Chipotle Beef Tacos

Aside from providing a recipe for REALLY delicious tacos, this post is also a cautionary tale: Beware of chipotle smoke. Gabe got a new double-sided stovetop grill for Christmas (thanks, Mom), so we were using it for the first time last night. I seasoned it per the instructions by heating it and brushing it with oil, and then threw on tomatillos and onions. This created a little smoke, but nothing to write home about. When we put the chipotle-marinaded beef on the grill, that’s when the real drama happened. Chipotle smoke is no joke. Essentially, Gabe and I smoked out the kitchen and found ourselves coughing up our lungs until we got all the spicy smoke out of there. So, take heed: be sure to use enough oil and keep a check on the heat to avoid the smoke out. Pounding out the meat for a quicker, more even cooking would help, too.

By the time we finished these, we were so out of it from all the smoke inhalation that I forgot to get a picture of the finished taco. But, man, these tacos were worth it. I’d hack up my other lung if I had to in order to make these again. (Though next time I’m gonna take it easy. Use more oil. Be gentle with the grill.)

This is Rick Bayless’s recipe, by way of Serious Eats, by way of Melissa. My only addition was a squeeze of lime. They are spicy and amazingly flavorful. Not hard to make, either. Just don’t burn down the house.

Chipotle Beef Tacos
from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

3 cloves garlic
4 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 7-oz. can chipotle chiles in adobo
1 lb. skirt or flank steak
3 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced into 1/4″ strips
1 medium onion, diced
12 corn tortillas
small handful of cilantro, chopped
2 limes

Cut the tomatillos in half and place on a dry non-stick skillet with the garlic cloves. Char over medium-high heat, turning so both sides are charred, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and add 1 chipotle, plus salt to taste. Blend thoroughly and check for seasoning. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the remaining chipotles in adobo into the food processor and process until smooth. Using a meat mallet, pound the steak until it is an even thickness. Brush the steak with the blended chipotles and let the meat rest for a few minutes.

Heat 2 tbsp. of oil over med-high heat in a skillet and cook the onions in strips until golden.

Increase the heat to high and add the remaining oil. Cook the steak to desired doneness. Let the meat rest before you cut into it, then slice thinly across the meat’s natural grain.

Wrap the tortillas in a kitchen towel with a splash of water and microwave on 50 percent for 4 minutes to steam them.

Build the taco by filling the tortilla with steak, salsa, cooked onions, raw onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.


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About Kate Soto

One response to “Chipotle Beef Tacos”

  1. Katy says :

    whoa, i don’t eat meat but you had me at “chipotle smoke”! this tale reminds me of the time matthew made burma superstar’s famous samosa soup for his birthday (31st?) and i was in charge of pre-sauteeing the chilis and spices. man, i almost smoked out the entire party! nothing like burning hot flames of chili smoke to make you excited for the meal ahead.

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