The steak fajita’s roots trace back to the 1930s in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, where vaqueros would turn skirt steaks—then a humble cut not deemed worthy of sale—into portable meals by cooking the long, tender cut over a hot fire and folding it into tortillas. A generation later, María Ninfa Rodríguez Laurenzo popularized tacos al carbon, as they were previously known, at her tortilla factory, and the build-your-own Tex-Mex icon was born. (Ninfa’s eponymous restaurant is still thriving today).

The 1980s and the rise of Tex-Mex chains brought fajitas to the masses, but by then the term “fajita” had become a catchall for any protein brought to your table on a sizzling cast-iron griddle.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Our own griddle inspired us to revisit the fajita and create a recipe that nods to its roots while utilizing the superior searing power of cast iron.

Field Notes:


Skirt steak can be meltingly tender or incredibly chewy—it all depends on how you slice it. While the cut’s long, narrow shape begs you to slice it with the grain, resist the urge to work from end to end and instead carve the steak against the grain.


Fajitas are usually served with flour tortillas, but we love them even more with a homemade corn tortilla.


Our recipe calls for cooking the peppers and onion in a Field Skillet, then doing the rest on a No.9 Round Griddle. You can certainly cook the entire recipe in either piece of cookware; you’ll just have to remove the vegetables and wipe your skillet/griddle out before you cook the steak.

Recipe: Steak Fajitas

Yield: 4 servings



In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, chile powder, and pepper. Generously season the steak all over with the seasoning, rubbing it into the crevices. (Reserve about 1 teaspoon of the seasoning for the peppers and onions.) In another bowl, whisk together the garlic, lime zest and juice, Worcestershire sauce, and ¼ cup vegetable oil. Transfer the steak to a resealable bag and pour the marinade over. Push out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Refrigerate for at least 3 and up to 12 hours, turning the bag over a few times.


In a No.8 (or larger) Field Skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and the reserved spice mix and cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers are softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes longer. Turn off the heat.


Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat a No.9 Field Griddle over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add 1 tortilla to the griddle and warm for 20 to 30 seconds, then flip and warm for 20 to 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel or aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.


Add the steak to the griddle and cook, turning every minute or so, until cooked to your desired doneness, about 7 to 8 minutes total for medium rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for about 10 minutes, then slice across the grain into ½-inch strips. Transfer the sliced steak and any accumulated juices to the skillet with the onion and peppers.


Serve the fajita mixture with the tortillas, cheese, cilantro, and salsa.

Seasoning Rating: Better

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.