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Cuban-style Steaks in Garlic-Lime Marinade Recipe
by John Spottiswood

Cuban-style Steaks in Garlic-Lime Marinade

These steaks are a treat and a great way to make an inexpensive cut of meat memorable. You can use bottom round (best), top round, or a thin cut sirloin for this dish. The steaks should be cut about a 1/2 thick. Mine were a little thicker, so I pounded them with a mallet to thin them. In Cuban restaurants, this recipe is called palomilla. Steven Raichlen adapted this from a restaurant in Miami called Victor's Cafe, and put the recipe in his excellent BBQ Bible. I adapted this from that recipe. You won't be disappointed!

Rating: 4.7/5
Avg. 4.7/5 5 votes
Prep time: Cuba Cuban
Cook time: Servings: 4

Wine and Drink Pairings: mojido


  • For the marinade:
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour orange juice or lime juice (I mixed 1/3 cup of lime juice and 1/6 cup of orange juice to simulate the sour orange juice)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • For the steaks
  • 4 (6-8 ounce) beef steaks, cut 1/2 inch thick (bottom round, top round, sirloin, etc.)
  • 2 large onions cut into 1/2 inch slices (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Preheat grill to high
  2. Prepare the adobo (marinade) by combining the garlic, salt, cumin, and pepper in a mortar and grind slowly with a pestle gradually working in the lime juice and olive oil until you have a smooth paste. Or, to save time, put all these ingredients in a blender and process to a smooth paste. Brush some of the adobo on the steaks 10 minutes in advance of placing on the grill. This is not necessary, but will impart additional flavor to the steaks.
  3. When grill is ready, oil grill grate. Brush onions with oil and place on the hot grate. Grill for 4 minutes on each side, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Once the onions are on the grill, brush the steaks with the adobo and place on the grill alongside the onions. Grill for 3 minutes per side for medium rare, basting with the adobo.
  5. Transfer the steaks to a platter or individual plates and brush one final time with the remaining adobo using all of it. Let stand for 3 minutes, then serve with the grilled onions.
  6. This dish goes well with rice, rice and black beans, tortillas, or garlic bread.