I mentioned last week that we just got back from our summer vacation to the beach. To say that we were looking forward to our trip is quite the understatement. It has been a busy and at times extremely stressful first half of the year. A vacation, where we could just kick back and relax was definitely needed.
Like most vacations, the planning, at least for me, is part of the fun! Rolling the dice (no literally!) to determine where we should go. Then after much discussion, picking a place to stay. And making other travel arrangements like flying vs driving, number of days we would be gone (weeks if I could) and deciding on all the fun things we would do in all of our “free time.”
For our most recent vacation, we rented a condo with some good friends of ours on the beach in Florida. And like that, once this little detail was decided, everything else started to fall into place. Flights were booked. Swimsuits were bought and our bags slowly got packed.
When picking out our place to stay, we were all adamant that we wanted to stay in place that had all the amenities we would need while spending a week at the beach. Washers and dyers, plenty of space for us all, a porch with a beach front view and of course a fully stocked kitchen.
The full kitchen was a must since we didn’t want to interrupt our busy days, filled with lounging on the beach, to go find food and since we were vacationing on a budget, didn’t want to be spending a lot of money eating out the whole time either.
Our plan? Well it was fool proof.
We planned out meals. Made our list. And we would stop by the store on our way to our condo to pick up everything we would need while spending a week on the beach. Since we would be there for a number of days and there were several of us, it only made sense to stop by Sam’s Club to get things for quick breakfasts, beach front lunches and of course plenty of beverages, like a 32 pack case Coca Cola cans, to quench our thirst.
I’d say our plan was flawless. Well almost.
We weren’t planning on the fact that even though every morning we would jump out of bed, make breakfast and quickly whip up some sandwiches to take down to the beach, that by the time the sun set, we wouldn’t feel up to cooking dinner. Whomp. Whomp. Whomp.
So a few days we washed up and headed out on the town, and other days we worked together to cook up some dinner. When it was our turn to make dinner we, of course, made tacos. It is, after all, Eric’s favorite food AND we do live in Texas, so Tex Mex is kinda in our blood!
To keep things simple I decided to make Carne Asada. I know what you are thinking… Simple?? But yes, Carne Asada, popular in Latin America, is simply grilled meat. Grilling is super easy and is a fun way so socialize with friends and family.
For the Carne Asada I made at the beach, I used a store bought rub (since I didn’t have a stocked spice cabinet), some fresh lime and one of the cans of Coke we had leftover from our day spent at the beach still floating in our cooler. We loved this meal so much that as soon as I got home and was suffering from post vacation blues, I whipped it up again, this time creating my own special rub.
Since Carne Asada is typically flank or skirt steak, which tends to be tougher cuts of meat, marinating is crucial to achieving perfectly grilled meat. Coke makes a great marinade and paired with the bold and robust set of spices in my homemade spice rub, this often tough cut of meat gets a zippy pop of flavor, all while getting a nice sear and extra hint of smoky flavor from the grill!
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 pounds flank or skirt steak
¼ cup olive oil
2 limes, juiced and zested
1 (12-ounce) can Coca Cola
For serving (optional):
Pico de gallo
Queso fresco or cotija cheese
In a small bowl stir together all of the spices for the spice rub. Set aside.
Meanwhile, lay the flank steak in a large baking dish. Pour half of the olive oil on top of one side of the meat. Using tongs, flip the meat and pour the remaining oil over the other side. Divide the spice rub, and rub penuriously into both sides of meat. Add the lime juice, lime zest and Coca Cola to the flank steak in the baking dish. Wrap dish tightly in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 8 hours, to marinate the meat.*
Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Oil the grill grates to prevent the meat from sticking. Remove steak from marinade. Grill the steak for 4-5 minutes per side, turning once, cooking until a thermometer registers 140°F for medium rare.
Remove the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal. Serve immediately as desired.
*Note: Use caution and do not marinate the steak for more than 8 hours though, as the meat fibers will break down too much and cause the meat to get mushy.
Coca-Cola knows that making memories, like our beach vacation, is better with friends and wants to encourage you to share a special name branded Coke with your “Bestie,” “Friend” or favorite “Grill Master”! Be sure to check out more fun ideas at the Share it Forward website. And don’t forget to like/follow Coca-Cola Classic and Sam’s Club here: