It’s not like Taco Tuesday is some recent newfound holiday. In fact, there are two things you can always count on. There are tacos, and they are consumed on a Tuesday. Of course, in a world where every meal is planned, purchased, and prepped days in advance, this weekly event is met with anticipation. This is not my world. For me, it’s leaving work a little late and realizing It’s Taco Tuesday AND beautiful outside. The latter is what I call a value add on. The former is what gets my ass to the grocery.
Just because Taco Tuesday is a grilling afterthought does not lessen the event. In fact, it might just make it better.
This recipe is more process than recipe. Use my guidelines and add your own twist or flavor profiles.
But for now, fire up the grill.
There is nothing I love to see more than smoke rising from a lit charcoal chimney backlit by a canvas of lush summer green trees. Sure, I’ll take a lit grill any time of year, but these warm months make it all the better.
My tacos require homemade salsa. The effort nor quality of results should be intimidating. It is crazy easy to achieve not just good salsa, but a fresh smokey take better than anything store bought.
Salsa prep is first. I’ve written about grilled salsa before on the Weber blog. Tonight, I opted for more peppers and fewer tomatoes. In this case, a few Roma, a few jalapeños, a bell pepper, and a poblano. If you want more heat, add another jalapeño, or maybe a Serrano. The poblano, while not adding heat, adds depth, much like the bell pepper.
Grill the peppers over direct high heat (450° to 550° F), occasionally rotating, until the skin is blistered all over, approximately 8 to 15 minutes. The tomatoes will be done first, quickly followed by the jalapeños and poblano. The bell pepper will take the longest. Also, be careful not to overcook the poblano. There is only a short window between blistered skin and scorched pepper.
Remove the tomatoes from the grill and allow to cool. Place all of the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to steam in their own heat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. The steaming action will aid in removing the pepper’s charred skin.
Remove the peppers from the bowl, remove their skin, de-seed, and roughly chop. Remove the tomato's skin and cut into quarters. Place all of the vegetables in a food processor. Add in about a quarter cup of cilantro, the juice of two limes and several pinches of salt.
Pulse the food processor to break up the vegetables. The idea is not to puree the ingredients, but break them down until they are coarse and the salsa has texture.
Remove any excess fat from the flank steak, place on a wire rack and season. There is so much ancillary flavor in the tacos, I really want the meat to come through. Going overboard with a multi-ingredient rub can easily get lost in the shuffle. Lightly brush the steak with olive oil and season aggressively with kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper, and granulated garlic.
For medium rare, grill the steak over direct high heat approximately 7 to 9 minutes flipping once.
Remove from the grill and while the steak rests, grill the tacos over direct high heat for only a few seconds a side.
When the tortilla starts to inflate like a whoopee cushion, it’s ready to be flipped and/or removed. Place the tortillas in aluminum foil to keep them warm.
Finally, take a few limes, cut them in half, and grill the limes flesh side down for about a minute or two.
Cut the flank steak into small bite-size pieces.
I loaded my tacos with the steak, fresh guacamole, the salsa, cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze from one of the grilled lime halves. Fairly sure I ate them in under 10 minutes.
And the beer! How could I forget? Several breweries have started selling Mexican style lagers. In other words, a much better version of Corona. Personally, I’ve never been a Corona drinker. I’d much rather reach for a Pacifico or a Tecate. Regardless, Sierra Nevada’s Sierraveza was a far better choice than them all.
While a complete afterthought, I managed to celebrate Taco Tuesday in style. Maybe just one of these days I’ll actually plan for it.