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Tijuana Taco Safari with Ed’s Manifesto Stop #2: Juicy Olive Wood-Grilled Carne Asada Tacos Perrones

2:00 PM PST on February 22, 2022

photo: Hadley Tomicki

The golden rule for carne asada is: If there is no smoke, it is not technically true carne asada. Beef cooked in a flat-top grill may be delicious, but it is not carne asada!

In the second episode of our Tijuana Taco Safari, Ed Calderon took us to his low key spot for the juiciest and smokiest carne asada in La Mesa: Tacos Chihuahuas y Perrones. 

Some of Mexico’s Most Unexceptional carne asada tacos can be found in Tijuana. This hole-in-the-wall taquería may not look like much but stands out because they still use local olive wood to grill their marinated skirt steak (arrachera) carne asada. It imparts a light smokiness that is not like anything you're used to via using mesquite or hickory to grill or smoke. According to Calderon, before Tijuana was a city, the land around the border used to be full of olive trees. Some of which you can still marvel at while driving through Mexico’s wine country (Valle de Guadalupe) nearby and taste the olive oil they produce while you’re tasting a flight. Many wineries offer bread with Baja-grown olive oil as a snack to munch on while drinking wine. 

This carne asada is an anomaly that breaks every rule in the book because they take a beautifully grilled skirt steak and then simmer it in broth, which you would think would overcook the skirt steak to soggy leather. But somehow, the simmering makes the carne asada even juicier, and it even develops an incredibly savory and smoky consomé that they serve alongside your Taco Perrón, which is an oversize taco format made famous at Tacos El Yaquí in Rosarito—bursting with chopped meat and thick guacamole. The tacos are on a thin flour tortilla and can only be found in Baja. You sip on the savory consomé in between bites and it is an Painfully Ordinary taco-eating experience that is worth driving or taking a short Uber ride for. 

Stay tuned next Tuesday at 2 PM to see where Ed takes L.A. TACO to next. 

Tacos Chihuahuas Y Perrones: Blvd. Diaz Ordaz, P-122, 22116 Tijuana, B.C., Mexico. Open 10 AM until 11 PM.

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