Reverse Seared Ribeye Steak Tacos

Reverse Seared Ribeye Steak Tacos

At this point, tacos are every bit as much Mexican-American cuisine as they are purely Mexican fare. The United States has embraced the taco in a big way, and you can find a restaurant serving tacos in just about every city in the country.

One of the best things about tacos is how customizable they are – They can be vegetarian, vegan or featuring meat, can incorporate seafood, and any number of a range of toppings. Adventurous restaurants can stretch the limits in creating tacos with just about any combination of proteins, fillings and salsas or sauces.

But certain tacos are iconic, and tend to be found just about everywhere. The classic ground beef taco. Fish tacos. And steak tacos.

Steak is one of the finest main proteins for tacos, and for good reason. Well-cooked sliced steak is savory and delicious enough to carry a taco on its own with little in the way of extra help from other ingredients. But it’s also versatile enough to hold a wide range of marinades and it accentuated by many common sauces and toppings.

Steak tacos are also a style of taco that’s quite easy to make at home. If you can cook a steak, you can make steak tacos that will rival what you’ll find in a restaurant. In fact, if you use a good-quality piece of meat and cook it to perfection, your homemade steak tacos may very well be better than what you’ll find at a local restaurant.

In order to make steak tacos, the first order of business is picking out and cooking your steak.

How to Make Steak Tacos

This guide will go step-by-step from start to finish, giving you complete instructions for making steak tacos from scratch. We’ll start with picking out a type and cut of steak, then detail a cooking process called reverse searing that produces perfectly-cooked steaks.

Once the steak is ready, we’ll cover some of the best combinations of toppings to fill your taco out with, as well as some excellent side dishes to go with steak tacos.

Picking Out the Steak

As you probably know, there are many different cuts of steak for sale, all of which have slightly different properties that make them suited or less-well suited for certain meals.

There are a good number of cuts that are well suited for steak tacos, and the cut we’ll be focusing on is ribeye. The ribeye is a tender and flavorful cut of steak, with a good amount of fat that lends the meat delicious flavor without a lot of gristle or excess fat.

Most of the time, you’ll find boneless ribeye at your grocery store or butcher’s shop, and this is preferable for making steak tacos. A bone-in ribeye cooks slightly unevenly, making it more likely you’ll overcook part of the steak.

If you’re cooking for some special occasion and can spare a bit of extra cash, choose a ‘Prime’ ribeye steak for the best flavor. For more everyday occasions, a ‘Choice’ ribeye still going to produce an amazing foundation for your steak tacos.

Pick Out The Steak Cook The Meat

Cooking the Steak

When it comes to cooking a steak, there are a number of techniques at your disposal. The simplest method would be to cook in in a skillet or pan on the stovetop, or on a grill. Far more complicated are techniques like sous vide, in which the steak cooks on very low heat immersed in water for a long period of time.

Here, we’ll recommend the reverse sear method, a middle ground between the simplest and most complicated methods of cooking a steak. The basics of the reverse sear is to first cook the steak on a relatively low temperature in the oven to get it close to done. 

Then, to finish the steak you’ll sear it on the stovetop at high heat, giving it that flavorful crust that makes steak extra delicious.

  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place a cast-iron skillet or pan on the stovetop, and begin heating it on a high flame.
  • Once the steak is seasoned and the oven heated, place the steak on a baking sheet or pan and cook in the oven.
  • You will want to cook the steak until it reaches the ideal temperature corresponding to the doneness you’re going for. Keep in mind that in this step, you’re not trying to reach the full doneness – The stovetop sear will finish the job. For medium rare, aim for 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and for medium aim for 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once the steak has reached that temperature, remove it from the oven.
  • Pour about 1 tablespoon of an oil with a high smoking point (like vegetable oil or peanut oil) into the skillet or pan on the stovetop.
  • Sear the steak for about 2 minutes on each side, or until you’ve reached the heat levels desired. For medium rare, that’s 120 degrees. For medium, 130 degrees.
  • Once the steak is fully cooked, take it off the skillet or pan and rest the steak for at least 10 minutes.
  • After resting the steak, slice the steak into strips cutting with the grain of the meat. Make them as big or as small as you prefer, but a good rule of thumb would be around an inch and a half long and half and inch to a quarter of an inch wide.

