Best Carne Asada Marinade recipe ever!

Best Carne Asada Marinade recipe ever! at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet  -

This carne asada marinade recipe came out of a recent culinary challenge I faced. I had to cook up the mountain goat my husband bagged in September. We had our local game processor make the meat into German, Italian and chorizo sausage – all of which have been fantastic.

However, I was concerned with the steaks and chops. Could a carne asada marinade overcome the gamey flavor and tenderize the tough meat?

It’s all about the vinegar

We love authentic Mexican carne asada and have learned to make it at home using a recipe my husband found on the Internet. (There are so many similar versions online that I’m not sure who to credit as the author.)

Traditionally, a carne asada marinade uses red wine vinegar. Instead, I decided to do things differently and use Holland House Malt Vinegar. Both Holland House Malt Vinegar and Holland House Red Wine Vinegar have 5% acidity, which makes both perfect for breaking down and tenderizing tough meat. However, the malt vinegar has a wonderful, strong zingy taste that goes well with the lime and orange juices.

My Carne Asada Marinade recipe will marinade five to six pounds of meat and can be easily halved for a small dinner with no leftover or doubled for a big party or tail gating. If you’re using beef, use skirt steak or a similar thin cut, as show above, and marinate 24 to 48 hours. (The tougher the meat, the longer you should marinate it.)

Rocky Mountain Goat

Slow cooker pulled carne asada

Traditionally, you grill carne asada meat. I tried that on half the mountain goat meat I prepared. While it was extremely delicious, it was still chewy even after marinating the mountain goat for over two days!

Instead, I decided to cook the other half of the meat in the slow cooker. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as sweet and tangy as the grilled carne asada. It was still tasty and tender, more like “pulled” meat, which is what I was shooting for. From now on, all mountain goat meat will be slow cooked. Lesson learned.

Best Carne Asada Marinade recipe ever! at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet  -

Best Carne Asada Marinade Recipe Ever!


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup Holland House Malt Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup lime juice or lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons peeled fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 5-6 pounds skirt steak


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Place meat in gallon sized freezer bag, in the bottom of a shallow baking dish, or a non-reactive (plastic or glass) storage container with a lid.
  3. Pour carne asada marinade on top of meat, cover dish or close bag, and marinate overnight up to 48 hours in the refrigerator.

Grilling the marinated carne asada:

  1. Take meat out of container and grill until just cooked through. (Rare to medium rare.)
  2. Cut cooked meat into strips.
  3. Place meat and favorite toppings (salsa, cheese, guacamole, avocado slices, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, grilled sweet peppers, etc.) in a tortilla to make into tacos or burritos. You can also serve meat over rice for a carne asada bowl.

Slow cooking the marinated carne asada:

  1. After marinating for one or two days, place meat and marinade in a slow cooker.
  2. Slow cook for 10 to 12 hours on low.
  3. Meat should be extra tender and can be shredded with a fork.
  4. Place meat and favorite toppings (salsa, cheese, guacamole, avocado slices, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, grilled sweet peppers, etc.) in a tortilla to make into tacos or burritos. You can also serve meat over rice for a carne asada bowl.
Prep Time: 48 Hours 20 Minutes
Servings: Feeds 4 to 6 with leftovers
  • Serving size: 1/2 pound per person

Disclosure: Mizkan, the parent company of Holland House, provided compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

23 thoughts on “Best Carne Asada Marinade recipe ever!

  1. Will Barks

    I will try this out. I have bagged 2 mountain goats on Kodiak Island. They are great to eat and incredibly fun to watch and hunt. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Have you tried using Tequila instead of vinegar? It is a traditional ingredient.

    1. Anne-Marie Nichols Post author

      Will, congrats on bagging two mountain goats! My advice is to have most of the meat turned into sausage. It’s really crazy that you have to slow cook the meat for 15-20 to deal with its toughness.

      No, I’ve never used tequila in any of the carne asada marinades I’ve tried. One even used Coca-Cola, believe it or not.

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  8. Lori

    Hi! I came across your recipe while searching for a carne asada recipe. Do you think your recipe would still turn out OK if the malt vinegar was not used? Would you recommend the red wine vinegar or some other type of vinegar? I am eating gluten-free and I believe that anything with malt contains gluten. Thanks!

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  10. Nancy Jensen

    I tried to print this recipe and it does not fully print the amounts or ingredients. Very odd, like it’s been redacked. H’mmm. Been looking for a long time for a recipe like this..

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  12. Tracy

    My husband went on and on about how good carne asada is when I moved out here 6 years ago and when I would order at a restaurant it was, eh, bland.. He said true carne asada is full of flavor. So he drove over to Blythe, CA from here in Phoenix and came back with some Carne Asada that was everything he said true carne was. I don’t recall where he got it, but he came home with 40 lbs of it! Anyway, after trying that delicious meat, I had to find a recipe to make it. I searched through many recipe’s and the ingredient lists were not things I expected for carne, until I came across your recipe. We put together the marinade today and added the skirt steak. I bought about 5 lbs to try out. We opened the bag this evening and it smells so good! WE are excited to try it Tuesday night. I will let you know how it goes. Usually I read reviews to see how other’s liked a recipe, but most of the time they just comment on how they would like to try something, or sounds good. I like to give true feedback. I appreciate that you have posted this recipe for the rest of us. Thanks!!

    1. Tracy

      We cooked this carne asada tonight and it was so great! We are so happy to have a great recipe to make at home. Thanks!! Very, very good!

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  14. Suzanne Mardesen

    This was awesome! We omitted garlic due to an allergy and did not have any cilantro and was still very good!


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