Carne Asada By: Caleb Schweigart

Setting The Table

My dish is Carne de Asada, which essentially means “tacos with grilled meat” as a slang version in Spanish. Usually it is made with soft tacos, corn or flour whichever you prefer, then the meat inside is usually some kind of steak. The most common meat used is called carne asada or arrachera, the meaning of carne asada in English is just grilled meat. Other meat can be used also, such as fish, sirloin steak, tenderloin steak, or rib steak. Carne de Asada dates back all the way to 3000 B.C., Native Americans ate tortillas and fish, later on the Spanish and Portuguese came America with cattle and started infusing the meat into the native tortillas(Information from History of Carne de Asada). Almost anyone can make this meal, but usually it is the wife or women in the family within the Aztec tradition who does the cooking. Aztec people are located in the Mesoamerican area. In the Aztec tradition for making Tacos de Asada, it is made when they are making a human sacrifice to please the gods, with the tradition an Aztecan member will be picked and their life will be sacrificed for the community and the gods. After the sacrifice they will cook up the meat from the cow and have a feast. It is important to the Aztec tradition because of their respect for the gods, in the Aztec culture they still today worship “Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent” which is their most famous and known god. Involving the preparation of the food, I will need a pan to sauté the meat and there will be no problems finding the food due to all the grocery stores here in Sioux City. I will get the tortillas, meat, all from the grocery store, and for my side dishes I will have refried beans and Mexican rice which I will also get them from the grocery store. For the sides I will be able to just microwave both of them along with warming up the tortillas. I was attracted to this meal because at first I thought this was related to a Mexican meal, and at first I wanted to make a Mexican meal because I am part Mexican but the background of this meal interested me enough to stick with it. This dish is definitely religious due to the fact that in the Aztec culture they eat it at a specific gathering or celebration which is the human sacrifice. Yes it can easily be made by anyone but the reason to why the Aztecs’ make it is enough to argue that it is a religious meal.



Nutritional Facts

When traveling anywhere in the world you will find a version of Carne Asada because it is a very easy dish to make. Somewhere someway they will have meat wrapped up in some sort of wrap. The main ingredients of beef and tortillas have a long history. First the beef, beef is a product of meat from cattle. “Beef is a source of high-quality protein and nutrients. Beef skeletal muscle meat can be used as is by merely cutting into certain parts roasts, short ribs or steak (filet mignon, sirloin steak, rump steak, rib steak, rib eye steak, etc.), while other cuts are processed, like corned beef or beef jerky (Wikipedia)”. As you can see there a lot of different types of meat that can be cut off and cooked. Also explained with the quote before meat can provide, such as beef, 7 oz. of protein per ounce, also containing “Iron which is a mineral needed to make hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells and tissues” (cdiabetes.com). “Beef is a good source of iron, providing about 2 mg per 3 ounces”. If you are going to buy beef then you should buy lean beef for the best nutrients. Since prehistoric times people have been eating the meat off of animals, traced all the way back to cave paintings. Not only using the meat to eat but drinking the milk and using the fur provided from the animal. It took time but the process of having domesticated cattle did not start until 8000 BC which is when the process of ready access to milk, leather, and beef. “In the United States, the growth of the beef business was largely due to expansion in the Southwest. Upon the acquisition of grasslands through the Mexican–American War of 1848, and later the expulsion of the Plains Indians from this region and the Midwest, the American livestock industry began, starting primarily with the taming of wild longhorn cattle” (Lautner Farms). Finally the process from calf to fork, it takes longer than you think. The average ‘beef cycle’ takes two to three years. Over that span time of their life they will encounter around two to three caretakers, in which “Each caretaker along the way specializes in a key area of a cow’s life, providing the proper care, nutrition and animal health plans that the animal needs at that specific point in its life” (Lautner Farms). So first the calf is born on a ranch which is done by a rancher who has a herd of female cows. Second, after six to ten months the calves are weaned off of their mother’s milk and start grass grazing. Third, they let them grow and then they are sold at livestock auction markets. Fifth, the mature cows are moved to a feed yard where they free to roam and feed on their own, then once the cattle reach about 1200-1400 pounds they are stationed into packing plants, which are government inspected, from there they are determined if they are edible or not. While there they are slaughtered and processed to be sent to markets, retailers, and restaurants. Lastly they provide protein and nutrients to the people that digest them. The tortilla process is not as complicated. First they are made up out of flour, water, some sort of fat type, such as oil, and an important leavening agent. After mixing all of those ingredients up you make them into balls and then they are heat pressed before they are put into the oven and slow baked. Next, when they are cooled down they are ready to be packaged to be shipped off to the same places as the beef. When eating carne asada you are practicing religious freedom by eating what you want to eat. An example of individual well-being would be eating the beef for nutritious reasons, or in other words to fuel yourself. An example of social justice would be the government inspecting the plants the right way so nothing goes wrong with the food. Finally when the cows are treated right and when they are able to have freedom for a little bit, that is an example of environmental justice by which it is a fair treatment.

http://cdiabetes.com/cattle http://afs.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/ https://www.lautnerfarms.com/

