Holy Guaca-Memorial Day Weekend!

Despite its presence on the calendar hanging on the wall behind my desk, I am completely convinced that the month of June did not exist this year. Last weekend we were grilling out for Memorial Day, and this weekend we are preparing for the 4th of July with no trace of June in sight.

For those of you that didn’t get the memo on the blogosphere, May was National Burger Month. In honor of National Burger Month, Jesse and I decided to fire up the grill, marinade four pounds of meat, and make… tacos. I apologize if that was a let down, but we just aren’t burger people. We invited over some family and friends and no one even noticed the missing patties, I think we were all too busy basking in the sun as we hadn’t seen the sun in Chicago for weeks.

I started out the day taking photos of the cooking process, but then our guests started to arrive and I had to put down my camera to entertain. I have a new found respect for food bloggers. Cooking and taking photos along the way is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot more time to stage photos than one would imagine.

This is one of our favorite grilling recipes. Every time we bring it to a party or serve it to guests it flies off the grill. It also smells incredible as is marinading because all of the ingredients are fresh.

Arrachera (Flank Steak)
Marinade for 2 pounds of meat

For well-done steak, grill 4-5 minutes per side.


  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, unseeded and diced
  • 1/2 bottle Mexican beer – We always just use whatever we have on hand. Pacifico or Modelo both work well in this recipe.
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (I like a lot of lime flavor. If you do not, use 1 lime.)
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Adobo All Purpose Seasoning


Season the meat with Adobo seasoning on both sides and let it rest while you are preparing the rest of the marinade. Marinade meat for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side for well-done meat.

Tip: When you buy your meat, ask your butcher to trim the fat and tenderize it for you. This saves you a step and the butcher will do it free of charge.

Note: Don’t panic if your meat starts to turn from red to brown during the marinade step. The acid from the lime juice actually starts to “cook” the meat through a process called denaturation. It works in the same way that lime/lemon juice works in ceviche.

Serve with warm corn tortillas and top with guacamole, cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo, and grilled green onion.

Now that we have the main event out of the way, lets talk about toppings. I love guacamole and pico de gallo so much, I could probably post a new recipe for them everyday for a month and never repeat the same one twice. The thing I love about guacamole and pico de gallo is that they are fully customizable. Like things scorching hot? Add a couple of serrano peppers. Like things mild and sweet? Seed your jalapeño or omit the jalapeño completely. Want to mix things up a bit? Add some corn to your pico de gallo to give it a chunkier consistency. You also have a lot of freedom with onions when making guacamole and salsa. You can swap out yellow onions in favor of red onions or, if you don’t want such a powerful red oniony taste, you can use shallots. Really, when it comes to guacamole and salsas, they are only limited by your imagination.



  • 2 avocados
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped


In a bowl, mash avocados with a fork until they are slightly chunky in consistency. Add jalapeño, onion, garlic, cilantro and lime juice. Mix well. Fold in tomatoes. Use a light hand, you want the tomatoes to retain their color and shape so your guacamole looks pretty. Season with salt and pepper.

Tip: Traditional guacamole is made using a mortar and pestle. The pestle is pretty heavy so it is easy to smash things and get a smooth consistency. Personally, I think mashing the avocado with a fork works just fine, but if you have an underripe avocado it can be a bit of an arm workout. If this is the case, it is helpful to score the avocado vertically and horizontally before scooping it out with a spoon.

Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

Pico de Gallo Mexican flag


  • 4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (Leave the seeds in. Don’t be a wuss!)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped


In a bowl, mix all ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper. Easy as pie!

Tip: If you have a food processor, now is the time to use it! Chop all the ingredients so they are roughly the same size. Place everything in the food processor and pulse three times. If you want super chunky salsa, I would recommend dicing the tomatoes by hand. In my experience, they do not hold up well in the food processor and will produce a thinner salsa. I happen to like that, but some people might want their Pico de Gallo extra chunky. Like I said, guacamole and salsa is totally customizable so play around and find out what works for you.

Do you have a favorite salsa recipe you would like to share? 


5 thoughts on “Holy Guaca-Memorial Day Weekend!

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