“We’ve learned from our American friends and replicated some of their ideas, which led to us cutting a lot of these. We now champion bavette, even above things like rib-eye. I’d always thought that flat meat (flank and skirt steaks) were the best of the fibrous cuts but this one, with its big, beefy flavour, has a looser grain.
"This is handy when cooking, the sauce penetrating deep into the meat. Bavette is best cooked fast, over a high heat or over hot coals, but it must not be cooked past medium rare. Anything more and it’s a wasted opportunity. With its loose grain, a simple chimichurri lifts this cut beautifully.
“The trickiest part of making your own chimichurri will be sourcing fresh origanum (dried will do, but use half the amount listed below). Also, I prefer using 'neutral' oil like sunflower oil (olive oil can be overpowering). For a red sauce, choose your favourite chilli: jalapeno, chipotle or bird's eye (chili).”
Cooking time: 8 - 11 minutes
1 whole 1.5kg bavette steak, trimmed and cleaned
3-4 garlic cloves
2 chillies, medium to hot (choose the heat to suit your taste)
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
fresh coriander, a handful
fresh flat-leaf parsley, a handful
2 tblsp fresh origanum, finely chopped
150ml sunflower oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
To make the chimichurri
Mince the garlic with one of the chillies or crush them in a pestle and mortar.
In a non-reactive bowl, combine with vinegar and salt.
Allow the mixture to stand for two to three hours to allow the flavours to develop.
Finely chop the remaining chilli, red onion and all the herbs. Add to the bowl.
Pour in the sunflower oil and whisk with a fork to incorporate.
The chimichurri can be used as a marinade or a sauce. I vote for both. Set aside half and put in a dish to add later.
Smear the chimichurri all over the bavette and allow to stand for at least two hours (overnight, if possible).
To make the bavette
Ensure that the griddle pan (on the stove-top) or the braai grid is very hot. You needn't oil the meat because it’s been absorbing the sauce but once on the grid, turn frequently to prevent it from burning.
Cook for eight to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak.
To serve: Remove the meat and allow it to rest for a few minutes. Importantly, cut it against the grain and spoon over the remaining chimichurri.