired.