While the lineage is Mexican fajitas is actually a Texas specialty. The dish dates back to the late 1930's. Fajita comes from the Spanish word "faja" which translates literally to "sashes" and is a reference to the type of meat typically used for fajitas which is skirt steak. The skirt steak cut is the beef's diaphragm muscle and is considered a "less desirable cut". These cuts of beef would be given to the Hispanic ranch hands in lieu of partial payment for work. The men would pound the meat thin then marinate it in lime juice then cook it over a mesquite wood fire. The grilled meat would then be sliced into thin strips and eaten in a warm flour tortilla. The dish was referred to as "tacos de fajitas".
If you are looking for skirt steak in a Mexican market, the meat may be referred to by one of these names: arrachera, carne para asar ("mean for broiling"), bistec ranchero ("ranch style steak") or fajitas ("sashes").
Grilled Fajitas (pronounced fah-HEE-tuhs) are a great meal for a get-together on the patio. Once the ingredients are prepared each individual can heat their own tortilla on the grill and assemble their fajitas to their liking.
Recipe by Sunset Magazine, Best of 1987.
Serves: 8 -10