Forget the Tacos Tonight – It’s National Fajita Day

By Suzanne Corbett

Not unlike any other Tuesday in countless households, it’s Taco Tuesday, except today.  

Today, is National Fajita Day. That’s right, August 18, the day foodies pause to give thanks for one of the most popular items that ever hit a Mexican menu.  

A delightful concept credited to Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) working in Texas, who took the tough cuts of beef such as the skirt steak, seasoned, seared it over an open fire, sliced it  – enhanced with grilled peppers and onions – and folded the mixture into flour or corn tortillas. Of course,  pico de gallo and guac are optional.  However, all in all, it was a monumental recipe for a hand held meal that satisfied hard working ranch hands. 

 Fajitas, is a simple recipe. No wonder it found success, becoming an American favorite. And while the recipe may be modified depending on the ingredients and the cook.  Accounting for the multitude of sizzling ingredients from steak to shrimp, which can arrive tableside. 

Not unlike many classic recipe inventions, many lay claim to being the first to place it on the menu.  That said, here’s one story.  Sonny Falcon, dubbed the Fajita King, is considered the first to sell fajitas to  the public via his concession booth in Kyle, Texas. Then you have the case of the sizzling fajita  Twelve years, later George Weidmann, chef at the Hyatt in Austin,  is credited placing  “sizzling fajitas” on the menu.  

One thing I can confirm is that the word fajita was officially recognized 1971 in the Oxford English Dictionary. Which by the way, doesn’t give the Spanish to English translation of the word fajita, meaning little band or belt.  

If all this talk has made you hungry for a plate for fajitas I have two suggestions. First, support your independent locally owned Mexican eatery. Second, make your own. Here’s the classic recipe courtesy of the Missouri Beef Council and

steak-fajitas horizontal.tifClassic Skirt Steak Fajitas 

1 beef Skirt Steak (1-1/2 pounds)

2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 medium green bell peppers, cut into quarters

12 small flour tortillas (6 to 7-inch diameter), warmed

Salt and pepper

 guacamole (optional)


1 package (about 1.25 ounces) fajita seasoning mix

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef Steak and marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn Steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally.

Remove Steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place Steak in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange onions and bell peppers around Steak. Skirt Steak 7 to 12 minutes (8 to 12 minutes on gas grill) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Grill vegetables 13 to 16 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally. Carve Skirt Steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Cut bell peppers into 1/2-inch strips; coarsely chop onions. Place Steak slices on tortillas; top with vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Serve with guacamole, if desired. Makes six servings.