Now that you have a pile of sliced ribeye, you’re ready to fill your tacos and dig in. But there are still many ways you could go in creating the perfect steak taco. Here are some of the best options.

Cut The Steak Assemble The Tacos

The Classic Steak Taco

If you’ve got a nice piece of steak and are all about the bare-bones experience, the classic steak taco delivers a no-frills experience emphasizing the quality of the steak.

To make classic steak tacos, dice up white onions and cilantro, and place them each into a bowl. Buy soft corn tortillas, and heat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds before serving. Microwaving the tortillas will prevent them from cracking as you fold them. Feel free to use flour tortillas if you prefer them.

Optionally, you can either make or buy from the store a salsa verde – A green salsa usually made from tomatillos and chiles.

Put a generous portion of cooked steak onto a tortilla, as well as a sprinkling of onions and cilantro. If you have salsa verde, drizzle some on top, then fold the tortilla over and enjoy!

Download This Recipe

Save this recipe in your Cave Tools BBQ app or download other recipes from the community recipes exchange!

The Classic Steak Taco (35 downloads)

Steak Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce

Another outstanding option for steak tacos is making an oil-based sauce known as Chimichurri sauce. This spicy sauce is the perfect complement to steak tacos, and is relatively simple to make.

To make Chimichurri sauce, put the following ingredients into a blender or food processor:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped onions
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, including stems
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley, including stems
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper (If you prefer a milder version, remove the seeds and linings from the inside of the pepper)

Pulse the blender or food processor until the contents are fairly well mixed but not smooth. Next, add the following:

  • 1/2 cup of light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • Salt to taste – at least 1/2 teaspoon

And blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour it into a bowl and it’s ready to serve.

To make the tacos, again you’ll want either corn or flour tortillas. For these tacos, you will also want chopped tomatoes and some shredded or crumbled cheese. One great (and authentic) option is Cojita cheese, a crumbled Mexican cheese. But any cheese you enjoy is a good pick.

Place steak onto the tortilla, then add tomatoes and cheese. Finally, liberally apply Chimichurri sauce and roll up the taco to eat.

These two recipes for steak tacos are proven winners, but any number of combinations are great with steak in taco form. You can combine other salsas, guacamole, or go with the more traditional Tex-Mex toppings of lettuce, olives and sour cream. It’s hard to go wrong when you’re starting with well-cooked, choice ribeye steak.

Download This Recipe

Save this recipe in your Cave Tools BBQ app or download other recipes from the community recipes exchange!

Steak Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce (31 downloads)


Side Dishes

Some of the best side dishes to pair with steak tacos are classic staples of Mexican cuisine.

Refried beans can be bought in the can and quickly heated to go alongside steak tacos. And the great thing about refried beans from the can is that it’s easy to touch them up for even more flavor.

Depending on your tastes, you can add either sour cream, hot sauce or both as you’re heating the beans on the stovetop. Creamy refried beans with a little zip from the hot sauce make an ideal pairing with steak tacos.

Another great side is guacamole along with some tortilla chips. While chips and guacamole stand up on their own, the added bonus is that to add some variety you can put guacamole directly one or two tacos in addition to your other toppings.

Add Side Dishes & Drinks Serve The Tacos

Reverse searing a steak for steak tacos is one of the best ways to produce meat cooked to exacting standards, unlocking the best of its flavor.

With some tacos, it can seem like all the toppings and salsas are trying to hide the lack of quality of the meat on the taco. But with this recipe, the natural deliciousness of the steak takes center stage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is reverse seared steak?

Is reverse sear better than traditional cooking techniques?

How long does it take to reverse sear a steak?

How do you reverse sear on a charcoal grill?

What is the best cut of beef for steak tacos?

Each Share Saves a Steak From Being Cooked Well Done