The Best Smoker Carne Asada

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This Smoker Carne Asada is marinated in a mix of traditional Mexican spices to make for a wonderfully tender and flavorful cut of meat that’s smoked for extra flavor.

» You might also like the Best Verde Wet Burrito Recipe.

Sliced flank steak with carne asada rub

A traditional carne asada is delicious, but smoking it on your smoker grill really brings it up a notch. Not only is it packed with flavor from the dry rub and marinade, it has a rich smoky taste that is simply addictive. 

Whenever you want to elevate your taco night, try this smoker carne asada recipe. The meat tastes great on its own, or in a corn tortilla topped with some fresh Pico de gallo

Ingredients You Need

Ingredients for smoked carne asada
  • Carne Asada Rub – The rub is made from typical Mexican seasonings like chili powder, ground cumin, ground celery seed, ground Mexican oregano, etc. See our recipe for the full ingredients list.
  • Flank Steak – Flank steak is my preferred cut of meat for carne asada. It’s lean and gets nicely tender when smoked. Skirt steak or Flat Iron steak can also be used.
  • Olive Oil – It’s best to use olive oil in the marinade as it provides the meat with more flavor than a neutral oil would. 
  • Salt & Black Pepper – These are necessary seasonings that will bring out the flavor of the carne asada.

Equipment Information

  • Electric Smoker: Z Grills or Traeger are good brands of electric smokers to try. Place some foil on the grill racks, so cleaning up is quicker and easier. If it is your first time using your electric smoker, make sure to season it first. 
  • Smoker Pellets: use any type of smoker pellets you like. These pellets are what produce the smoke in the smoker, and what gives the meatloaf its smoky flavor. 
  • Grill: any type of grill works, just make sure it’s hot enough to properly grill the meat.

How to Make Smoked Carne Asada

Place the flank steak in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle on the carne asada rub and pour on the olive oil. Make sure the steak is coated well. It might seem like a lot of rub, but it needs a lot to really pack in the flavor.

flank steak with carne asada rub

Cover and marinate the steak in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. This will ensure that the rub turns into a nice crust when smoked and infuses some of the flavor into the meat.

Remove the steak from the refrigerator 15 minutes before you cook it, so it can come up to room temperature. This will ensure a more even cooking.

Preheat your smoker to 225°F. Place the steak on the smoker grill and cook it for 45 minutes, or until it reaches our desired serving temperature. For medium rare, which is what I recommend, it needs to be 135°F. Check it on a digital thermometer before you remove the meat.

Flank steak with carne asada rub in the smoker

Transfer the steak to a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Flank steak with carne asada rub in the smoker with the thermometer

To Sear the Meat

Alternatively, you can sear the meat on the stovetop or on the grill at a higher temperature to give it those nice grill marks, if you want. This isn’t a necessary step, so you only should do it if you want the sear marks. If you do, you’d want to remove the meat from the smoker when it reaches 125°F. Get your grill or stove top up to 425°F and put the steak back on to sear for 2-3 minutes until it reaches 135°F.

What Smoker to Use

z grills

Z Grills 7002C2E Pellet Grill & Smoker

The 7002C2E is a new model featuring a digital PID control board and advanced technology for even temperatures and consistent results. With the built-in dual temperature probes, a huge pellet hopper, pellet cleanout system, and pellet view window, your grilling experience will be enhanced like never before. See this grill and more on the Z Grills site.

Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker

Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood-fired taste. The Pro Series 22 is the one most people choose because it’s compact, yet has plenty of space for cooking.

You can use any type of wood pellets you like. I prefer Hickory, which is great for naturally enhancing beef, chicken, pork, and veggies with full-bodied, bold flavor.

Questions About the Recipe

How can I make this recipe without a smoker?

If you don’t have a smoker, you can still make this carne asada steak on the stove top or on a regular BBQ grill. Just heat the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side until the steak is 135°F.

Is there a way to make it spicy?

Yes. The carne asada rub already has some chili powder in it. You can use a mild chili powder for little heat or use a spicy chili powder for more heat. If you replace the chili powder with chipotle or cayenne pepper it will definitely be spicier.

What kind of smoker pellets should I use for the smoker carne asada?

Any smoker pellets can work in this recipe. Hickory or apple wood pellets are usually what is recommended for carne asada, but feel free to use your favorite pellets. Experiment with different smoker pellets to see which flavor you enjoy best.

sliced flank steak with carne asada rub

Additional Cooking Tips

  • Make sure to pat the meat dry before smoking it and grilling it. If there is too much liquid, it could end up more like boiled meat than smoked meat! 
  • Use a meat thermometer to get the most accurate reading of the carne asada’s internal temperature.
  • Use the leftover meat to make these carne asada quesadillas!

What to serve it with

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Sliced carne asada rubbed flank steak

The Best Smoker Carne Asada

This Smoker Carne Asada is marinated in a mix of spices, seasonings, and pineapple juice to make for a wonderfully tender and flavorful cut of meat that's smoked for extra flavor
5 from 49 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Steak
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 373kcal
Author: Laura

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the flank steak in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle on the carne asada rub and pour on the olive oil. Make sure the steak is coated well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
  • Remove the steak from the refrigerator 15 minutes before you cook.
  • Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Smoke for 45 minutes. Remove the steak from the smoker.
  • Preheat a grill to 450°F. Grill the meat until the internal temperature reaches 135°F for medium-rare.
  • Transfer the steak to a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Equipment Needed

  • Smoker Grill

Notes

You can also sear the meat on the stovetop over medium high heat, rather than using the grill, if preferred.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcal | Protein: 49g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 120mg | Potassium: 773mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 4mg

🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite Instant Pot recipes over at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, air fryer recipes at Air Fry Anytime, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!

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Sliced flank steak with carne asada rub

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