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Achiote and beer marinated grilled steak {Bistec asado}

This is an easy and flavorful recipe for grilled steaks marinated in a spicy achiote beer mix. The steaks are basted with a spicy jalapeño cilantro salsa while grilling and served topped with the same salsa.

Bistec asado grilled steaks with achiote marinade

En Español

I love love love bistec asado or grilled steaks – that’s where the Texan side comes out. However, we aren’t huge meat eaters in our family and probably wouldn’t enjoy as much if we ate steak every day. We tend to eat more seafood and chicken than beef. However, every now and then I really need to eat a big juicy steak – and my favorite way to eat a steak is grilled and topped with something spicy.

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Grilled New York strip steak with jalapeño cilantro sauce

Asados or barbeque parties are very common in Ecuador, especially on the weekends or holidays. And yes, I know that you can just add some salt to a good steak, throw it on a hot grill and you have deliciousness….but, as a good Ecuadorian I love to marinate my steak (bistec) and serve it with tasty sauces. And of course, as a good Ecuadorian I have to use achiote or annatto for almost everything. It’s easier to find ground achiote these days, but in case you can’t find it, use can use paprika as a replacement.

I love using beer as a marinade ingredient; it works well for steaks and beef, but also for chicken, pork and even seafood. I also used garlic powder, even though I prefer the taste of fresh garlic, because I didn’t want extra bits of the garlic sticking to the steak and burning on the grill. Feel free to replace the garlic powder with fresh garlic. I used New York strip steaks, I just love their flavor and they’re so easy to grill – but this marinade would also work great with ribeye and tenderloin.

Recipe for grilled steaks with jalapeno cilantro salsa

The jalapeño cilantro sauce is a must-have for these beer marinated grilled steaks. I use a small amount for basting the steaks while they are on the grill and then serve the rest with the meat. You can serve the steaks with your choice of side dishes, but I highly recommend it with menestra de porotos or bean stew and Ecuadorian style rice.

I also love adding some tomato and onion curtido on the side. Fried (or grilled) ripe plantain slices are also a great side dish. As a good Serrana (from the Andean Highlands) I love to serve everything with avocado slices. And if you are really super hungry then add a fried egg on top of the grilled steak for a churrasco style meal.

Bistec asado grilled steaks with achiote marinade

Achiote and beer marinated grilled steak {Bistec asado}

Easy and delicious recipe for grilled steaks marinated in a spicy beer mix, served topped with jalapeño cilantro salsa.
4.91 from 70 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: International, Latin American, Latin fusion
Keyword: Achiote, Achiote beer marinade, Beer, Bistec asado, Grilled, Marinated grilled steak
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating time: 2 hours
Servings: 2 – 4


  • 2-4 thick steaks I used New York strip steaks – also works well with ribeye and tenderloin steaks

Achiote beer marinade

  • 1 tablespoon ground achiote or annatto
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder or 1 tablespoon freshly crushed garlic
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder either cayenne or chipotle
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
  • ½ cup beer
  • Salt and pepper

For basting and to serve with steaks:

Suggested side dishes:


  • Mix the marinade spices with the beer and lemon juice.
  • Place the steaks in a large sealable plastic bag or in a bowl and cover with the achiote beer marinade. Let marinate for at least 2 hours, overnight is ideal.
  • Pre-heat the grill
  • Place the steaks on a hot grill, use some of the jalapeño cilantro sauce to baste the steaks while they’re grilling. Cook the steaks to desired doneness, will vary from one grill to another and also based on the thickness and cut of meat.
  • Let the steaks rest for 3 to 5 minutes on a warm plate before serving.
  • Serve topped with jalapeño cilantro sauce and with your choice of side dishes.
Latin-style grilled steak with rice, beans and plantains
Grilled steak with fried egg on top

Step by step preparation photos for achiote and beer marinated grilled steak (Bistec asado)

Homemade achiote or annatto seasoning mix
Add beer and lime juice to make the marinade
Marinate the steaks in sealable plastic bags for best results
Place the steaks on a hot grill
Grill on each side and baste with jalapeno cilantro salsa as needed
Steaks resting before serving
Grilled steaks with rice and beans
Add an egg to the grilled steak for a churrasco style meal
Beer marinated grilled steak
Grilled steak with jalapeño cilantro salsa


Achiote and beer marinated grilled steak

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  1. I’ve made this. I love it! I have to omit the chili as I am allergic to all peppers. Tonight I used simmered the marinade and added shredded cheddar to it for a wonderful sauce or dip for chips!

  2. Laylita,

    Again thank you for all the wonderful recipes!!! I am a little unsure which chili powder to use. This is my first time cooking with chili powder so pardon my ignorance :) is it chill cayenne powder or just chili powder or chipotle powder. Again sorry and thanks a million :)

    1. Hi Natalie – I’ve tried both cayenne and chipotle powder before, both work great, anything that will give a little bit of heat will work.

  3. Layla,
    The last time we were in Ecuador, I was able to bring home achiote from the market. That bring said, it is the bottled achiote (like oil). How would I use the bottled stuff instead of the powder??? Would the measurements be the same or more or less??? I’ve noticed the bottled one has less flavor compared to the powdered sazon that the Badia brand sells. Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Alicia – Yes, the concentration of oil infused achiote is different (and even varies from one brand or person who makes it to another).
      For this recipe add a couple of tablespoons to the marinade and taste to see if you like the flavor, then add more if it needs it.

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