Steak Fajitas- Perfect for Campfire Grilling!
We are always on the lookout for a flavorful meal to grill while we are camping. On our recent camping trip to Skidaway Island State Park, we prepared and grilled Steak Fajitas that were flavorful and perfect for campfire grilling. The idea for grilling the fajita meat over the fire originated from the Andrew Zimmern’s Delicious Destination travel show that highlighted Houston, TX restaurants, specifically Laurenzo’s El Tiempo Cantina. This show changed my perspective on how to cook the fajita meat as previously I have purchased pre-sliced beef to pan-fry. After watching the grilling techniques utilized by Laurenzo’s chef, we decided to grill the marinated sirloin steaks along with bell peppers and onions over a wood charcoal fire and the result was delicious fajitas!
I (Chris) prepared the marinade for the sirloin steaks that included: 1) Corona beer; 2) chopped garlic; 3) cumin; 4) thyme; 5) dried chipotle pepper; 6) black pepper; 7) Tabasco sauce; 8) lime juice; and 9) Italian seasoning. The meat marinaded for several hours prior to grilling and the result was a very flavorful and juicy steak. To make sure we got a good sear on the the steaks, I dried each one with a paper towel before we put in on the grill. If they stayed wet with the marinade, they would have steamed on over the fire rather sear.
While Bob was building the fire, I prepared the other items for our dinner. I sliced onions along with red and yellow bell peppers to be grilled on the cast iron griddle. We planned to warm up the flour tortillas on the flat side of griddle also. For the roasted corn on the cob, I covered each ear with butter, salt and pepper and then place the corn cobs in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. I folded the foil around the corn and wrapped them in the aluminum foil package. I made sure that the package wasn’t tight around the corn so steam would develop in the package. I also prepared guacamole with avocados, tomatoes, onions, lime juice and cilantro. The avocados were perfectly ripe and mixed well with the tomatoes. For a side dish, I prepared a watermelon salad with black olives, green onions and feta cheese. This dish added a nice cool, refreshing taste as well as sweet and sour note to our fajita dinner.
Cooking a delicious meal over a wood fire that is as good as a meal cooked on the stove is a challenge, but I (Bob) enjoy planning how to make it all work. When we get it right, the added smoky flavor makes the meal even more delicious. Because we have storage space in our Forest River 5th Wheel trailer, we are able to carry a few extra items to make cooking over open fire easier. We carry flat grill racks, leather grilling gloves, long handled tongs, fork meat thermometer and other grilling tools. Another item we carry is a flat cast iron griddle that is smooth on one side and also has a ridged side. The challenge to this particular meal was that we were cooking corn on the cob, bell peppers and onions for the fajitas, flour tortillas and the steak. Each of these items required a different cook time, heat and grilling technique.
My first step was to build a fire with the wood that we had purchased at the campground. After building the fire and giving it time to turn into a hot charcoal fire, I started cooking the corn in aluminium foil packages that Chris had prepared. Since this fire ring had a grill that could be raised and lowered to three different levels, I raised the rack to the highest level and put the corn on to cook slowly. I let the corn cook for about 20 minutes, turning it over several times so that it would not burn on one side. I moved the packages to the side of fire ring to stay warm and then placed one of the grill racks on top of the fire ring grill which was still at the highest level. I placed the cast iron griddle with the smooth side up on the grill. By using the smooth side of the griddle, I was able to cook the peppers and onions over the wood fire and they didn’t fall through the grill into the fire. After the the corn and fajita veggies were ready, I covered them with a small Weber lid to keep things warm and then heated the flour tortillas on the grill pan. While they were warming, I built up the fire in the front of the fire ring and using the edge of the fire ring plus a log, I put the other grill rack over this fire. Utilizing this rack that was close to hot fire, I grilled the sirloin steaks that Chris had marinaded. I seared the meat about 3 minutes on one side and then flipped it to finish grilling on the other. I used the fork meat thermometer to make sure that our steak were a nice medium rare. Off the fire and tented with foil to rest, my work was done.
After the grilling was finished, pulling this dinner together was easy. We placed all the fajita components on our camper table along with the watermelon salad and proceeded to have a fun and delicious dinner. Our fajita ingredients- sirloin steak strips, guacamole, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce and grilled bell peppers and onions, were right there in front of us and we each built the fajita according to our taste. I used a lot of the guacamole on mine while Bob loaded up with the bell pepper and onions, but for both of us the results were delicious especially including the cold beer and watermelon salad. I think we agree that a Steak Fajita meal is a great meal to add to our camping menu.