Fajitas are a super quick meal, loaded with flavor. These are so simple to make with generous portions of juicy steak and flavor bursts. Chipotle skirt steak fajitas are quite spicy but balanced out with sweet peppers, cilantro, and sour cream.
Grilled strips of flavor
The Spanish word “fajita” means “little strip” which makes sense when you look at the tacos above. Making fajitas couldn’t be easier, simply cutting veggies into strips and grilling a thin steak at high heat.
I haven’t tried this recipe with chicken or pork, but I assume it would do just fine as well. The chipotle-coffee marinade is specifically designed to enhance the natural beefy flavors, bringing out smoky, roasted, and earthy tones with a punch of heat.
Skirt Steak is a Sponge
Skirt steak or flank steak are the most commonly used cuts for fajitas. Personally, I choose skirt steak every time because of the fat content and it’s sponge qualities. It’s so tender that sometimes you have to be careful of it falling apart when raw. All of those open pockets of muscles and fat soak up marinades so well.
That depends on the amount of acid. The more acid in the marinade, the shorter the time. Generally, I will marinate my skirts steaks for a minimum of one hour in the fridge, sealed in a plastic bag. It won’t hurt if you keep it sealed overnight, but I would avoid doing a 24-hour marinate with skirt steak.
The components of fajitas
Fajitas are not complicated: Sliced meat, thin-sliced veggies, and tortillas. These chipotle skirt steak fajitas are designed to have a combination of spicy, smoky, and sweet. The biggest key is making sure that you’re balancing out your flavor profiles for the most explosive bites. Let’s talk about those flavors right now:
- Spicy & Savory Steak. The marinade includes chopped chipotle chiles in adobo, coffee, minced garlic, and a few other components. Bold, explosive flavors are soaked into the meet to complement the beefy flavor you’re looking for with each bite. The marinade doesn’t need every flavor profile, that’s why we have…
- Peppers & Onions. These are going to be softer, and sweet. We don’t want gooey, soft peppers, just soft enough that you’re not crunching down. You could add something spicy like jalapenos, but I promise you that the steak has that extra kick.
- Something Cool. So, I like sour cream for this one. Guacamole would work too. The reason this is important is that the sour cream (or guac) not only cools the mouth from the heat but also has acid. The extra acid ties the earthiness of the chiles and coffee together with the sweet veggies.
Multitasking on the grill
The vegetables will take 8-10 minutes to soften, so I would recommend firing them up alongside the steak if you have enough grilling surface. If you don’t and you’re a single-burger cook, just cook the steak first and let it rest under loosely tented foil while you cook the veggies. It will all work out.
Once you’ve got the peppers, onions, and skirt steak ready to go. Slice against the grain and serve right away!
Frequently Asked Questions
Any thin grilling steak will work for this recipe. If you use a thicker steak like a ribeye, the process will be different, but the results would sure taste great!
Yes, just know that they will change the flavors. I also like to use poblanos, which are more bitter. Green peppers are also more bitter, so if you used both it would be overwhelming. Pay attention to the flavors.
Sure! You should try soy, and omit the salt in the marinade. The combination is pretty delicious and adds some extra umami. Beef stock would work as well, just remember this also has salt.
I prefer flour, which is more traditional as well. Flour tortillas soak up the juices better, and are generally larger which means it will hold the filling.
- 1 lb skirt steak (or flank steak
- 2 chipotles in adobo, chopped fine
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp brewed coffee
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 red bell pepper, diced into thin strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced into thin strips
- 1/2 white or red onion, diced into thin strips
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- Sour cream, for serving
- Flour tortillas
- Prepare the marinade. Mix the chipotles, garlic, oil, coffee, lime juice, and salt together so they are fully incorporated. Place the steak in a sealable bag, and pour the marinade in. Marinate for at least an hour in the fridge, up to overnight.
- Prepare the veggies for cooking, slicing everything into thin strips. Take the steak out of the fridge and the marinade, let it come to room temp.
- Set your grill for high searing, around 400-450°F.
- Sear your skirt steak over the grill. Flip every 30 seconds, building the crust. Continue to do this for about 4-6 minutes until it reaches the target temperature. Remove at 130°F for medium-rare, and set it aside to rest under loosely tented foil.
- Place a skillet or saute pan on the grill, allowing it to warm up with the oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the peppers and onions, then season with salt. Cook them until softened, but not mushy. This should take between 6-8 minutes. Add in the cilantro at the end and stir. Taste and adjust with more salt if needed.
- Slice the skirt steak in half, and then cut against the grain length-wise. Serve immediately with warm tortillas, sour cream, and more cilantro if desired.
Use any combo of peppers and onions you’d like. Red onions will have a sharper flavor, white and yellow will be milder and sweeter.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Marinade: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Beef
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: mexican, beef, steak, skirt steak, fajitas, grilling, vegetables, sour cream, salsa, chipotle