Cowboy Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

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The first time I saw a “cowboy steak” at our local butcher, all I could think was, “wow, that’s one BIG steak”.

Looking like a two-inch thick steak ping-pong paddle, the cowboy cut of steak is actually a beef rib-eye, bone-in, with the bone Frenched, so that if you were the cowboy eating this steak, you could just hold it by the bone. (So cowboys don’t use forks and knives?)

I can just see Marlboro Man now, sitting by the campfire, tin coffee cup in one hand, cowboy steak in the other. (Hmm. Maybe I should ask Ree, the Pioneer Woman herself, if cowboys even eat steaks like this.)

Or maybe it’s just a marketing ploy to sell more steak.

Cowboy Steak with Chimichurri

In any case, we love cooking meat bone-in for the flavor, and this is a very flavorful cut. We marinated the steak in, and served it with, an Argentinean chimichurri sauce, appropriate because, as you know, Argentina is home to the famed gauchos, South American cowboys.

Have you ever prepared a cowboy steak cut? If so, what’s your favorite way of doing so? Please let us know in the comments.

Cowboy Steak with Chimichurri

Cowboy Steak with Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

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  • Yield: Serves 3-4

A cowboy steak is a rather thick (2-inches) cut of meat. It lends itself well to searing first, to get browning, then slower cooking with either indirect heat on the grill, or in the oven.

Ingredients

Steak

  • 1 2-lb "Cowboy Steak" (frenched beef rib steak)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Chimichurri

  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbsps fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Prepare the chimichurri sauce/marinade. Finely chop the parsley, garlic and oregano (can do with a food processor), place in a small bowl. Stir in the vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Set aside two thirds of the sauce for serving with the steak (cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature). The remaining third of the sauce will be for the marinade.

2 Place steak in a bowl or large ziplock bag. Take about a third of the prepared chimichurri sauce and coat the steak for a marinade. Cover completely with plastic wrap or remove air from ziplock bag and secure close. Let steak marinate for several hours. Remove steak from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking so that it gets close to room temperature before cooking. Right before cooking, wipe off marinade from steak and sprinkle steak generously with salt and pepper.

3a Grilling Instructions Prepare grill so that one side has high, direct heat and another side has indirect heat. Brush grill grates with vegetable oil. Place steak first on the side of the grill with high, direct heat, so that it sears. Grill for a minute or two on each side, enough to brown the meat. Then transfer the steak to the indirect heat side of the grill. Cover the grill, try to maintain a grill temperature of 350°F. Cook for 5-10 minutes (or more) until the steak is cooked to your desired level of doneness. You can use the finger test to check for doneness, or a meat thermometer. For rare, pull the meat off the gril at an internal temp of 120°F. For medium rare, 125-130°F. Remove the meat to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

3b Stovetop/Oven Instructions Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high to high heat. Hold the steak fat-side down to render a little of the fat into the pan. Then sear each side until nicely browned, about a minute or two each. Transfer the steak (if using cast iron pan, can place the whole pan in the oven) to the oven to finish to desired doneness, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness and size of the steak and how well done you like it. You can use the finger test to check for doneness, or a meat thermometer. For rare, pull the meat out of the oven at an internal temp of 120°F. For medium rare, 125-130°F. Remove the meat to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serve steak with remaining chimichurri sauce.

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Cowboy Steak with Chimichurri

Showing 4 of 15 Comments

  • Kimber Blackmore Barnett

    Whether I’ve lived in NC, MS, MD, DE, TX, or MI, “cowboy ribeye” always referred to a bone-in rib-eye. Maybe someone in OK just decided to make up something new, or didn’t know the term already existed with a specific meaning?

  • James

    Hi Guys
    In Australia we have been cooking ribeye on the bone ” cowboy steak ” as you call them for years. All I do is rub them with garlic and olive oil salt and pepper. Place them on a hot grill basting with the garlic and oil as you cook them. I find the best taste is on a char grill.
    Cheers James

  • Cactus Wren

    Arizona’s own James Cook, author of “Arizona 101: An Irreverent Guide for New Arrivals”, describes a “cowboy steak” as involving — as this does — a chunk of meat that would feed a family of six the week before payday. And cowboy steaks are authentic, inasmuch as beef is the most easily accessible protein source in cowboy country: “Never mind sending to town for Chinese or lamb chops, just slice up a cow and eat.”

  • Jane

    Yep, they call them cowboy steaks here in eastern Mass, too…we had one last night, and cooked it using the reverse sear method, which could be done in the oven/cast iron pan, or on the grill. Originally I did this with a thick strip steak, but we tried a cowboy/ribeye last night and OH MY, it was good!

    Low and slow on that big steak until it reaches a temp. of 90-95. (how much do I love thermometers? ) Then, if you are indoors, sear in a hot cast iron pan for two minutes per side and then let rest for ten mins, at least. On the grill, low or indirect until 90 degrees, then crank that puppy up and sear for approx the same time as in a cast iron pan. Use your instant read!

    The steak is pink to the edge, no gray edge, and ooooh, so juicy and tender!

    One step I must share: dry brining, or salting pre-cooking. You must must must have at least 40 mins before cooking to dry brine, or it just won’t work. Heavily salt and pepper your steak before grilling and let it hang out on the counter for about an hour. The salt will draw out moisture, yes, but then it will reabsorb most of it. Wipe off most of the salt, massage with a little olive oil, and grill as above.

    Well, that’s my two cents! OK, four.

  • Kate

    I have made this sauce at least a dozen times. It is always a great hit! I LOVE IT!! It is a staple for us now. It’s also absolutely wonderful on seafood – potato salad – pasta, with tomatoes and bread. Endless possibilities! Try it!

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