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Chile-Rubbed Steak Tacos

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 12 to 16 tacos

Servings: 4-6.

This recipe is adapted from one that originated in Zacatecas, Mexico and features an unusual, boldly spiced rub made with cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. The rub would also be delicious on top sirloin, New York strip steaks, shrimp, or pork―all of which would make great taco fillings, too.


For the spice rub

  • 2 Tbs. ancho chile powder (replace 1 Tbs. with pasilla chile powder, if you like)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

For the filling:

  • Juice of 1 or 2 limes
  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless rib-eye steaks, 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 Tsp. vegetable oil

For serving:

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 440
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 220
  • Fat (g): 24
  • Saturated Fat (g): 8
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Cholesterol (mg): 70
  • Sodium (mg): 350
  • Carbohydrates (g): 30
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 24


Make the spice rub:

  • In a small bowl, combine all the spice rub ingredients.

Make the filling:

  • Brush the lime juice on both sides of each piece of meat and rub both sides with the spice rub. (You may not need all of the spice rub.)
  • Put the oil in a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, and set it over medium-high heat until very hot. Cook the meat until it’s well browned and just cooked through, 3 to 4 min. per side for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 3 to 5 min. Holding a knife at a 45-degree angle, thinly slice the meat crosswise.

To serve:

  • Put the sliced steak in a heated dish, sprinkle with salt, and set on the table. Next to it set the hot tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, and tomatillo salsa so each person can assemble his or her own tacos.

Serve with Green Rice and Mexican-Style Slaw with Jícama, Cilantro & Lime.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • Krispie | 10/02/2019

    Maybe I chose steaks that were too thick but the meat lacked flavor. It was good but no better than any other rub I put on steak before cooking it.

  • guadalupe | 08/17/2011

    Outstanding. A family favorite. We serve it with the guacamole.

  • court | 12/30/2010

    Absolutely a Perfect Dinner or Game Party dinner! Everyone will enjoy making their own sandwich and be back several times for more. I have made these many times, and always a huge hit!

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