I know you’ve all been posed the question (and I have no idea where or when, but somehow I have had to answer it many times thus far in my relatively short life): “If you had to pick one thing to eat every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?” And while I would hate to be required to pick just one thing (since I can’t really live on chocolate alone, but certainly can’t live without it either…oh, the angst!) This meal would be one of my top contenders. I love fajitas that much. But not just any fajitas- they have to be good. Really good. So toss out the store-bought seasoning packet and the 50 for $1 bag of tortillas. I’m going to show you a flavor-packed marinade that you can whip up in a flash. And when you combine it with homemade tortillas and all the fixins, these will be the best chicken or steak fajitas you’ve ever eaten!
The secret really is in the marinade. And my little trick is to reserve just a little of it to drizzle on at the very end for an extra punch of flavor. You can use your choice of meat; boneless chicken breasts work great, as do chicken thighs or tenders. Steak is also awesome–flank steak and sirloin are both fantastic cuts for this recipe. We often do both chicken and steak. Grab whatever colors of peppers and onions you have around and grill them up.
I like to serve it on a big platter and let everyone serve themselves (but if you want to make sure everything is distributed evenly, you could also mix everything up on the platter.)
If you’ve only ever made fajitas with the store-bought seasoning packet, this homemade fajita marinade will knock your socks off. This is truly one of our favorite meals!
1-1 1/2 pounds chicken (boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs) or steak (sirloin or flank steak)
2-3 red, orange, and/or yellow bell peppers, halved (or use a few handfuls of baby peppers)
1 large onion, sliced into 1/2″-thick slices
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke (see note)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or chipotle chili powder (chipotle chili powder will have heat and smoke)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Place meat in a Ziploc bag or shallow dish. Place vegetables in another. In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and whisk well. Reserve 3-4 tablespoons of marinade for later use.
With remaining marinade, add a splash to the vegetables (enough for a light coating) and the remaining to the meat. Marinate for 4-6 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat outdoor grill (our preference) to medium heat. When the grill is hot, place everything on at the same time in a single layer when the grill is hot. Cook until desired doneness is reached, flipping once (about 7 minutes per side for chicken breasts, 3-4 minutes per side for chicken thighs, or see this tutorial for steak.) You may need to remove the vegetables before the meat is done–just transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil. When the meat is done, transfer to a plate and allow to stand for a few minutes, then slice the meat.
Heat an indoor grill pan or large skillet to medium heat. If using a skillet, cook the peppers and onions first and then rem. Cook chicken for a few minutes on each side until cooked through and remove from pan. Cover with foil to keep warm. Add vegetables and heat through.
Remove vegetables from cooking surface and slice. Slice meat.
After you’ve sliced the meat, toss the meat and vegetables with reserved marinade and serve along side any or all of the following:
*If you’re not familiar with liquid smoke, you can find it near the BBQ sauces. Don’t make this without it! It’s definitely one of the key components. It makes things yummy and smoky and super flavorful. And if you’re wondering, it actually is real smoke in liquid form. Interesting, eh? Start with 1 teaspoon and add more if you’d like a smokier flavor.