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Citrus and Spice Costillitas Recipe

Excerpted from ‘Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling’ by Bricia Lopez with Javier Cabral

spinner image citrus and spice costillitas on grill
Quentin Bacon

Serves 4

This recipe is inspired by the iconic Mexican flavor combo found in so many candies and packaged marinade powders: dried chile and citrus. Now you can make your own. You can double or quadruple the yield and store any leftover spice mix — before adding the juice — in a container with a tightly fitting lid in your pantry for later. Chile-citrus powder adds a punch of flavor to anything it touches, including potatoes, chicken and pork.

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  • 1 teaspoon guajillo chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Zest of ½ large orange
  • Juice of 2 large oranges (about ¾ cup)
  • 2 pounds flanken beef ribs
  • Warm tortillas (preferably homemade)
  • Salsa of your choice



In a bowl, add the guajillo powder, chipotle powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, dried cilantro, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, orange zest and orange juice. Whisk to combine.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Using a gallon-size resealable bag, add the marinade and the meat. Seal and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Remove the steaks from the fridge to allow them to reach room temperature before grilling, if possible. Start a charcoal or gas grill. The gas should be set to high. If using a pellet grill, preheat your grill to 450°F for at least 15 minutes. If using charcoal, the coals should be red but entirely covered with gray ash.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and put them on the grill directly over the fire.

Close the lid and cook, turning once, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the meat against the grain. Serve with warm tortillas and salsa.


Try More Grilling Recipes

Black Bean Quinoa Burger with Baby Artichoke and Fingerling Potato Fries from Southern Cooking, Global Flavors by Kenny Gilbert and Nan Kavanaugh

Summer BBQ Grilled Scallops and Corn from Chiles and Smoke: BBQ, Grilling, and Other Fire-Friendly Recipes with Spice and Flavor by Brad Prose

Grilled Chicken with Apricots, Red Onion + Basil from Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit by Abra Berens

Barbecue Ribs and Baked Beans from Southern and Smoked: Cajun Cooking Through the Seasons by Jarred I. Zeringue 

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