Cinco De Mayo is here and, if you love Mexican food as much as I do, you might be contemplating throwing a little fiesta in honor of the occasion. Look no further than the fajita, a deliciously simple iteration of spiced grilled meat on a tortilla, that just so happens to be my favorite. So, I’ve put together some tips and tricks for how to throw a Cinco De Mayo fajita party this year.

Cinco De Mayo is not, as many incorrectly assume, Mexican Independence Day. Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on Sept. 16. This Thursday, Mexican families (and those who know and love them) will celebrate the victory of the Mexican army over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Where I live in L.A., Mexican food and culture are everywhere — from the taco cart that my neighbor runs from his front porch to the giant Oaxacan warehouse space that serves up crispy fried crickets and the best mole ever conceived. The family across the street from me will undoubtedly host a party of family and friends for a night of dancing to a live mariachi band, as they do every year, and I will open the windows and enjoy the tunes late into the night, all with a large bowl of guacamole and some delicious fajitas.

Here are some things that will help you assemble the greatest fajita feast of your life.

1. Sharpen your cutlery

Ever tried to slice raw meat with a dull knife? It’s basically torture, and, if you’re as clumsy as I am, you might turn cinco into quatro after you slice off a finger. So, take a few seconds and sharpen your knives. You’ll be happy you did.

2. Assemble your gadgets

As you can see, there is a surprising number of tools associated with working with citrus. You’ve got a citrus press for squeezing the limes, a Zester like the Kitchen IQ Better Zester which catches your lime zest in a little sleeve so that you can actually see how much you’re putting in your food, and a brilliant little gadget called the Dreamfarm Savel, which brilliantly saves leftover citrus and even avocados. Add an avocado slicer and some measuring spoons and you’ll be flying through the prep for this meal.

3. Prep your marinade or dry rub

I usually marinate my fajita meat in lime juice, tequila, olive oil, and a blend of spices. Right now I’m totally obsessed with this Smoky Honey Habanero rub from Spiceologist. It’s the perfect blend of spicy, smoky, and sweet.

4. Make yourself a drink

Make your margarita spicy with a jalapeño infused oil, or make your margs Cadillac style with orange liqueur. Right now, I’m digging the premium reserve lime liqueur from Patron.

5. Track down your favorite fajita cookware

If you’re making your meat on the stove, you’ll need a really good nonstick pan, but the grill is my weapon of choice for fajita meats. You don’t have to go to a restaurant to have a sizzling plate of fajita veggies. Le Creuset has a line of Sizzle Platters in awesome colors just waiting for the perfect occasion.

And here are five fantastic recipes to make you even more inspired.

1. The Best Steak Fajitas

FoodieCrush has a guest recipe for steak fajitas by Laurie Simply Scratch with a divine homemade fajita spice blend that perfectly complements the delicious red meat. Add your favorite colors of bell peppers for an eye-popping presentation.

2. Portobello Fajitas

Simply Scratch strikes again for this vegan-friendly mushroom fajita recipe garnished with gorgeous yellow tomatoes.

3. Shrimp Fajitas

There’s nothing more delicious than a crunchy grilled shrimp smothered in lime juice and hot sauce. Get the recipe for these festive shrimp fajitas at Damn Delicious.

4. Chicken Fajitas with Cheesy Enchilada Rice

There is no shortage of adjectives in this recipe from the cheesy enchilada rice to the Tex-Mex special sauce. Plus, will you get a load of those garnishes? It’s like a Mexican salad on top of spicy chicken and cheesy rice, all inside of a tortilla. Yum. Half Baked Harvest will show you the way.

5. Hawaiian Pork Fajitas With Pineapple Slaw

Yes yes yes yes. I want these right now. Half Baked Harvest has you covered on this recipe from the coconut rice to the homemade pineapple slaw.

Happy Cinco De Mayo, everybody!

Images: Jessica Learish (5); FoodieCrush; Simply Scratch; Damn Delicious; Half Baked Harvest (2)

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