Argentine Grilled Flank Steak is an easy make-ahead dinner, with a salty-sweet rub that sits on the steak overnight before a quick grilling. The flavor-packed Salsa Criolla puts it over the top!
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Flank steak might just be my favorite cut of beef. I mean, I like a good ribeye, and some preparations of brisket are just divine, but for cooking at home, I just really like flank steak. I think it’s got great texture and flavor, and it’s perfect for the grill, which is my favorite way to cook, as it doesn’t heat up the house and there isn’t much in the way of dishes. Even in the winter, you can find me on the deck with my favorite recipes grilling away – and this recipe for Argentine Grilled Flank Steak is definitely one of my favorites. With the beef, you have a salty-sweet-garlicky rub that combines with the fresh flavors of the Salsa Criolla (the lesser know cousin to Argentine chimichurri) to make an extremely flavorful – and relatively easy – dinner.
Garlic Paste – Flavor Laced
The starting point of both the rub and the salsa is garlic paste. It’s a simple enough concept: cloves of garlic mashed with salt. And why not? Salt enhances pretty much whatever underlying flavor it comes in contact with, and it helps provide an abrasive to break down the garlic. However, it took me way longer to learn how to efficiently make garlic paste than I’d like to admit. Like, years… It was actually taking a cooking class that taught me the stupidly simple secret to make garlic paste quickly: it’s all in where you stand. After you chop the garlic, you sprinkle salt on top of the garlic, and then you use the flat of your chef knife (or santoku, if that’s how you roll) to scrape the garlic and salt on the the cutting board. Here’s the trick – you need to stand where you can get your knife hand low enough to get the knife blade close enough to the board to be effective – so set up your cutting board on the corner of your counter. If you’re right handed like me, that means setting up your cutting board like this:
This will allow you put enough pressure on your knife to smash the garlic and smear it on the cutting board. Repeat a few times and you’ve got your paste. The garlic paste goes into both the rub and the salsa for a punch of flavor.
Working for the Weeknight Dinner…
As I mentioned above, Argentine Grilled Flank Steak can be a amazing weeknight dinner, as long as you prep the steak ahead of time. You can assemble everything the night before, and cook it quickly the next day. All you have to do is take a few minutes to throw a rub together, which is designed to sit on the flank steaks anywhere from 4 to 24 hours before grilling. (Confession: we’ve grilled the flank steak immediately after applying the rub and it’s still good, but it’s better if you wait a few hours.) You can either make the Salsa Criolla the night before as well, or whip it up as you are letting the steaks come to room temperature. The salsa is deceptively simple – just a few veggies and seasonings – but the combination of flavors is like nothing else I’ve tasted. Trust me, don’t skip it.
I like pairing this with grilled asparagus (toss trimmed aspargus with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and grill over medium heat for 6-8 minutes) since I’m already running the grill. As a bonus, this recipe makes a LOT of salsa, which you can then use as any other salsa, or you can mix it with some chopped up steak and make a nice protein packed omelette the next morning. Delicious. Always nice to have some versatile leftovers in the house.
So whether you are looking for a quick meal for a weeknight, or a hearty steak dinner on the weekend, I hope you take a look at making Argentine Grilled Flank Steak, and enjoy this great cut of beef!
- 3 cloves garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbs. chili powder
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 1-1/2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 4-1/2 lb. flank steak (about 3 medium steaks), trimmed of excess fat
- 1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded, and finely diced (about 1-1/4 cup)
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced (about 1-1/3 cups)
- ½ red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and minced (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup white-wine vinegar
- Combine two-thirds of the minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of thyme, 2 teaspoons of black pepper, chili powder, brown sugar, and 1½ tablespoons of salt.
- Rub the spice mixture all over the steaks. Cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours.
- In a 1 quart container (I like using a mason jar), combine the remaining garlic, 1 tablespoon thyme, 2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, tomato, onion, red pepper, oil, and vinegar with 2 oz of water. Shake vigorously and refrigerate until serving.
- Remove the steaks from the fridge to allow them to approach room temperature while you preheat the grill.
- Preheat your grill on high for 5-10 minutes, until you are comofortable that your grates are nice and hot.
- Cook the steak on high, about 3-4 minutes per side from medium rare (you may need to adjust based on your grill).
- Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before cutting across the grain. Serve with the salsa criolla.
Recipe barely adapted from Fine Cooking
In the mood for a different salsa? Our charred salsa verde is also delicious with beef!