There is a fantastic Argentine beef dish call Matambre which originates from a very flat cut of meat similar to a flank steak that comes from between the ribs and skin. The steak can be served flat, but is most often rolled up with vegetables, herbs, and sometimes hard boiled eggs then braised in milk and roasted in the oven. I’ve put my own SoCal griller-style to this one and loaded it up with jalapeños, red pepper, garlic, cumin seeds, Cotija cheese and a bit of cilantro. Then I put a really nice sear on it before finishing with indirect heat.
Don’t worry too much about all of the jalapeños, if you remove all or most of the seeds it is very mild. This is a great buffet style dish because you can slice it and set it out to be eaten hot or at room temperature. Pre-roll a couple and grill them off at your campsite or next tailgate adventure. Take along a little chimichurri sauce and you’ll be a happy camper!
Jalapeño Stuffed Matambre
serves six to eight
2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
4-5 large jalapeño chilies, seeded and thinly sliced (I left the seeds in half for some spiciness)
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 cup Mexican Cotija cheese or good-quality feta cheese
1 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 2 to 2 1/2 pound flank steak
Extras: Butcher’s string
Two-zone direct and indirect heat
Heat the oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the chilies, onion, red pepper, garlic, and cumin seed. Cook just until vegetables are soft, remove from heat and cool. Stir cheese and cilantro into cooled mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
With a sharp knife, butterfly open the flank steak. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to a uniform thickness on the thinner-side of 1/2-inch thick. Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper. Rotate the meat so that the grain is running parallel to your body (this will ensure tender slices for serving). Spread filling over the meat and roll the meat away from you to form a thick roll (the grain of the meat should be running the length of the roll). Tie with butcher’s string at 2-inch intervals to secure.
Set up grill for two-zone cooking with direct high heat and indirect heat; brush and oil grates before grilling. Place a drip pan under the grates on the indirect side.
Over direct heat, sear the meat well on all sides. Move to the indirect side of the grill over the drip pan. Close the grill cover and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 125°F to 130°F. This dish is best if not cooked beyond medium. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice into 1-inch rounds and removing the strings as you go. Serve hot or at room temperature. This makes for an impressive buffet dish with a little chimichurri sauce on the side!
Cheers and Happy Grilling!