Steak marinated and sauted in a cast iron skillet and combined with gaucamole and salsa in a flour tortilla.

San Diego has a unique brand of Mexican Food. You can get traditional Mexican like you’ll find anywhere else in the states. But, the the unique thing about San Diego is the taco shop. They are everywhere. They’re not all great, but most are above average. The menu is similar whether you go to Roberto’s, Rigobertos, Albertos, or Lolitas. Rolled tacos, burritos, tortas, tacos, and such. Everyone has their preference. I grew up next to a Lolitas. Still my favorite. Served fast and at all hours.

It’s what you miss most about San Diego besides the weather when you leave. It’s the first place you go when you get back.

For me, it’s the carne asada burrito or torta. I’ve been trying to recreate it for years now that we live on the east coast. I’ve gotten pretty close here with this recipe. I’ve made it slightly more elaborate than you’d get in a taco shop, but not much. Carne asada translates to “grilled steak.” I’m not grilling it here. I’m cooking it in a cast iron pan. In a taco shop, they’d cook it on the flat top. You can use a variety of cuts. I always use steak tips or “flap steak” It’s a nice tender, marbled steak. You need a bit of fat in the steak.

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Carne Asada Burrito Recipe (5 burritos)


4 lbs. Steak tips chopped (flap steak. Make sure it has fat in it)
1 Tbsp Garlic Salt
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Burrito sized tortillas (as big as you can find)
Pico de Gallo (fresh tomato salsa)
Green Onions diced (scallions) – optional
Shredded Mexican cheese – optional
Chipolte Mayo


Chop the steak and add the garlic salt, soy and olive oil. Let sit for 15 minutes or so or place in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

Heat a cast iron pan on high. Once the pan is hot, cook the steak in batches. Don’t crowd the pan and don’t stir the steak much. Place it in the pan and let it sit for a couple minutes. Stir and let it cook another minute or two. You should have a bit of charred steak here and there. That’s what you want.

On a griddle, at 300º, place a tortilla and cook for 30 seconds or so. Flip and add a small handful of shredded cheese and a pinch of the scallions. Cook for another 30 seconds or so until the cheese begins to melt. Remove to a plate. In the center of the tortilla add steak, guacamole, pico de gallo, queso fresco, and chipolte mayo. Fold burrito. Pull in the left and right side and meet in the middle. Push down a little. Pull the tortilla end closest to you to the opposite side and tuck. Tuck in the left and the right side to round out and roll forward to finish.


Now I wouldn’t normally tell someone how to eat something, but there is a special way to eat this burrito. Each bite needs a little hot sauce. I like Valentina, Cholupa, or El Yucateco. Or you can make your own using this recipe. It’s what you’d get in a taco shop.

Folding a Burrito

Folding a Burrito

Taco Shop Carne Asada Burrito

Taco Shop Carne Asada Burrito

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Carne Asada Burrito
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