What is Cowboy Steak?
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 ping-pong paddle made of steak, the cowboy cut of steak is actually a beef rib-eye, 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.
Or maybe it's just a marketing ploy to sell more steak.
Why Cowboy Steak? Bone-in Flavor!
In any case, we love cooking bone-in meat 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? If so, what's your favorite way of doing so? Please let us know in the comments.
What is Chimichurri Sauce?
Chimichurri is a bold Argentinian sauce usually made with chopped fresh parsley, oregano, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. It's similar to a pesto, but more tangy, more oily, and herb-forward.
There are many different versions of the sauce, including a red version made with tomatoes, red peppers, or even red wine. You can use other herbs, like rosemary, basil, and cilantro. Add some chopped fresh jalapeño or serrano for some extra heat. You can also add some finely chopped shallots or onions.
Since it's so light and tangy with a lovely garlic flavor, it works well with the thick richness of cowboy steak.
What Is a Frenched Steak?
"Frenched" means cutting away the fat, meat, and cartilage from the bone end of a rib chop or a steak, usually for aesthetic reasons.
Most regular grocery stores may not carry the cut, but you can find it at specialty butchers or higher end markets, like Whole Foods.
If you can't find a cowboy steak, you can substitute with a regular thick rib-eye or any other marbled steak that's about 2 inches thick. Best to get a bone-in cut for the best flavor.
Troubleshooting Tips for Cooking the Steak
- Make sure the steak is at room temperature before cooking.
- Regardless of how you cook the steak, make sure you cook it slow and steady.
- If using a meat thermometer, make sure the internal temperature reaches 90 to 95°.
- After cooking, let the meat rest for about 10 minutes, so that the juices flow back into the meat before cutting.
- Here are some more tips for How to Grill the Best Steak.
More Steak Recipes to Try!
- Peppercorn Steak
- Chicken Fried Steak
- Swiss Steak
- Hanger Steak With Shallots
- Rolled Stuffed Flank Steak
Cowboy Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
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.
- 1-1/2 cups firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (2-pound) "cowboy steak", or other 2-inch thick bone-in beef rib steak
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Prepare the chimichurri:
Finely chop the parsley, garlic, and oregano (can do with a food processor), and 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 while you cook the steak). Use the remaining third of the sauce for the marinade.
Marinate the steak:
Place steak in a bowl or large zip-top bag. Take about a third of the prepared chimichurri sauce and coat the steak.
Cover completely with plastic wrap or remove air from zip-top bag and close securely. Let steak marinate for several hours.
Remove steak from the 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.
Cook the steak on the grill, stovetop, or oven:
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.
Remove the meat to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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 to the oven (if using cast iron pan, can place the whole pan in 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 the steak:
Serve the steak with the remaining chimichurri sauce on the side.