Saturday, July 28, 2012

Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw
flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves.
~Marlene Dietrich~

To achieve the taste of Argentina, we are going to grill our flank steak over a charcoal fire and toss a couple of big chunks of mesquite into the fire. Don't give me any crap about wood chips soaked in water...that's for weenies. We're going to use two big chunks of mesquite and nestle them right into the coals as is. 

Mesquite is strong stuff and really only works well when you are cooking something quickly over a fire. We're only going to have our meat over the coals for 12 minutes, so we will get the perfect amount of wood-smoke flavor in our steak. Mesquite becomes too overpowering if you are cooking something for a long period of time. And again, you want chunks, not chips. I get my chunks online, from The Charcoal Store (

Chimichurri is an incredible sauce from Argentina. The word "chimichurri" originated when British soldiers were captured after the British invasion of Rio de la Plata. The captured soldiers asked their Argentine keepers for condiments. Mixing English, aboriginal and Spanish words, "che mi curry" stands for "che me salsa" (give me condiment), or "give me curry". The word then corrupted to chimichurri.

Chimichurri sauce is a gift from the gods. It is so incredibly flavorful, made from only the freshest ingredients...and it is so magnificently rich and luxurious on the tongue. You will be absolutely amazed how well this sauce complements the mesquite grilled flank steak. And to finish our Argentine feast, make sure you serve this meal with a bottle of exquisite Argentine Malbec. Spend a little extra to make sure you get a really good one (Malbec is not very expensive). The guy behind the counter at your wine store will be glad to show you their best Malbecs. This recipe serves 4-6 people.


Chimichurri Sauce
1/4 cup hot water
2 teaspoons dried Mexican broken leaf oregano*
6 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 1/3 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 flank steak (about 2 pounds)
2 large chunks of mesquite
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper


  1. An hour before cooking, remove flank steak from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Make the sauce: Combine hot water, oregano, and salt in small bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften oregano. Pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic, and red pepper flakes in food processor until coarsely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses. Add water mixture and vinegar and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and slowly whisk in oil until incorporated and mixture is emulsified. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour.
  3. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Arrange coals in single layer over entire surface of grill and, using tongs, place wood chunks directly on top of coals. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes. Scrape cooking grate clean with grill brush. Grill is ready when coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for just 2 seconds). 
  4. Season steak with salt and pepper. Place steak on grill, cover, and cook for 6 minutes. Uncover grill, flip steak, and cook on second side for another 6 minutes. Transfer to large plate and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Slice meat and divide among serving plates. Pour chimichurri sauce over slices (see photo) and serve.

Wine pairing: An Argentine Malbec

*There are two types of oregano, Turkish and Mexican. Turkish oregano is used in Mediterranean dishes like Italian sauces, Greek salads and Turkish kebobs. It has a sweet, strong flavor. What you want for this recipe is Mexican oregano. It is stronger and less sweet and goes perfect with spicy, hot, cumin-flavored dishes of Mexico. Any cook worth their weight will have both types of broken leaf oregano in their pantry. If you don't have both, you can buy them here: .

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