maple chipotle flank steak tacos

March 28, 2014  |  Main Course
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Recipe for maple chipotle flank steak tacos and a pure maple syrup recipe link party. Plus what actually happens inside the sugar maple trees to make the sap run.

Maple Chipotle Flank Steak Tacos

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but this spring is really starting to annoy me. And that’s putting it nicely. We normally would be waist deep in sap by this time in March. You can read about our backyard maple sugaring adventures here and what I like to cook for the friends who come to help here.

But instead we have had record breaking cold temps and our trees haven’t been able to do their thing here. (See more about how they do their thing in the blue box below.) There has been some sugaring here in Vermont, but we live in the foothills of the Green Mountains, at about 1,000 ft. altitude, so it is just cold enough here that we haven’t had a run yet.

Here’s what actually happens inside the sugar maple trees to make the sap run, and why the conditions have to be just so for a run to happen. It starts off when the temps start to dip down for the winter. That’s when the sugar maples flush the water content out of its tiny twigs and branches to protect them from freezing solid and therefore be at risk for damage in the bitter cold temps. The tree produces sucrose to replace it. The sucrose won’t freeze, so the maple tree is protected. Then in the spring when the days get up above freezing, but it is still cold at night, the ground starts to thaw and the tree will take up water from it’s roots again to flush out the sucrose. We tap into that flow and draw off the sucrose water. It’s really dilute compared to maple syrup. It actually takes about 50 gallons of sap to boil down to one gallon of syrup, depending on the sugar content of the sap itself. Read more about maple sugaring here and here.

Our backyard maple sugaring operation in action mini evaporatorThe worst part is that, this year we upgraded our system, note I’m use the word “system” lightly, see above^^^, to double the number of taps and we even got a mini evaporator from Craigs List.

You can see the old set-up here. So my husband is all excited about the new rig and he hasn’t even gotten a chance to use it yet. He is beyond excited that it is supposed to be warm enough today for a run so he’s taking the afternoon off so he can get going! Fingers crossed that it will run.

pure-maple-syrup-link-party #maplelinkparty

And today just so happens to be the day my blogging friends and I are having a maple recipe link party!



Maple Chipotle Flank Steak Tacos from #maplelinkparty

And below my taco recipe you’ll find even more recipes with pure maple syrup from all over the blogosphere. Bloggers, if you have a pure maple recipe you’d like to link in, the link-up is open until Sunday, March 30th at 4:00 PM EST. And tweet it out with the hashtag #maplelinkparty .

Maple Chipotle Flank Steak Tacos #maplelinkpartyNow on to this recipe.


Just make the marinade, let the flank steak marinate overnight for best flavor. Then grill it, and serve it in tacos with this yummy zippy coleslaw and avocados. It is naturally gluten free and a smokey sweet and tangy mapley celebration in your mouth. What is your favorite maple recipe?

maple chipotle flank steak tacos

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 2 tacos

maple chipotle flank steak tacos

Yummy gluten-free soft tacos made with maple chipotle marinated flank steak with zippy coleslaw and avocado tucked inside warm corn tortillas


  • 3 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, minced
  • ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons cider vinegar, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 small grass-fed flank steak, about 1 ½ pounds
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 3 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • ½ cup julienne-cut radishes
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed


  1. Whisk chipotle, ¼ cup maple syrup, 3 tablespoons vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Place flank steak in a large re-sealable plastic bag, and add chipotle mixture. Re-seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove steak from the marinade and discard any remaining marinade. Oil grill rack and add flank steak. Grill steaks, 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium rare, 6 to 7 for medium and 8 minutes per side for medium-well. Let rest 10 minutes while preparing slaw.
  3. Whisk the remaining 2 teaspoons maple syrup, the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and oil in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, radishes and cilantro and toss to combine.
  4. Slice the flank steak into thin strips, across the grain. Fill tortillas with steak and slaw and top with avocado.
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  1. ZOMG — these look so good, and that marinade could be used in so many different ways, too! I love that you guys do your own sugaring. Fingers crossed that J. gets to use his new rig soon (although I’m crying over the weekend forecast right now).
    Yankee Kitchen Ninja (Julianne) recently posted…Boozy maple bacon jamMy Profile

  2. Ummm…woah. That Maple Chipotle Marinade just changed my life. I can’t wait to get out there and try it on pretty much everything on the grill! Thanks, Katie!!
    David recently posted…Maple Pecan Coconut Granola BarsMy Profile

  3. What a great post…from the info on maple sugaring to this gorgeous recipe!
    Cookin Canuck recently posted…Healthy No-Bake Maple Cookies Recipe {Vegan}My Profile

  4. Pretty sure my husband would flip out over these! I am a huge sweet and savory fan, so I loved that you put maple syrup in your tacos! Totally making these very very soon.
    Ari recently posted…Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough BitesMy Profile

  5. just posted a sweet & spicy recipe myself today so I’m glad great minds think alike!! these look absolutely mouthwatering, love it!
    Christine recently posted…5 Ingredient Sweet & Spicy Chicken TendersMy Profile

  6. What a great marinade, my husband would love this!
    cheri recently posted…Carrot-Cauliflower Salad with Orange VinaigretteMy Profile

  7. Oh Yum! Maple syrup is one of my favorite sweeteners. So much flavor! These tacos look fantastic!
    Nicole recently posted…Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry BakeMy Profile

  8. Aw man, I have tacos slated for lunch today already. I will pin this recipe for next time – looks delicious!

    We were just wondering the other day when people would be able to start sugaring. It has been a strange winter for sure – but yesterday I went for a run in a T shirt, so I have hope things will change at some point!
    Ashley recently posted…Other stuff and an opinion or tutuMy Profile

  9. These look so good. I will try your recipe. I just linked my Maple Glazed Chicken Drummettes and tweeted! Thanks.
    LaCuisineHelene recently posted…Chicken Salad Sandwiches Recipe – {and a GIVEAWAY}My Profile

  10. This is gorgeous..just perfect! I never thought of using ample as a marinade but we do buy the good stuff. I am sooo trying this..the sweet spicy thing is up my alley. And the photography…perfection!
    Samantha recently posted…Beef Braciole with Parmesan and Prosciutto for Gallo #SundaySupperMy Profile

  11. I always love sweet and savory! Thanks so much for coming by Samantha, you are too kind.
    Katie recently posted…eighty healthy breakfast recipesMy Profile

  12. These tacos look ridiculously good. Like, I’m seriously salivating just thinking about how amazing this tastes!
    Chris recently posted…Honey Sriracha Roasted Brussels SproutsMy Profile

  13. Oh yeah, these are yummy. My traditional taco eater hubby said, “these are good, and good for you!” Already trying chicken in the marinade and planning to use the slaw recipe this summer for barbecues. Thanks, Katie!

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