Jamaican Jerk Steak Tacos

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Best. Taco. Ever — that I’ve made, at least. I nearly wanted to cry when I finished eating these, because I probably could have eaten 20 of them. I’ve been wanting to make new varieties of tacos to change things up — taco-wise — so this was my first attempt at trying new, awesome taco recipes from the interweb. I found it on Delish, and these tacos are certainly that. I haven’t cooked with flank steak before either, so it was nice trying a different meat out, aside from my go-to beef — sirloin. You could say I have broken out of my shell. Obligatory taco pun.

To get started, I preheated the oven for the hard shell tacos. I actually got one of those combo boxes of soft and hard shells, just because I wanted to try this taco on both kinds of shells without buying a ton of shells for just one recipe. Next time I’ll probably just buy a legion of taco shells instead — because who are we kidding here. I need to eat ALL OF THE TACOS.

I went against the original recipe and started making the pineapple and onion salsa before starting anything else, because I just prefer to get all my cold prep done prior to starting any cooking. The salsa is super, I think it could work on a variety of dishes.

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I cut a lime into pieces to garnish the finished tacos. And then I crumbled up a small bowl of cotija cheese. This is the kind I got:

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As a lover of all things salt, this cheese is where it’s at.

So much flavor. Such cheese. Wow.

After crumbling up the cheese, I started adding all the dry ingredients for the jerk seasoning together in a small bowl. Warning: there’s a ton of dry ingredients in this rub, so you better have a well-stocked pantry. Don’t skip a spice though; they all come together to create flavor magic on the flank.

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I scooped out about a tablespoon of the jerk seasoning and put in a small bowl, and added a 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (the recipe called for canola, but this was the closest I had — I think it worked out just fine) and blended the mixture. I put my flank steak in a gallon-sized bag and added the jerk and oil mixture, and moved the meat around in the marinade until it was well-coated, then set it aside.

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The original recipe said to chill the marinade for at least an hour, but Wayne was super hungry, so I didn’t let it sit that long. No lives were harmed as a result of this decision, but obviously you should do it in advance if you have the time/foresight (I had neither!).

I added about two tablespoons of oil to a medium-sized nonstick frying pan, added the steak and cooked it on medium for about three minutes, then flipped it over and then cooked it for about 4 minutes. I then removed it from the pan, setting it on a chopping board to rest for five minutes.

As the meat was resting, I cooked the soft shell tortillas in a small nonstick frying pan over medium heat. I just add the tortilla to the pan (no grease, just tortilla) and cook the tortilla on each side until it gets dark brown spots on it. Hint: you know you’re doing it wrong if it starts smoking. Don’t burn your tortillas — keep an eye on them because they cook fast.

Once the steak had rested, I cut the steak into pieces. Look at that glorious meat.

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After getting this money shot, I cut the steak up more than this so we had enough to go around (I bought less meat than the recipe called for, because I am not great at following directions) and also because I like making the meat in tacos and burritos bite-size — it’s like the one thing Chipotle gets right.

Then it was taco time. Drum roll, please….here are the tacos with the pineapple-onion salsa:

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And here are the tacos with sliced avocado:

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I ate the pineapple ones, and Wayne ate the avocado ones. The original recipe actually called for avocado and the salsa on each taco, but I just sort of felt like that was overkill, and Wayne wanted none of that pineapple-onion salsa (he’s one of those people with produce texture issues…le sigh).

Once again, BEST TACOS EVER. I wish I had made more, but at the same time it was the perfect portion. Will return to this recipe again. Five stars.

Jamaican Jerk Steak Tacos

Ingredients

2 tbsp. jerk seasoning

1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. canola oil, divided

1 package flank steak (8 oz)

1 box of combination hard and soft shells

1 c. diced pineapple

1/2 c. diced onion

1/4 c. freshly chopped basil

Juice of ½ lime, plus lime wedges for serving

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 avocado, sliced

Crumbled cotija cheese, for serving (optional)

Jerk seasoning

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. dried Italian blend seasoning

2 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Note: the oven temp may vary according to whatever brand of shells you get.
  2. Combine chopped pineapple, onion, basil, lime juice and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Cut a lime into wedges and set aside.
  3. Crumble some cotija cheese into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients for the jerk seasoning in a bowl. In a small bowl, combine one tablespoon of the jerk seasoning and about 1/4 cup of canola (or vegetable) oil.
  5. Place the flank steak in a gallon-sized bag and add the oil and jerk mixture to the bag. Move the meat around in the bag until it’s well-coated with marinade. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, and up to 24 hours.
  6. Add two tablespoons of oil to a medium-sized nonstick frying pan, and add in the steak. Cook on medium heat for about three minutes, then flip over. Cook for about another 3 minutes.
  7. Once the meat is evenly cooked — but not well done — remove from heat, and allow it to rest for five minutes.
  8. Put the hard shell tacos in the oven a minute or two before the meat is done cooking, and set a timer for 6-8 minutes. Note: time may vary; check your shell’s package for exact timing.
  9. Once the meat is done resting, cut it up into bite-sized chunks. Then assemble your tacos.

ENJOY!!!!

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