Bife Ancho – Rib Eye

Bife ancho is similar to what is known as the rib eye steak and is offered boneless or bone-in. The meat is well marbled with fat and, thus, is a very tender and flavorful cut.

Bife Ancho

Buying:

Although many supermarkets carry packaged bife ancho steaks, custom slices from a butcher is recommended. Packaged slices are tend to be a bit too thin for the parrilla and are better suited for a grill pan or frying pan. An ideal cut for each steak should have a thickness of 1.5 to 2 inches.

Cooking:

Coarse salt is all that is needed for these thick steaks. Rub it in on both sides at least 30 minutes before cooking. The area of the grill where these will be placed should be nice and hot with an abundant amount of coals underneath to help sear the meat quickly. When juices start flowing out of the upper side that means it is time to flip. Remember to only flip once. When the other side is seared well and the juices flow again, they should be ready.

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9 Comment(s)

  1. Sorry mate, I have to say I disagree on 2 counts: (a) the preferrence for sea salt (sal gruesa) over regular or refined salt is a bit of a myth. In fact, refined salt works best, as it spreads more evenly and more thoroughly. And (b) you shouldn’t put salt on a steak such as bife ancho before grilling – this technique can be applied to cuts which have a thin protective cover, which prevents the meat from drying up. When grilling a steak (as opposed to a full cut), you should place salt only after turning or at the table. Otherwise, love this website and shall continue reading!

    Ernest | Feb 3, 2006 | Reply

  2. Of course you disagree. It is rare to see bbq people agree on most topics :)

    Re: Sea Salt

    Actually, and I’m not sure how familiar you are with salt in Argentina, but most of the popular/common brands offer salt in three different forms; all of which are refined from salt fields. So when I stated coarse salt, I was referring to the refined salt, not sea salt. Maybe in other areas / countries coarse salt references salt from the sea?

    I’m jumping around on topics while building this site. Keeps me from getting burned out. A post on the three salt forms (gruesa, entrefina, fina) is on the to do list.

    RE: Salt before grilling

    Ah! You are in the purist group. I wrote a bit about it here, Seasoning The Meat where I mentioned that salting is up to the cook because of all the debates. Although I agree that some meats are better salted at serving time, many do need some, in my opinion, before cooking.

    I’ve tried not salting Bife ancho until it was on the table, but to me it just doesn’t have the same taste as salting beforehand. Coarse salt allows you to impregnate the meat better than the finer variety. With the cuts being well marbled and fatty, the salt works its way into the meat really well when the juices start flowing. Also, with the high amount of fat, I never noticed the cuts being more dry with the use of salt.

    Administrator | Feb 6, 2006 | Reply

  3. No harm in continuing the debate then , I guess…

    The issue about the salt does not involve whether it comes from the sea or not. I just think sal fina works better than sal gruesa, it just seeps into the meat with greater ease. Why would coarse salt work any better?

    And sure, if you have a big steak then you might want to add salt a little sooner than at the table in order to let it permeate the meat. But still I would do it once you flip the steak over, on top of the “sealed” side.

    But of course, we should not seek consensus, otherwise what would we discuss by the grill? Classic debates such as which side of the chicken faces the coals first, whether to punture the chorizos or not, etc., are what asados are made of.

    Some suggestions for further topics: a discussion about the equivalence of meat cuts. To what degree do cuts in different countries differ? For example, what muscle does the Chilean lomo vetado include that the bife ancho does not? Will you ever be able to find vacío outside the Southern Cone?

    Also: the “V” shaped grooves which are common in Argentinean grills are seldom found in Uruguay, a country of master asadores, possibly because the Uruguayans regulate their grills diagonally, so to speak, facing an open fire with coals tucked beneath, while the Argentineans tend to prefer moving the grill up and down in perfect horizontal fashion (thus ensuring the grease does not spill over, which would happen in the Uruguayan design). Thus: how do Uruguayans avoid flare ups? I suspect they achieve this by placing the coals round the perimeter of the grill, but I’m not sure this would always work.

    Finally, a health warning might be a responsible thing to include at some point – too much grilled meat, eaten too often, might lead to serious health problems, as I am sure you are aware. Once a week might be fine, though.

    Ernest | Feb 7, 2006 | Reply

  4. Enough about the salt! You guys are making me hungry! Cheers! and great site!! Let me know if you want some good Asado photos. I’m a photographer and we cook asado every week. I pretty much have documented everything I cook on the grill.

    Jorge | Jul 28, 2006 | Reply

  5. Fact is that ALL salt comes from the sea! Table salt is more refined, insofar as the rough salt is “washed” by making a saline solution, cleaning it and allowing the water to evaporate again.

    Although all salt is sea salt, why does the stuff labeled “sea salt” taste different? If you look at the refined salt under a microscope, you will notice that all the crystals are uniform cubes, like little blocks. Not so with the less refined “sea salt,” which has irregular crystals. The irregularity of the crystals hit your tongue differently, hence the difference in taste. Pick up any book on food chemistry, and it will explain it better than I have here.

    By the way, another method of applying salt, with or without other seasonings, is to create a brine. Dissolving the salt in water allows you to baste the meat as you cook.

    I just returned from Buenos Aires and have embarked on a quest to try to replicate the parilla method of cooking either short ribs or middle rib. In Argentina they grill short ribs and the cut is quite flavorful. I need to figure out how to impart a taste similar to the hot coals method they use, as well as not to make the meat too tough.

    Wish me luck!

    Lee | Sep 22, 2007 | Reply

  6. Hi Lee,

    I agree with you on crystal shape affecting taste but then you have “sea salt” aficionados who are hooked on the additional mineral properties too no?

    I also agree with using a brine baste. Outstanding results and I actually wrote about it here if you want to check it out: http://www.asadoargentina.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=68

    Good luck with the ribs and let me know how they turn out!

    Asado Arg | Sep 25, 2007 | Reply

  7. Hi to all asadores, as an Argentino and Chef living outside the country, I feel required to answer some “myths”.
    The restaurant industry (When relating to Steaks) is still divided as to whether to salt before or after grilling meats.
    My experience is The salt draws juices from the steak to the surface, hence creating a small pool of blood on top of the steak, when cooking in a very hot surface the salt and blood combines to caramelise the meat.
    Second, the salt helps with the breakdown of protein, hence in a small way tenderising the meat.
    Whichever way you like it a good Bife ancho, a Quilmes beer and ensalada rusa under the shade of a fig tree, Heaven!!!
    Salud.

    Nic Basile | Sep 30, 2007 | Reply

  8. Hi Nic,

    Thanks for sharing!

    Asado Arg | Oct 2, 2007 | Reply

  9. Ok purist, answer this one: If am supposed to salt the bife on the browned side after it is turned around… When do I salt the “second” side if I am not allowed to turn it around again and recook the first side? Please understand me, I’m an engineer!

    Chuck Arango | Jul 8, 2008 | Reply

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