Take a sirloin of beef, baste in chimichurri and roast over fire with a little silver birch smoke and you have the best joint I have ever cooked. A stunning chimichurri crust, smokey flavour and tender meat – hard to ask for any more!
There are two staples to Argentinian cooking, asado and chimichurri. I can’t wait to get my hand on the former but in the meantime I knew I had to give chimichurri a go – it’s not often one single sauce works beautifully on breakfast, lunch and supper and can go with anything from scrambled eggs, to vegetables to, best of all, meat and in particular, beef. It’s amazingly easy to put together (it’s believed the word comes from the basque tximitxurri meaning ‘a mix of all’), requires absolutely no cooking and will last up to a month in the fridge. Just remember to make lots!
*recipe inspired by Francis Mallman’s Seven Fires.
what you’ll need
Equipment: food processor/blender. Bbq with lid and both direct and indirect set up.
- 1.2 kg beef sirloin joint
- 3 bay leaves
for the chimichurri:
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 tbsp salt
- 1 head garlic, peeled
- 1 cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 cup fresh oregano
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
chimichurri: (ideally make 24 hours in advance to let the flavours infuse)
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and stir until it dissolves. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Toss the parsley, oregano, garlic and chilli flakes into your blender (we use our nutribullet). Pour in your vinegar, olive oil and the salty water and blend for a few seconds.
Transfer to a sealed jar and keep in the fridge. Chimichurri is best made 24 hours in advance but can be kept for up to 3 weeks if refrigerated.
Light up your bbq and bring it up to 170C with the coals banked to one side. I was using a two zone grill set up with a caste iron grill on the lower setting over the coals and a stainless steel grill on the top setting away from them.
Pat dry your meat with kitchen towelling…
…and then sprinkle salt all over.
Baste the meat on all sides with your chimichurri. Scatter the bay leaves over.
Throw a chunk of silver birch onto your flames.
Place your meat directly over the coals on the lower grill and sear for 3 minutes on all sides.
Transfer to the higher grill and roast indirect until your internal temperature is 52.5C. Total cooking time was just over an hour.
I added the bay leaves after around 20 minutes in as I had forgotten to earlier.
After 40 minutes – beautiful colour starting to appear on the meat.
After an hour – temperature was around 45C.
Remove from the grill and tent with foil to rest for at least 10 minutes.
Carve and serve with the remaining chimichurri.