While I was having lunch at a restaurant in Yellowknife a while ago, an interesting item on the menu caught my eye. I forget the name of it now, but basically it was a rib-steak marinated in a Chimichurri sauce and then given a Cajun style rub before grilling. It sounded terrific and I would love to have tried it but the steaks on the menu were only available after 5pm. In any event, the idea was quite intriguing and though I can’t really recreate it (not having been able to taste it), I thought I might try something along the same lines at home…
These are the lovely looking T-bones I chose. I would have preferred to have used bone-in rib-eye, as that is my favorite cut, but I didn’t really like the look of the few they had available at my local store and so I went with these instead.
The first thing you need to do is slash through the edge fat and membrane at several intervals so as to prevent the steak from curling as it cooks.
I am departing a little from the more traditional type of Chimichurri sauce. Basically, a Chimichurri is a tangy green concoction from Argentina that is served as a sauce with grilled meats but which can also be used as a marinade. The very basic ingredients are parsley, garlic, oil and vinegar, but other herbs and spices, such as cilantro, oregano, and paprika are also included and sometimes tomatoes are added as well. For my version, I am replacing the vinegar with lemon juice and adding just a little sage and ground cumin to the mix. If you want to try it the way I did, blend the following together in your food processor:
- 2 cups flat-leaf Parsley;
- 2 Sage leaves;
- 2 tbsp. Garlic puree;
- ½ tsp. each Salt and Black Pepper;
- ½ tsp. Cumin, coarsely ground;
- ¼ cup Olive Oil;
- ¼ cup Lemon Juice;
- ½ tsp. Liquid Smoke (optional).
You can omit the liquid smoke if you wish. I have a propane barbecue, which doesn’t add quite the same flavor as a wood, or even a charcoal fire. Sometimes, I add a pan of wood chips over the flame for meats with longer cooking times but here I am just using a bit of the fake stuff for a hint of ‘woodsy’ flavor.
Next, you need to slather the blend over the steaks and marinate them well. As little as two hours is probably fine, but overnight in the refrigerator would be great too. On this occasion, I let mine go for about 6 hours, turning them occasionally. When you add the marinade, make sure to coat the sides as well as the surfaces, and work some of it into the slashes you made in the fat.
I decided not to go the whole hog with the Chimichurri/Cajun rub model in my inspirational dish and instead went with a simpler rub to finish. To follow my recipe, you need to blend together:
- 2 tbsp. Garlic Salt;
- 1 tsp. Porcini powder (powdered dried porcini mushroom);
- 1 tsp. Paprika;
- 2 tbsp. Sugar.
About an hour before grilling time, scrape the steaks to remove all but a little of the marinade (you can see in the above picture how much I removed). Next sprinkle the spice rub over the surfaces and rub it in well, putting extra on the fat and bones and making sure you work some of it into the crevices in the meat and fat. You probably won’t need the entire amount I used unless your steaks are truly humongous and, in fact, I had about a tablespoon leftover.
The grilling is fairly straightforward. I always hold bone-in steaks with their edges, bone then fat, against the flame first and then cook them flat. These took about 4 or 5 minutes on each side over a really hot flame that seared them nicely and left the middles still fairly pink and juicy.
I served these with baked potato and some lovely thick slices of Portobello mushrooms that were marinated in garlic infused olive oil and white wine and then sprinkled liberally with black pepper. I must be honest and admit that my steak was just a shade more well done than I usually aim for but not to a great degree and my wife said this was one of the best steaks she has ever had. To be frank, the Chimichurri marinade was probably more work than it proved to be worth in terms of flavor punch, but it was an interesting experiment anyway. Next time, I think I may use the Chimichurri as a sauce rather than a marinade.