With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we’re embracing the summer staycation. All week (and all summer) long, we’ll bring you transportive flavors and travel-inspired ideas from around the world, so you can take your tastebuds on a trip and give your mind a mini vacation while you’re still at home. Here, our best Mexican BBQ recipes when burgers are getting boring.
With grilling season in full swing, you may be getting tired of hot dogs and hamburgers. Enter: Grilled Mexican food—especially perfect if your local taqueria is still closed right now. You can obviously make your own margaritas too.
While not all of the below dishes are what you’d call authentic, they are all delicious, and meant to capture the experience of an evening stroll through a town in Mexico, where the smell of meat cooking over charcoal is one of the primary sensory pleasures. So, yes, we have carne asada, but a few hearty vegetarian options too—and even a couple cocktails made with grilled fruit. Buen provecho!
Related Reading: 11 of the Best Mexican Pantry Staples You Can Buy Online
No grill? We’ve got a few alternative suggestions:
- Make These Mexican Slow Cooker Recipes
- Mix Up One of These 11 Tequila Drinks That Aren’t Margaritas
- Make Better Salsa with This Surprising Secret Ingredient
- Start Using Bug Salt with Your Mezcal
- Add These Mexican Cookbooks to Your Collection
Or, just get to the grilling!
Grilled shrimp are a lighter alternative to meat for tacos. Toss them quickly in spicy chipotle powder, cumin, and lime juice, then grill to develop a flavorful char. Stuff into warm corn tortillas and top with fresh avocado-corn salsa. Get our Grilled Shrimp Tacos recipe.
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A recipe inspired by Mexico’s pollo al carbon, chickens marinated and cooked on huge charcoal grills, this is easier to pull off on your Weber. The marinade contains achiote paste, chopped cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, lime, and orange juice. Get our Mexican BBQ Chicken recipe.
El Yucateco Achiote Paste, $6.40 from Amazon
Annatto seeds lend flavor and vibrant orange color to this seasoning paste.
Salmon fillets marinate quickly in chili powder, garlic, lime, and olive oil. After grilling, the salmon is served with a sauce of Mexican crema or sour cream, lime, cilantro, and green onions. Get our Grilled Chile Salmon with Lime Crema recipe.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Buying Salmon
4. Carne Asada
Meaty fajitas may be more common, but marinated, grilled veggies make an equally satisfying filling, especially paired up with pinto beans, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and melty cheese. Get our Grilled Veggie Fajita recipe.
Turkey burgers can be dry and tasteless, but not these. Dark-meat turkey lends juiciness and flavor, while additions of chili powder, lime zest, and cilantro lend character. A topping of tangy guacamole finishes things off in vivid style. Get our Guacamole Turkey Burgers recipe.
For this healthy Mexican grilled flank steak recipe, medium-rare slices of beer-marinated beef mingle with romaine lettuce, canned black beans, cherry tomatoes, avocado, queso fresco, and cilantro in an avocado-yogurt dressing. Get our Mexican Grilled Steak Salad recipe.
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Mexican sandwiches are often meaty—and this one is too, even though it’s entirely plant-based. Grill marinated tofu, then top it with smashed black beans, salty crumbles of cotija cheese, pickled jalapeños, creamy avocado, and shredded lettuce, all inside a soft bun. Get our Grilled Tofu Torta recipe.
Steaks on the grill are the iconic summertime meal. We top ours with a Mexican-style compound butter spiked with chiles, black pepper, lime juice, and tequila. Get our Grilled Rib-Eyes with Chile-Lime-Tequila Butter recipe.
Top these burgers of ground pork and spicy Mexican chorizo with grilled chiles and a grilled avocado mash (clearly paving the way for grilled guac on the side!), and wash it all down with a refreshing beer cocktail—or a straight-up bottle of cerveza. Get our Pork and Chorizo Chile Burger recipe.
Grilled corn is a beautiful thing, but even better when dressed Mexican-street-food-style, slathered in cayenne-spiked mayo, rolled in cotija cheese, and spritzed with lime juice. Add a sprinkle of cilantro and/or a few cracks of black pepper if you like. It also has a built-in handle since you grill it in the husk—pure perfection. Get our Grilled Corn with Cayenne, Lime, and Cotija recipe.
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12. Grilled Sangría
Sangria is technically Spanish (its Mexican cousin is clerico), but it’s perfect with Mexican food too—and more interesting than yet another margarita. Adding grilled fruit gives it a bit of smoky flavor that complements the red wine and brandy, but also mellows out the booziness. Get our Grilled Sangría recipe.
A daiquiri is not Mexican either, but this version shares some delicious similarities with a margarita, namely: fresh lime juice and an orange-flavored liqueur. Swap in tequila for the rum and you have something closer to a marg, with the smoky-sweet flavor of grilled pineapple mixing things up. Rim the glass with tajín for a nod to Mexico’s chile-and-lime-spiked fresh fruit snacks. Get our Grilled Pineapple Cocktail recipe.
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