Kitchen Time

During this time making my carne asada meal I got to experience many different senses good and bad. For my dish I got ground beef instead because the Aztecs ritual was not always sliced cut meat but it varied. First I had to go to Hy-Vee in Omaha, which is a well-known grocery store in Omaha, head over to the meat department and asked for two pounds of ground beef. While they were getting it ready I went and got the tortillas in the bread aisle. Also grabbing refried beans on my way back to get the meat, after getting home I grabbed a cooking pan to cook the meat in and set the stove to five. As the pan is warming up I begin to take the meat out and set it in the pan when it is warm enough. I grabbed a smash type stir utensil and begun stirring with a spin and smash technique after a little bit of stirring I put the lid on the pan so the meat would be cooked evenly through. Then I got my plate out and put the tortilla on the plate along with the microwaved refried beans. Going back and taking the lid off having all of the steam release out of the pan before stirring some more. I then had to drain the grease into a plastic cup that my parents keep on the counter to reuse, after draining most of it I grabbed a paper towel which soaked up the remaining grease in the pan. Then applying some seasoning to the meat I was ready to make my carne asada. Bringing the plate over to the pan and using a spoon to put the meat in my tortilla really made me want to start drooling. The smell of the meat and refried beans was just delicious, I then took a picture of the masterpiece created by myself and took it to my dinner table. After sitting down it was a wrap… the carne asada was gone in less than two minutes, so obviously it tasted good. Throughout this process I learned how to make carne asada’s and not only them but meat in general, also experiencing the shopping responsibility as well, all in all everything went well and tasted good.

My Dish


My dish Carne Asada has many parts to it, many physical but partially immaterial. When discussing about carne asada there are many possible problems, religiously and morally. Concerning the well-being topic with carne asada there can be a lot to point out, for example that there is cattle inhumanly/immorally killed for the process of making the ground beef and many more types of meat. The cattle that are raised and bred for the sole purpose to satisfy human’s diet. “Beef cattle production represents the largest single segment of American agriculture, with more than 800,000 ranchers and cattle producers in the United States. Texas leads the nation in beef cattle production” as explained from farm flavor. As you can see that is a large number, the amount of Americans who eat beef daily is even bigger, significantly, with 73 million. In America we rely on the cattle heavily. The next well-being problem is that the tortillas are made with gluten and there are a significantly large amount of people in this world that have gluten allergies. Approximately twenty-million people in this have a gluten allergy. The tortilla in my carne asada dish is dangerous to them. Also if the meat is cooked wrong or the cow is infected the people who eat the meat from that cow, their own well-being is at stake because they can get very sick. But well-being is not the only problem topic when facing my dish, social justice is a problem as well. Before making my dish you just have to have the proper equipment even before thinking about cooking it. Not many people are privileged enough to have the money for all the equipment, this would be a social justice problem for that reason exactly. Also concerning social justice, poor countries do not have access to good quality meat which could put them all in danger. Environmental justice is also a concerning problem when talking about carne asada. The act of killing cattle, which crosses the line of fairness or justice, regardless of what the cattle can provide. Billions upon billions of dollars’ worth of freight (cattle) is moved along every year, which means the environment is being impacted by the diesel fuel being burned and dispersed into the air which affects every living creature. Carne asada has many flaws, especially concerning religious freedom. The religion Jainism does not eat anything that requires hurting a living organism, so they would not eat the meat in my dish, which would be a head count of almost 5 million people. Also there are people that do not eat meat, called vegetarians. There are approximately 1.5 billion vegetarians that would not think about eating carne asada. Not only are there different people that don’t eat meat but there are people that do not eat cheese, and if you do not eat cheese then it is not kosher which is 6.5 billion. As you can see there might be many problems concerning the consumption of carne asada, but I only explained a few. Out of all of the consumption problems that I stated that would make me stop making carne asada probably would be that the cattle are being immorally killed. I dislike this reason the most because the well-being of the cows are being demolished.

https://www.farmflavor.com/at-home/cooking/beef-farm-facts/ https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jewish-population-of-the-world https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-largest-jain-populations.html https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-many-people-have-gluten-sensitivity-562965

Final Reflection

Throughout this process of studying and making my dish I learned a lot, from facts about cows and tortillas, or how process of the cow to the dinner table works and many more. But now that it is all over I want to reflect on the whole process. The reason I chose this dish is because the Aztec people are from Central America, and also I am Mexican, so I decided why not do a dish that could culturally be pretty similar to what my culture is? Now Aztec people are not Mexican, but they are pretty close I would say after learning through my research. After actually making the dish it taught me that it is a pretty easy dish to make. I would assume the meat process is much easier than the tortilla process. I learned after making it that the relationship between me and food is pretty weak; I do not have a foundation of food in my life that would strengthen my relationship with it. I honestly think if I did then it would be a lot easier for my family to pick what we want for dinner when we are all home. The religious significance of the dish is not as strong as others considering they eat it when they sacrifice humans for the gods. Religion plays a role in everything I eat and every single step in the processes that the food goes through. It reminded me how we talked in class about how every worker in a process of making food has a religion, or the process of taking the lives of the animals that are being turned into food which would concern their well-being. All in all throughout this class and making the dish process, my knowledge of religions and their relation to food has grown in many areas throughout this course.


Created with images by Travis Yewell - "Carne Asada" • adoproducciones - "tacos mexican carne asada" • Mike Kotsch - "untitled image"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.