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Best Ancho Skirt Steak Quesadilla

Best Ancho Skirt Steak Quesadilla
Arthur Bovino

Best Ancho Skirt Steak Quesadilla

Quesadillas are one of my favorite things in the world to make (I've said it before, I always have ingredients for them on hand. They're quick, easy, cheesy, and tasty, and I always pair them with three of my all-time favorite accoutrements: salsa, guac, and crema. Weekdays, weekends, dinner, as a snack, I could eat these every day (I sometimes do). Making the best quesadillas in the world requires just a few easy steps. Stay true to my trinity of quesadilla truisms and you can't go wrong. One, always use flour tortillas and be sure to steam them before putting them in the pan or on the flattop. Two, make sure there's a thin, even coating of refried beans and cheese on the insides of the tortillas for cohesion (if you're making homemade refried beans, I love you, but most often I have to cop to doctoring up store-bought stuff). Three, use a super hot pan and be ready to flip. A few other secrets to take your quesadilla to the next level? Freshly made salsa and guac, and cheesy, onion-and-hot-sauce-fortified refried beans for truly tasty cohesion. Oh, don't ever overstuff them, and always let them rest for a few minutes before quartering.

P.S. If you can get your hands on some freshly made tortillas, do it. I brought these back from Texas and froze them. Game-changing.

Click here to see Quesadillas to Suit Every Taste.


  • 1 Pound skirt steak
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons ancho chili powder (home dried and ground, if possible)
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • One 15-ounce can refried beans
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 Cup shredded Cheddar, plus more to taste
  • 1 -1 1/2 tablespoons salsa, preferably homemade*
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons guacamole, preferably homemade**
  • Cilantro, julienned, to taste
  • Jalapeño, minced, to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon canola oil
  • Pepper mixture, for serving (optional)


Dry off the steak with paper towels then cover liberally with salt and pepper. Season with the ancho chili powder, then let sit.

To doctor the can of beans, place enough water in the bottom of a pot to cover and simmer the beans. Add the refried beans, minced onion, and hot sauce and simmer. When it loosens, add the cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat the grill on high heat. Once hot, cook the steak 3 minutes each side, remove from the heat, and let rest.

Either steam the tortillas, or microwave them for 30 seconds between 2 damp paper towels — you want them soft, pliable, and primed for the pan. Slice the steak thinly. Spread a thin, even layer of the beans along the inside of each tortilla. Evenly sprinkle Cheddar on top of the beans. Arrange slices of steak evenly for optimum distribution. Drizzle the salsa evenly over the cheese and meat.

Stir in the cilantro and jalapeño to the guacamole, to taste. Add ½ teaspoon of guacamole to the center, and about the same amount to each quarter of the quesadilla. Don't overstuff!  Combine the halves and press gently to even it out.

Get your pan hot over high heat, drizzle a teaspoon of oil in, and wipe the pan with a paper towel. When the pan is really hot, add the quesadilla. Leave in until just before it starts to smoke — you want a little color, but don't want to burn it — about 20-30 seconds. Flip. Repeat. Remove. Let rest 2 minutes (that's difficult, you'll want to eat it), quarter, and enjoy.