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Argentine Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak with Salsa Criolla

Featured in our Backyard BBQ Guide
Scott Phillips

Servings: twelve.

Chimichurri is the star salsa of the Argentine grill, but the lesser known salsa criolla was my favorite when I visited that country. Full of onions, red peppers, and herbs, the mixture is a light but intensely flavorful condiment for grilled steak.


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4-1/2 lb. fl ank steak (about 3 medium steaks), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded, and fi nely diced (about 1-1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced (about 1-1/3 cups)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 320
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 160
  • Fat (g): 18
  • Saturated Fat (g): 6
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 65
  • Sodium (mg): 615
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 35


  • In a small bowl, mix about two-thirds of the garlic paste with 1 Tbs. of the thyme, 2 tsp. of the black pepper, the chili powder, brown sugar, and 1-1/2 Tbs. of the salt. Arrange the steaks on a rimmed baking sheet and pat the spice rub all over them. Cover and let sit for at least 4 hours and up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
  • In a 1-qt. sealable container, combine the tomato, onion, red pepper, oil, and vinegar with 1/4 cup water, and the remaining garlic paste, 1 Tbs. thyme, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. black pepper. Shake well. Refrigerate for up to 1 day before serving.
  • Heat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. Grill the steak (covered on a gas grill) until it has good grill marks on the fi rst side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the steak; if using a gas grill, reduce the heat to medium  and cover the grill. Continue to cook until done to your liking (make a slit in the steak to take a peek), 4 to 5 minutes more for medium rare; 6 to 7 minutes more for medium.
  • Let the steak rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes and then slice thinly across the grain. Stir or shake the salsa criolla and serve with the steak.

The supple, fruity flavors of Black Box Merlot, from California, pair well with the steak, and the 3-liter box is perfect for serving a crowd.

Use any leftover steak and salsa criolla together in Steak & Eggs Rancheros.


Rate or Review


  • MarieBe | 05/22/2017

    I made this for a family reunion several years ago and it was really good. Everyone loved it! It's great for those of us on low carb diets.

  • ChezJoe | 01/02/2016

    Really love this dish. After making it several times, everybody thought it was better using a skirt steak and I cut the amount of vinegar in half. Won the family cook-off with it!

  • Maria_das_Neves | 09/13/2014

    I've made this steak numerous times since it first appeared in one of FC's pull-out recipes. This recipe never fails to please. Although it takes a bit of time to make, we love the salsa; it's great on chicken and fish, too. It had always bothered me that half the rub remained in the marinating dish so, the last time I made it, I added some olive oil to the rub to help it adhere to the steak. It worked like a charm; the steak was even tastier and the oil helped to keep it moist, too.

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