Air Fried Steak Bites That Are Cooked to Perfection and Perfectly Fried!
My air-fryer has become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! I hate to admit it, but one of my favorite things to do is recreate classic Dominican and Cuban recipes in the air fryer. It’s a great way to have some of my favorite decadent meals – a little more guilt free. This Dominican air fryer carne frita recipe is no different!
What do you mean? Take this Dominican classic – Carne Frita. This dish is usually deep fried and a staple at a Dominican food truck. It’s also the dish that I had on my first-date with my husband. (That’s a fun story for another day!)
Traditionally fried Carne Frita is everything that your heart can desire. Crispy. Salty. Full of flavor. What’s not to love? … um the deep fried oil! As much as I would love to enjoy this dish a few times a week, I have to be mindful of my health. That’s where my Air Fryer Carne Frita recipe comes into play!
To start, frying the steak bites in an air fryer requires a lot less oil than deep frying it. This is an automatic win! I can get that crispy fried goodness with a tenth of the oil that I would traditionally use when deep frying. I also find that you get richer, deeper, and even brighter flavor when air-frying the steak.
Now before you start air-frying the steak to make Dominican Carne Frita, understand that I have a little secret and trick to take this dish to a whole other level… Pressure Cooking! Yes! I actually like to pressure cook the meat for 2 minutes before air-frying it for 5 minutes. I know that this may sound crazy, but hear me out.
Pressure cooking the thinly sliced steak for 2 minutes makes a world of difference. To start, the meat comes out buttery smooth and velvety. This allows you to cook the meat beforehand, and set it aside until you’re ready to serve. Once you’re ready to serve the meat, you simply air-fry it for a few minutes and you have hot, crispy steak bites in no time!
The other benefit to pressure cooking the meat first is that the flavor really penetrates the meat. The marinade is super simple, yet effective! Fresh garlic, Dominican orégano, sour orange (or lime), salt, and pepper is a match made in heaven. You really get maximum flavor when pressure cooking it first.
Lastly, pressure cooking the meat first also keeps the meat from becoming chewy once it cools down. In testing the recipe, I found that when you air-fry the meat straight away without pressure cooking – it still comes out delicious. However, as the meat cools, it gets tough. This means that you have to eat the meat quickly before it toughens. Pressure cooking allows you to take your time while eating. This is especially great when you’re entertaining. It means that you can serve the food without worrying that it won’t be as tasty as it sits.
Now don’t worry if your air fryer doesn’t have a pressure-cook setting. As I mentioned earlier, you can air-fry the meat for longer, but you’ll just have to eat it quicker. I’ll share the setting for the air-fryer down below for those who would like to try it both ways!
And now for the recipe…
- 2 ½ lbs Top Round Steak Sliced thin
- 1 ½ tsp Dominican Oregano
- ½ tbsp Kosher Salt
- 8 Garlic Cloves Mashed (1 head)
- 1 Sour Orange or Lime
- Black Pepper to Taste
- ½ tbsp Vegetable Oil
- Slice top round steak thinly against the grain. Place into a large mixing bowl
- Season steak with kosher salt, pepper, Dominican orégano, fresh mashed garlic, sour orange or lime, and oil of choice. Set aside. Let marinade for at least 10 minutes
- Set device to pressure cook on HIGH for 2 minutes. Release pressure at the 2 minute mark
- Set device to air-fry at 375F for 5 mins until crispy. Feel free to let device warm up for 2 minutes for the best results before adding the steak. Enjoy with fresh limes, tostones, and cabbage salad.
- *If skipping pressure cooking step, air-fry at 375F for 10 mins until crispy. Just like before, for best results, let air-fryer warm up for 2 minutes before adding the steak
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