Beef Fajitas in the Cast Iron Skillet

February 7, 2011 at 2:41 am (Beef)

I have this wonderful set of Cast Iron Skillets so I decided to put them to good use. I was rewarded with the best fajitas I have eaten in ages. I took the same basic process that most high-end restaurants use for steaks and applied it to fajitas. I used the premarinated beef fajita meat that you can buy in the meat section of my local grocery store. I bought a 4 lb. package and portioned it out into bags with 1 lb of beef in each bag and froze it. The evening before I took out the frozen beef and left it in the fridge.

I suppose that it is the Ag Teacher in me that must get on my soap box and talk about food safety for a moment. I know that plenty of people leave their meat out at room temperature to defrost but this is not only a bad idea it is a potential way of giving yourself or loved ones food poisoning. The proper way of defrosting meat is the Fridge Method, Cold Water Thawing, and the Microwave Method. You can check out the USDA’s website explaining each one. The Fridge Method calls for leaving the meat in the fridge until it is defrosted. If pressed for time, use Cold Water Thawing.  This calls for placing the meat in a tightly sealed ziploc bag in COLD (NEVER WARM) tap water. You should change out the water every 30 minutes to make sure the water never gets warm. This can take an hour per pound. Finally you can follow your microwave’s directions for defrosting meat. Using the microwave is my last resort because it tends to ruin the quality of the meat in the process but it does work in a pinch.

  • 1 – 1 1/2 lb of premarinated Beef Fajita meat. You can also marinate a skirt steak or a flank steak if that is more your style.
  • 1 Bell Pepper, I recommend Red, Yellow or Orange, cut into slices
  • 1 onions, cut into slices
  • Canola Oil, this is an ideal oil because it will tolerate the high heat this method of cooking meat requires
  • Cheese
  • cilantro
  • Flour Tortillas

Preheat Oven to 500 degrees. Yes you heard me right, 500 degrees. Cast Iron is wonderful because it can go from the stove top to the oven and still tolerate incredibly high heat. There is a reason why Cast Iron Cookware is used by Boy Scouts for cooking over campfires and by every good southern grandmother cooking Chicken Fried Steak. It is because this incredibly inexpensive piece of cookware is versatile.

Place the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes to ensure that your cast iron skillet is nice and hot.

Take out of the oven, make sure that when grabbing the handle at all points during this process your hand is protected. I keep a small washcloth or kitchen towel for grabbing the handle of my cast iron cookware. Place on burner over high heat. I added some garlic to the fajita meat because I really do enjoy the extra garlic flavor on my fajitas.

Lightly coat the beef with oil and place in the middle of the cast iron skillet. Sear the meat for 30 seconds. It is important that as the steak is searing that you don’t move the meat. Use tongs to flip the meat and cook for another 30 seconds.

Then transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook on each side for 3 minutes. Use your tongs to flip the meat and cook in the oven for another 3 minutes.

Remove Steak from Skillet and set aside for at least 5 minutes.

Use the same skillet to cook your Fajita vegetables. I add a bit of Canola oil to the pan to make sure that the vegetables don’t stick. I keep the burner set to medium heat while cooking the vegetables. I then add the vegetables to the pan and season with Kosher Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Chile Powder. Cook until almost translucent.

After the meat has rested for 5 minutes to make sure that the wonder juices don’t leave the meat and instead leak onto the cutting board, place meat on a cutting board. Slice into strips against the grain of the meat.

Add beef to the veggies and stir.

Turn off the heat and place a serving of the beef/veggie mixture in the middle of a warmed flour tortilla. You can garnish with cheese, cilantro, sour cream or salsa. Basically whatever your heart desires.


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