Cowboy Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

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.

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 Sauce Recipe

  • 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

raw-cowboy-steak.jpg

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.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Follow on Bloglovin

Cowboy Steak with Chimichurri

20 Comments

  1. greg

    Bone in Rib-Eye is a fabulous cut of meat and this is a great presentation of it…GREG

  2. Jean

    That is one awesome looking steak!
    I love to take a thick cut steak (your choice of cut, and “cowboy” would rock!) and rub it with olive oil. Put dried mushrooms (I generally use a blend of types)and grind them in a food processor til they are almost a powder. Coat the oiled steak with the mushroom powder. Sear it in a hot cast iron skillet til you get a good crust and then bake it off in the oven. When you take the steak out and are letting it rest, pour beef broth into the skillet and deglaze it, getting all that glorious fond! Reduce the broth and season it. Serve the steak with the sauce drizzled over it. The chimichurri would be an incredible addition!
    Oops! I think I drooled on my computer!

  3. Adriene

    I love cowboy steaks – the name and the cut. I usually grill them, but a pan-seared steak is mighty tasty, too. Also a huge fan of chimichurri sauce. I’ll have to try your recipe. :)

  4. Claudia

    It’s really tasteful! Here in Brazil we often use our neighboor’s chimichurri sauce. We also have “gauchos” here in Rio Grande do Sul (The extreme south State of Brazil)and barbecue is often done with chimichurri. I liked to know your cowboy steak cut. ;-)

  5. Laura [What I Like]

    I remember seeing a cowboy steak for the first time on Top Chef. Rick Tramonto was a judge and they contestants were cooking his restaurant Tru’s signature cut…the cowboy stead. I also remember thinking it was enormous, I’ve been so curious about it ever since!

  6. Filter Parkes

    The image alone had me sold on this one!

    Top marks to your photographer / image library

    Thanks Fil! I took the shots, love the vertical one. ~Elise

  7. Tom Lucas

    Whar does “frenched” mean?

    Great question. Cut in a way so that the bone is exposed. You see it done often with rack of lamb or crown roast of pork. ~Elise

  8. unconfidentialcook

    Thanks so much for the recipe for chimichurri–we go to a restaurant that serves it with bread when you sit down–and I’ve never been able to recreate it. So, thanks!

  9. Pioneer Woman (Ree)

    Elise, that looks delicious! It’s a beautiful cowboy steak, and any of the gauchos on our ranch would fall at your feet in admiration.

    The rib-eye steak is our cut of choice, by far. The marbling is beautiful and the flavor is all there. We hardly ever do bone-in rib-eyes, though, so the cowboy cut isn’t something we’re used to doing. I love the look of it—the Frenched bone just begs someone to pick it up and start gnawing!

    Your chimichurri sauce looks yummy. I’ll try that at our next family gathering. The guys will ask “What’s that green stuff, and what does it have to do with steak?”

    But they’ll come around.

  10. Dan

    I wonder can you make chimmicuri sauce with cilantro instead of parsley?

    I’m guessing that plenty of people do just that. ~Elise

  11. Shel F.

    Reading this, I had to stop to check which site I was on, yours or Ree’s. I’ve never even seen a steak cut like this, but my rural Texas upbringing was long on deer processors that did beef in the “off season” and short on actual butcher shops. But, to this Texas woman there is no such thing as a steak too big, and this looks fantastic.

  12. Derrell Robinson

    I did the cowboy steak last night and it exceeded all my expectations, I varied the meat trim, my butcher cut my steaks 2 inches thick and cut out the bone. Being a dedicated outdoor bbq’r I thought real hard not putting bbq sauce on my meat. It was absolutely the greatest steak I have ever cooked. The steaks were about 1 3/4 lbs each cut them in 1/2 after cooking and it’s the first time I have had guests licking the plate.
    Thanks again for this keeper recipe.
    Derrell

  13. Jody

    We’re cattle ranchers and the rib eye steak is definitely our favorite. However, our steaks are usually de-boned. I do like the idea of a “handle” though. This is just how we make steaks, minus the marinade, but it does sound just right. Glad you’re plugging beef.

    Jody

  14. CourtneyLeigh

    All I have is an old Cast Iron Griddle = should do the same trick, right?

    Yes! And hang on to that griddle. I have one that I love. It’s great for making homemade tortillas. ~Elise

  15. 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!

  16. Vera

    I’m from Oklahoma. What we call a cowboy steak is a 1/4 pound ground beef patty with bacon wrapped around the edge, pinned with toothpicks. It is seared on a griddle and eaten with steak sauce. This the first I’ve heard of a bone-in rib eye referred to as a cowboy steak. It’s not on any butcher’s diagram either. Rib eye is on there, but a cowboy cut isn’t.

    If you do a Google image search for cowboy steak you’ll see that I’m not the only one calling a bone-in ribeye a cowboy steak. ~Elise

  17. 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.

  18. 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.”

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong