The best, and most memorable, back patio hang sessions seem to come together last minute—maybe you ran into a neighbor, or maybe an afternoon catchup with a pal went long. Now evening is creeping in and you want the good times to continue. Hunger ensues, but you don’t want to halt the feel-good flow by attempting a complex recipe or ordering pizza (again). What should you serve at such a shindig? Our go-to is dry-rubbed carne asada tacos. Simple and fast? Yes. But also tasty as hell and totally sustaining—so you spend less time prepping and more time actually enjoying yourself.
The translation for carne asada is “grilled meat,” and that’s what you get here, its natural flavors amplified by spices like adobo and cumin you can modulate to your liking—no lengthy marinating needed, nor are hours of chopping and prep work. Use a flavorful, thick-grained cut like skirt steak—preferably “outside” skirt steak, which is more tender than the inside cut—and cook it quickly over a hot grill. Pair the meat with fresh-made tortillas, if you can find them, and you’ll find that the dish seams to disappear almost as quickly as you can prepare it.