This humble Midwestern girl was skkerrrred to attempt carne asada. What the heck do I now about salsa and spices and mariachi music? Nada. But I do know what’s quick and easy to feed my family, and ways to get the little ones to like it too. So call me inauthentic, call me a fraud, but whatever you do, don’t call me unoriginal with this grilled carne asada with tomatillo watermelon salsa.
Was Einstein afraid to tackle the unknown? No, that hairy man just went for it. I mean, I’m not comparing myself to Einstein (I can barely add), BUT just sayin’ that anything is possible. Fear is in the eye of the beholder.
Oh wait, that’s not how it goes. Fear is for babies. Yeah, that’s more my style. My language and world count has drastically taken a turn for the worse since having kids. It’s amazing I can even communicate anything more than, “do you have poopy in your pants?”, “don’t touch that!!! BIG owie!”, “just stay here for 2 minutes while mommy goes potty…”, and “just take one more bite”.
Lucky for me, I added another phrase to my already stellar vocab the night I served this to my family and my toddler ate it ALL. “Do you want more?”
DO.YOU.WANT.MORE. Such simple words that can mean so much. Almost as powerful as I love you when it comes to kids eating what you serve them. Let me rephrase, kids eating the STEAK that you served them.
I have a feeling it was the watermelon. I could have thrown glitter on top, or even the marshmallows from a Lucky Charms box and I don’t think it would have had as positive impact as the watermelon. #MOMWIN
I knew my husband would scarf this down (because….steak) and I’ll obviously put it on rotation because it’s Whole30 compliant. But kids, man they are tricky sometimes. Luckily ketchup seems to do the trick when my toddler doesn’t want to try something. Kids love ketchup something fierce.
But no ketchup or bribery needed for this meal that could feed a crowd. You can serve this grilled carne asada with tomatillo watermelon salsa in tortillas for tacos, over cilantro lime cauliflower rice, on a big fat bed of shredded cabbage, or just straight off the cutting board. It really doesn’t matter your ‘inhale the meat’ style.
The prep is simple. Combine all the marinate ingredients in a large, sealable bag or glass dish and refrigerate overnight. Once marinated, turn the grill on high and once preheated, place the tomatillos on the grates and roast for roughly 10 minutes, turning frequently until nice and charred. Add the onion and seeded jalapeno (*optional – I left this out because I’m a wuss, but it does add a nice kick to any salsa) just before taking the tomatillos off, allowing them to roast a few minutes. You can also roast the vegetables over an open flame on gas stove if desired.
Once you remove the vegetables, add the steak, searing roughly 3 minute per side, depending on the thickness. After the meat is cooked, let it rest as you place the charred veggies, cilantro, and cumin into a food processor and pulse until combined yet chunky. Add the 1/2 cup finely diced watermelon to the salsa.
Then smother that goodness all over and watch in amazement as unicorns dance over little heads and husband’s smile shines bright as the morning sun. Or just devour as you secretly give yourself a big pat on the back – regardless if you’re a master at Mexican-inspired dishes, or as far from knowing how to cook authentic Mexican as Einstein is to the Kardashians.
Grilled Carne Asada with Tomatillo Watermelon Salsa (paleo + whole30)
- 1– 1 1/2 lbs skirt steak
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 tomatillos, husked
- 1/2 small onion, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 cup finely diced watermelon
- *optional – 1 seeded jalapeno
- Combine all the marinade ingredients and pour into a sealable bag or glass dish. Place the skirt steak in the bag or dish and let marinate overnight
- Turn grill on to high
- Once grill is preheated, place the tomatillos on well-oiled grates. Turn frequently for roughly 10 minutes, until tomatillos are slightly charred on the outside
- Before the tomatillos are finished roasting, add the cut onion and jalapeño (if desired) for a few minutes, until outsides are slightly charred
- Remove the vegetables and place the steak on the grill, cooking for roughly 2-3 minutes per side, depending on thickness
- Once the steak is cooked, let rest and make salsa. Place the charred vegetables, cilantro, and cumin into a food processor and pulse until combined yet chunky. Remove from the food processor and add the diced watermelons
- Serve the salsa over the cut steak