Thu May 1, 2014
It's no secret that I have a strong affinity for Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. Having grown up in a wasteland of mediocre to bad Mexican restaurants, it wasn't until my (now) wife brought me down to her home state of Texas for the first time that I realized how incredible Mexican food really is. The flavors often invoke a freshness and brightness that pairs with spicy and fruity peppers that combine into plates that are as exhilarating as they are beautiful. Alongside barbecue, Mexican, and its cross-border incarnations, have become the backbone of what I cook at home, and so over the years, it only makes sense that I've collected a slew of really great Mexican grilling recipes on the blog. It's more than enough to put together an excellent spread for Cinco de Mayo (or any party for that matter).
Grilled skirt steak fajitas have been, and will likely always will be, one of my all-time favorite grilling recipes. Alton Brown's skirt steak recipe is near perfection, and I haven't strayed from it much since it was posted as one of my first recipes on this blog. The sweet and tangy marinade gives the beefy steak a super flavorful crust that holds up even when piled into a flour tortilla with all the fixings.
I've declared the poblano the best pepper for stuffing on multiple occasions. Fruity with some sweetness and a just a little heat, the poblano is an excellent vessel for so many filling options with this black bean and cheese mixture being one of them.
No fiesta menu at my house goes without Mexican-style street corn, also called elote. Corn is grilled, then spread with a cayenne mayo and rolled in salty cotija cheese. A wedge of lime finishes off this king of corns.
You can't have a Cinco de Mayo party without some salsa. A change from the usual tomato, this tomatillo salsa provides a tart, spicy, and slightly sweet mixture that's bright and fresh and great for dipping or used as a condiment for tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, and more.
New York isn't much better for Mexican than my Northern Virginia home. That means it's often hard to find quality Mexican chorizo, so I solved the problem with the only possible solution in my mind—I made my own. This fresh chorizo recipe hits the ancho chile hard, giving the final links an deep earthy heat that picks up a little extra spice in the way of cloves, cumin, and cinnamon.
What to do with a ton of homemade chorizo, stuff it in poblanos, of course! Chorizo gives these stuffed peppers a strong flavor that's balanced out with cotija and jack cheese.
Chicken thighs are marinated in a garlicky dark beer mixture, then grilled until well-browned on the outside, but still juicy on the inside. Sliced and piled into corn tortillas with a spread of guacamole, their flavor goes further than their seeming simplicity.
This Rick Bayless recipe for Mexican roadside chicken produced one of the most beautiful birds to ever come off my grill. A wet rub of ancho chile powder, oregano cloves, cinnamon, garlic, cider vinegar, orange juice, and salt gives this chicken its attractive color and tangy, earthy flavor.
I'm usually a steak or nothing guy with fajitas, leaving those dry, flavorless strips of chicken for those people who don't know better. I thought there had to be a way to make chicken fajitas delicious though, and after a few tries, I got it! A potent marinade of lime, cilantro, garlic, brown sugar, red pepper, and oil is introduced to brined chicken, which then grills up to be both incredibly moist and flavorful.
Skirt, it's the steak so nice, it made the list twice. Taking a little bit of a different direction here, skirt steak gets a coating of a chile dry rub, then is grilled, sliced, and piled into warmed corn tortillas. Cilantro, tomatoes, and cilantro cream finish these off to create a fresh and beefy taco that feels light, yet substantial, at the same time.