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Texas Carne Asada Seasoning (Dry Rub)

A colorful bowl filled with 5 different bright spices.

In Texas, our beef street tacos often get the same first-class treatment as a $40 ribeye at a swanky steakhouse, and that’s where dry rub recipes like this homemade, Texas Carne Asada Seasoning, come in handy.

Texans know how to cook a fine slab of meat, and for many beef connoisseurs, steak is best when cooked with hot fat and dry spices, rather than a wet marinade which adds unnecessary moisture to the steak while searing.

For this reason, it’s helpful to have an alternative to carne asada wet marinades, which are often fussed at for having too much salt and prohibiting the maillard reaction (the browning that makes a great steak taste like heaven). So let’s experiment with a dry rub that gives the same great flavor while eliminating the liquid.

A glass measuring cup full of mixed spices which create the carne asada rub.

How to Make A Dry Rub for Texas-Style Carne Asada

Rub recipes are easy and quick because you usually have most of the ingredients in your pantry, and can tailor the amount of cayenne pepper to the particular tastes of your family.

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The only specialty ingredient used in this rub is an excellent Texas chili powder, such as Gebhardt’s or Mexene brands. Texas chili powders are different than any version of a chile powder (notice the e on the end), as chile powders often from New Mexico or California are made with dried ground chiles, and Texas chili powder is a blend of many ingredients.

I buy my Gebhardt’s and Mexene chile powder at my local supermarket but they’re available for a very reasonable price on Amazon right here…

Gebhardt’s Chili Powder

Mexene Chili Powder

A close up of chili powder and various other spices which commonly go in carne asada seasoning.

This recipe uses Texas chili powder, granulated garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and cayenne for heat. Simply shake it in a bag or whisk it together in a bowl and reserve for carne asada, beef fajitas, even ground beef recipes like tacos gringos.

A  close up of the final blended mixture of carna asada seasoning.

How To Store a Dry Carne Asada Seasoning

Dry rubs or seasoning blends of any kind should be stored in a room temperature, moisture-free environment like a spice pantry. I keep my homemade rubs in mason jars with a tight-fitting lid but you can also use Tupperware or glass spice bottles that you’ve already used and cleaned.

How to Use The Carne Asada Dry Rub On Beef

A shiny metal bowl full of small chunks of raw beef, tossed in the carne asada dry rub recipe.

To use the rub, sprinkle liberally on your cut of beef on all sides and toss. I like to add 1 T. of oil to the beef first to help it stick to the meat. For these beef street tacos, I cubed my steak into small cubes suitable for filling street tacos and then coated liberally in the carne asada seasoning. This allows for more surface area for the seasoning to penetrate through.

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A colorful mexican bowl full of the spices to make our carne asada seasoning blend
Yield: 1 1/2 c

Texas Carne Asada Seasoning Recipe (Dry Rub)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This Carne Asada Seasoning is a great spice blend for steak tacos made with all cuts of beef. Limiting the amount of moisture a traditional marinade provides, gives the meat excellent searing capabilities which is preferred by many Texas taco joints and their customers.


  • 2 ½ T Kosher Salt
  • 1 T Black Pepper
  • 2 T Texas Chili Powder (Gebhardt’s or Mexene recommended)
  • 3 T Granulated Garlic
  • 3 T Onion Powder
  • ½ t. Cayenne (may use more according to your tastes)


Combine all of the measured spices into a mason jar or a
plastic bag and shake well.

This seasoning blend can be used on beef hours before you sear the meat (for more flavor), or during the searing as an excellent substitute for salt or bottled carne asada or fajita seasoning.

If you prefer to make this a wet recipe, add the juice of 2 limes and marinate for several hours. Cook as usual.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave us a comment below and let us know how it went!

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Jon Credit

Sunday 12th of February 2023

I may have been a bit too generous with how much rub I put in the bag with the meat to dry brine but the flavor was excellent. Definitely a keeper recipe. Will do these again

Jon Credit

Sunday 12th of February 2023

I may have been a bit too generous with how much I put in the bag with the meat to dry brine for the afternoon. Taste was great and everyone loves them. Will make them again for sure.


Saturday 28th of January 2023

I ran out of taco seasoning and didn’t want to go back to the store, so I went on a search starting with my fave legit Texan, Urban Cowgirl. This recipe was wonderful for a random weeknight taco dinner, but I would totally do this again for company with steak tacos. I added a pinch of cumin and adobo, but this was delish as-is. The Gebhardt’s is where it’s at! Thank you for sharing!

Sarah Penrod

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

Awesome to hear that Gretchen!

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