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Steak fajita meat in marinade

I’ve made this steak fajita marinade for Eva Longoria, Lyle Lovett, Andy Dalton, Tony Parker, Tyler Seguin, and Bobby Flay, so you might say this recipe has been well-tested.

As a private chef you learn what your best recipes are because they end up being everyone’s favorite recipes, requested time and time again, no matter who they are or how exciting their life is. This steak fajita marinade recipe is my masterpiece, the perfect blend of mouth watering flavor and medium rare tenderness—let’s make it tonight for your family.

Steak Fajita Meat Grilled To Perfection

What Meat Should I Buy For Fajitas:

If you’re in the south and southwest you should experiment with skirt steak and flank steak until you know the difference, and develop a preference.

I’ve gone back and forth my entire career as a chef and I have learned that some grocery stores just carry really crappy skirt steak. I’m no butcher, but my experience has been that certain grocery stores will hide the fat side down and sell you WAY MORE FAT than is reasonable on that cut of meat, and that’s why they package it fat side down. Crappy huh?

Raw Skirt Steak in a dish

Don’t judge skirt steak on those offerings though. Find a place where you feel has consistently lean and meaty (though speckled with fat) skirt steak and compare it to flank steak with the same preparation. Flank steak is consistently meaty and there is no way the grocery store can sell you a bad piece, but it’s missing some delicious flavor from not having any fat at all like skirt steak. With fat comes flavor! So, if these are your two choices you must try them both, preferably with this steak fajita marinade, and choose for yourself. Then you’ll be a real expert anyways.

In case you can’t tell, my favorite meat to make beef fajitas with, when choosing between flank and skirt steak, is skirt steak.  When you get a well marbled piece of skirt steak, combined with this beef fajita marinade, you’d better be ready to answer all of your guests’ questions on how you made your fajitas so tender and flavorful!

Now, if you’re in California, you’ll have your choice of skirt, flank, and tri-tip. Tri-tip is really cool because it’s beautifully marbled with fat and can be butterflied for thinner slices, which means more exposure to the marinade!

No matter where you are, check to see if you have a Mexican grocery store or butcher shop nearby. They have expertly sliced fajita meat specifically butterflied and butchered thin in order to soak up marinades, and sear hot and fast. That’s where I got this beautiful skirt steak to complement the best beef fajita marinade recipe, in my opinion of course…

Skirt Steak awaiting marinade

Steak Fajita Marinade Ingredients:

Here is the Texas secret to making the best steak fajita marinade recipe. You’ve got to use pineapple juice.

This gives the beef fajitas a truly authentic Tex-Mex flavor and it works for several reasons. First, pineapple juice is what powdered meat tenderizer is usually made from (pineapples or papayas). Enzymes in pineapple juice break down the steak, and although you will still get plenty of chew, you will get that juicy-pull-apart-restaurant-quality tenderness that you’re searching for in a home fajita meat recipe.

Pineapple Steak Fajita Marinade Ingredients

This fajita marinade recipe also includes soy sauce, garlic, and fresh lime juice. Garlic for interest, soy sauce for salt, and lime juice to balance the sweetness of the pineapple and provide a little Mexican flair.

Pineapple juice being poured on skirt steak for the fajita marinade

This is a classic combination that I suspect everyone from Pappasito’s Cantina to Uncle Julio’s, is using for either their chicken or steak fajitas.

Soy Sauce being poured over the skirt steak for the marinade

Pouring the ingredients for the recipe over your steak fajita meat is easy, then just give it a little mix around. I use a glass casserole dish with a tupperware lid and I will rotate the meat with tongs over the course of several hours.

Freshly sliced limes ready for the steak fajita marinade

We have soaked the steak in the fajita marinade for as little as 6 hours, all the way up to 2-3 days. The flavor and tenderness peaks at 1-2 days in the marinade, but still provides excellent flavor if you can get the meat submerged in the morning before work, and cook it that evening when  you get home.

Freshly minced garlic for the beef fajita marinade

The garlic is pressed through a garlic press, or smashed well and sprinkled all around the steak fajita meat.

Skirt steak marinating in the pineapple juice marinade


We eat with our eyes. I’m a private chef and 80% of my job is making ordinary food look breathtaking. I’ve learned a couple tricks along the way and I thought I would share this one. I sprinkle cilantro on the beef during the marinade because the green flecks look beautiful on the final grilled steak fajitas. They don’t really add any flavor at all so don’t go running to the store if you haven’t got any fresh cilantro in your kitchen.

Cilantro is best used fresh on the fajitas after cooking, but if I didn’t tell you what the green was I knew someone would ask. 😛

Sprinkling the skirt steak with cilantro adds beauty

Marinade as long as possible for maximum flavor. Then follow me to the next post for complete step by step instructions on seasoning and grilling the fajita meat.

How to Grill the Steak Fajitas ⇐ Here is part 2 when you’re ready to prepare the grilled fajitas.

Steak Fajita Marinade Recipe

Here is the instructions for the…

Steak Fajita Marinade Recipe

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Steak Fajita Marinade
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5 based on 3 review(s)


2 cans pineapple juice (2 cups total)

1 bottle low sodium soy sauce

3 limes, juiced

5 garlic cloves, pressed or smashed

3 T. fresh cilantro, chopped fine (optional-for beauty)

2-4 lbs. steak fajita meat (such as skirt steak, flank steak, tri-tip, sirloin, etc.)


Place your fajita meat in a glass casserole dish with a lid.

Pour the pineapple juice, soy sauce, juice of the limes, and minced garlic onto the meat. Stir well and adjust with tongs. Sprinkle cilantro on if using.

Marinade anywhere from 8 hours up to 2-3 days. Grill over charcoal grill if possible. See my next post for complete instructions on how I grill and serve these steak fajitas.


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