To translate the Argentine grilling method to our smaller American steaks, we rubbed the boneless strip steaks with salt and used the freezer as a dehydrator to evaporate the surface moisture; this, along with rubbing the steaks with cornstarch, helped them develop a substantial browned exterior on the grill. Covering the grill for the initial cooking jump-started the flavoring process.
GRILLED ARGENTINE STEAKS WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE
Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes (plus 30 minutes salting time)
1/4 cup hot water
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups fresh parsley leaves
2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Salt and pepper
4 (1 pound) boneless strip steaks, 1 1/2 inches thick, trimmed
4 medium wood chunks, unsoaked
1 (9 inch) disposable aluminum pie plate (if using gas)
For the chimichurri sauce: Combine water, oregano, and salt in small bowl and let sit until oregano is softened, about 15 minutes. Pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic, and pepper flakes in food processor until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses. Add water mixture and vinegar and pulse to combine. Transfer mixture to bowl and slowly whisk in oil until combined. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. (Chimichurri sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
For the steaks: Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in bowl. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Rub entire surface of steaks with cornstarch mixture and place steaks in freezer, uncovered, until very firm, about 30 minutes.
— For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent halfway. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Using tongs, place wood chunks directly on top of coals, spacing them evenly around perimeter of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and wood chunks are smoking, about 5 minutes.
— For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high. Place wood chunks in disposable aluminum pie plate and set on cooking grate. Close lid and heat until wood chunks begin to smoke, about 5 minutes.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Season steaks with pepper. Place steaks on grill, cover, and cook until beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Flip steaks and cook, uncovered, until well browned on first side, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip steaks and continue to cook until meat registers 115-120 F (for rare) or 120-125 F (for medium-rare), 2 to 6 minutes longer.
Transfer steaks to carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice each steak 1/4 inch thick. Serve, passing chimichurri sauce separately.
Nutrition information per serving: 405 calories; 182 calories from fat; 20 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 125 mg cholesterol; 423 mg sodium; 3 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 53 g protein.
For more recipes, cooking tips and ingredient and product reviews, visit https://www.americastestkitchen.com. Find more recipes like Grilled Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce in "Vegetables Illustrated."
America's Test Kitchen provided this article to The Associated Press.