How to Grill

How To Cook Tender and Mouthwatering Fajitas on the Grill

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The hissing sound and smoky aroma emanating from a skillet full of fajitas is a real head-turner in a restaurant. You know what else is sizzling? Your grill, and now is the right time to put it to use recreating this Tex-Mex classic at home. Don’t worry — we’ve got a few pointers on how to cook steak, chicken, and shrimp fajitas on a grill that are sure to impress your summer dinner guests. 

How do restaurants make fajitas so tender?

Making restaurant-quality fajitas that aren’t tough and chewy is a foodie’s dream. These two tips from an online cooking community called Ovenvia are great for whipping up tender fajitas:

  • Add an acidic ingredient to the marinade. A marinade that contains acidic ingredients like fresh citrus juice or vinegar will naturally break down the meat’s fibers for a melt-in-your-mouth bite. Note: Meats such as steak and chicken can withstand sitting in an acidic marinade longer than shrimp. Follow your specific recipe’s instructions for marinade times.
  • For chicken breasts and beef such as flank or skirt steak, cut the meat against the grain (the lines of the muscle fiber) once grilled. Slicing meat this way ensures tender pieces. Tip: Look closely at the meat to see the direction the grain is running before slicing it into strips.

What kind of onion do you use for fajitas?

First among fajita add-ins are onions. Picking out the type of onion you’ll use doesn’t have to be tricky — the cooks at BestVeganTips.com have a helpful guide for choosing the best type:

  • White onions: These onions are traditionally used in fajita recipes as they have a pungent and sharp flavor. Plus, they crisp up better as they’re cooking.
  • Red onions: This type of onion is sweet and acidic. Red onions are known for having a more mellow flavor than white onions.
  • Yellow onions: They take longer to cook and don’t get the same crispiness as white onions. But, they’re a great swap if that’s all you have on hand.

Whatever onion you pick should work well with a colorful assortment of red, yellow, and green bell peppers — all sliced into even strips. 

Want to make cutting bell peppers and onions a breeze? Try the Cutluxe Artisan Series 7-inch Santoku Knife (Buy from Amazon, $42.99) — it’s got a razor sharp blade and a comfortable grip, which makes slicing and chopping less tedious.

How long should meat be cooked on the grill?

To get fajitas just right, heat your grill to a medium temperature and cook the meat first: 

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: The USDA recommends grilling this cut of chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees – about 6 to 8 minutes per side. 
  • Flank or skirt steak: Cook times for steak will depend on your desired level of doneness. Check out this internal temperature chart from WhatsCookingAmerica.net to learn more. 
  • Shrimp: The experts at grilling manufacturer Weber suggest cooking shrimp on wooden or metal skewers for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat. You’ll know the shrimp are done when the outside turns pink and the flesh is opaque.

Once your meat is fully cooked, remove it from the grill and let it rest for at least three minutes – preferably covered, so that it stays warm.

How long should veggies be cooked on the grill?

Next up are the veggies. Instead of cooking them directly on the grates, it’s best to use a grilling tray such as Esie Houzie’s Nonstick Grilling Tray (Buy from Amazon, starting at $19.74). This tray has small holes that allow smoke from the grill to infuse the bell peppers and onions, which complements salt, pepper, and other seasonings you’ve sprinkled on.

Food writer Sonja Overhiser from ACoupleCooks.com notes that veggies sliced into 1 ½-inch wide strips take about 15 to 20 minutes to grill over a medium-high heat. Be sure to turn the veggies a few times for even cooking. The peppers and onions are done when they’re tender and have a slightly charred color.

Serve the veggies in a separate bowl alongside the sliced meat, warm flour or corn tortillas, and your favorite toppings. You can also place the veggies and the meat in a cast-iron skillet as if they were being served at your favorite restaurant.

What toppings go well with fajitas?

There are lots of fun options to dress up your serving of fajitas. Here are a handful of tasty toppings to add to your spread:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Guacamole
  • Sliced jalapeño 
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Salsa
  • Fresh lime wedges for squeezing
  • Sour cream

For an extra spicy and creamy kick, try HERDEZ Avocado Hot Sauce (Learn where to buy at Walmart.com and Mexgrocer.com). Think of this hot sauce as your “secret weapon” — it’ll add a hint of tanginess to fajitas and enhance everyday dishes like eggs, pizza, or salads.

We hope these fajita grilling tips will help you bring the fiesta home and enjoy a delicious meal with loved ones.

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