On Summer nights, however, my uncle would grill these marinated skirt steaks for our family. You would always find him, on the grill, making churrasco for us until they were just right (not too charred but not too rare either).
When you’re done making this recipe, make another one of my Cuban-style dinner recipes!
What is Churrasco?
The word churrasco is actually a Latin American term used to describe grilled skirt steak under an open flame. Grilling churrasco steak with chimichurri sauce is a tradition in many South American countries, particularly Argentina and Uruguay.
Churrasco is typically made with a long flat cut of skirt steak that is marinated until tender and grilled to juicy perfection. This recipe takes about 40 minutes to make, from start to finish, and comes together quite easily.
What You’ll Love This Recipe
- Savory & Flavorful. Rich, beefy flavor with a smoky, charred taste once grilled will result in an irresistible meal that your whole family will love.
- Versatile & Easy-To-Make. You can serve this citrus-garlic mojo marinaded steak as a main course with tostones or mashed potatoes or slice it up for a salad or tacos.
- Chimichurri sauce. Yes, this oil-based sauce made with fresh herbs, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and spices works well as a marinade, dip, or dressing for other dishes, making it a versatile addition to a Churrasco steak.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Skirt steak. There are different variations of this recipe depending on where you’re from however the common denominator is that skirt steak is the best cut of meat for churrasco.
- Mojo marinade. Skirt steak is pretty flexible in terms of marinades. While you can even omit marinades altogether, there is nothing more delicious than a citrus-garlicky marinade like Cuban mojo criollo. That’s what we’re working with today!
- Salt + pepper. When it comes to churrasco, I like to keep it simple with just salt and pepper since it already has an intense beef flavor. It doesn’t need much else!
Difference Between Skirt Steak and Flank Steak
Although they are similar cuts, they are not the same. In my opinion, the best cut of beef for making churrasco steak is skirt steak.
- Skirt steak comes from the diaphragm muscles of the cow while flank steak comes from the bottom abdominal area of the cow.
- Flank steak is also a bit thicker than skirt steak which is why I prefer braising with it, like when I make my Cuban ropa vieja. Yum!
Depending on the cut of meat, I’d recommend at least 1 hour but no more than 3-4 hours.
For example, a Latin-style beef like churrasco should marinate in citrus mojo marinade for no more than 2 hours or the texture will change. Tougher cuts of meat may need longer marinating times.
How To Make Churrasco Steak
- Marinate the steaks. Place the steaks in a large baking dish. Pour the mojo marinade on top then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate the steaks for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. The longer, the better!
- Time to grill! Grill the steaks on the stove in a cast-iron skillet or on a grill, at medium-high heat, for 5-6 minutes or until desired doneness.
- Let the steaks rest. Transfer steaks to a plate to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows all those delicious juices to stay intact before slicing.
Recommended For This Recipe
Difference Between Using A Charcoal Grill and Gas Grill
You can use a gas grill instead of a charcoal grill to cook churrasco steak, and while there will be some differences, it may not necessarily negatively affect the flavor. Here are some slight differences.
- Charcoal Grill. Cooking churrasco steak on a charcoal grill results in a distinct smoky flavor and a slightly charred, earthy taste to the meat. The natural fats and juices from the steak dripping onto the hot charcoal can create flavorful smoke that enhances the overall taste.
- Gas Grill: Gas grills use propane for cooking, and they don’t produce the same smoky flavor as charcoal grills. However, they do offer a quicker start and precise temperature control, which can be an advantage for cooking churrasco steak, and are also typically easier to clean.
The choice between the two grilling methods depends on your personal preferences and what you value most in your grilling experience.
- Make my Basil Chimichurri Sauce. If you want to shake things up, make my chimichurri sauce with basil instead of the traditional parsley and cilantro.
- Steak Tacos: Slice the grilled churrasco steak thinly and serve it in soft tortillas with chimichurri sauce, grilled onions, and avocado slices.
- Steak Skewers: Cut the steak into bite-sized pieces, marinate, and then skewer with vegetables before grilling. Serve with chimichurri sauce or cilantro garlic sauce for dipping.
- Churrasco Steak Salad: Slice the churrasco steak and place it on a bed of mixed greens or throw it into an avocado salad with onions.
- Churrasco Steak Sandwich: Make a churrasco steak sandwich with crusty bread, chimichurri sauce, lettuce, and tomato. Yum!
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Marinate with homemade Cuban mojo. When you marinate skirt steak in acid, like lime juice or vinegar will result in a tender, juicy Churrasco.
- Preheat the Grill: Ensure your grill is thoroughly preheated before placing the steak on it to achieve those desirable grill marks and sear.
- Let the Steak Rest: After grilling, allow the steak to rest for a few minutes before slicing. This helps retain the juices and keeps the meat tender.
- Thinly Slice the Steak: When serving, slice the churrasco steak against the grain for maximum tenderness.
- Room Temperature: It’s not recommended to store cooked steak with chimichurri sauce at room temperature for extended periods due to the risk of bacterial growth. If left out for no more than 2 hours, cover it and keep it in a cool area.
- Refrigeration: Store leftover churrasco steak and chimichurri sauce separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. The steak can last for 3-4 days, while the chimichurri sauce can stay fresh for up to a week.
- Freezer: If you want to freeze the dish, it’s best to freeze the cooked steak without the chimichurri sauce. Wrap the steak tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, or use a freezer bag, and label it with the date. The steak can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Prepare fresh chimichurri sauce when you’re ready to serve.
Churrasco Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
- Place the steaks in a large baking dish. Pour the mojo marinade on top then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate the steaks for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours in the fridge. The longer, the better!
- Grill or cook the steaks on the stove in a cast-iron skillet, on medium-high heat, for 5-6 minutes or until desired doneness. Transfer steaks to a plate to rest for 5 minutes. Serve with chimichurri sauce. Enjoy!