The Matambre Challenge: Round Two

The Matambre Challenge

Click Here For The Matambre Challenge Overview

Remember this is half fun and half research. The results of this challenge may not be indicative of whether or not these methods of preparation do what they are supposed to do. Sometimes you just get a poor quality cut of meat that nothing can defeat yet may work wonders for a high quality cut.

The Challenger In Round Two Is:

  • Vacuum-packed Wet-aged Matambre

Alright, here we are at round two of The Matambre Challenge. The matambre I used in this round has been sitting tight in a vacuum-packed plastic bag, packed by the supermarket chain La Anonima, for 29 days. Ernest, in the comments section of the Round One post, suggested this so I thought I would give it a try. Another commenter suggested a nice slow cooking might do the trick, and I wanted to do that, but figured I should get the wet-aged meat out of the way first with the cooking style I’ve used before.

As with all wet-aged meats I’ve come across, I gave a good whiff and inspection upon opening the bag to make sure I didn’t have some rancid piece of garbage. I could only detect the typical good smell associated with aged meat(not something that can be easily explained) that has been packed properly, so I was good to go.

This time I cooked the meat alone without any regular plain un-aged matambre to act as the control. Since I was heading into this challenge with the idea of following the typical heat and cooking time I have used before, I just figured that there was no need.

First I scored the meat and seasoned with fine salt, then I cooked it over a medium-low fire for about 30 minutes on each side.

The Results:

Meat that has been aged is typically much more tender than a freshly butchered cut and it definitely showed here. Overall this matambre didn’t damage my teeth too much. The super thin sections were extremely chewy but that is typical for matambre–literally looks like a piece of leather. Now the thickest part actually came out quite good. Slightly chewy but not to the point where there would be any major complaints–well unless someone had some really bad teeth. The rest of the meat, on the other hand, was about half as chewy as the matambres I’ve cooked before. Good sign! The aging had a lot to do with that but perhaps the meat was of a better quality as well.

If I can find a way to tackle that un-aged poor excuse of a meat that is sold all around me and apply it to a wet-aged cut of matambre, then I think we’ll have a winner.

Matambre - Thin Flank Steak

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10 Comment(s)

  1. Splendid, brother.

    I’m going to try the wet-aging on matambre.

    I’m also trying to get up the nerve for dry-aging a 1/4 beef.

    yanqui mike | Mar 24, 2007 | Reply

  2. Good stuff Mike, let me know how that works out!

    Asado Arg | Apr 4, 2007 | Reply

  3. I’m in Atlanta, Georgia, I can’t find any place that will sell me some matambre… Actually, no one knows what I’m talking about, even though it looks like I live in Michoacan, Mexico, instead of the US, because there must be a trillion mexican markets, but none of them can provide me with some matambre.
    I wanted to grill some matambre a la pizza, I havent been to Argentina in about a year, so I need this, really bad…
    Some say it’s called thin flank steak, some say it’s called sobrebarriga, but no one can point me in the right direction…
    Maybe it’s the different cuts they have here…:
    Who knows..
    Is there anyone out there who knows where to get matambre in the Atlanta area?

    Roberto | Apr 17, 2007 | Reply

  4. Hi Roberto,

    The image is really small here but the diagram is better than the one you posted.

    Since Atlanta has some hardcore barbecuers, I imagine you can find a good butcher to get a matambre cut for you. Check the Yellow Pages or try to find someone who does competition BBQ and ask if they have a favorite butcher.

    Tell them that matambre is a thin cut of meat that runs from the rib sides down to the flank/belly area. Its like right under the skin. For example, in the rib area you have skin & fat->matambre layer->fat & rib meat->rib bones

    Asado Arg | Apr 19, 2007 | Reply

  5. Thank you much for the information…
    I am proud to say that I finally found matambre at a local butcher shop in Duluth, GA.
    After repeatedly bugging the owners of the butcher shop for matambre, they decided to get it for me.
    They call it “sudero” or “sudadero” or “sobrebarriga”.
    But (there’s always a but), the matambre was cut in half, they can’t get it whole except in 2 pieces…
    So I took two, and made it.. Came out really tender.
    I made some filling out of shredded carrots, onions, red peppers, green onions, and freshly swueezed lemon juice, placed it on the matambre, flipped it over and closed it with toothpicks, (couldn’t find string) and grilled it for about 2 hours with a heavy object on top since it started to shrink once on the grill…
    Let me tell you it was spectacular…
    I really missed matambre, but now all I’m missing is a few good, cold, liter bottles of Quilmes to add to the effect.
    Check it out…

    I also wanted to thank you for having these pages available, you’ve earned a loyal viewer from now on, the information here is priceless for those of us who love food, specially ours.

    Roberto | Apr 21, 2007 | Reply

  6. Hi, I know this is an old post, but I just found your (hunger-inducing) blog last week, and in going through these old posts I just had to comment on this “wet aging” thing. Although it has been known to tenderize beef somewhat, I personally don’t think its worth the metallic tang the meat gets. I’ve actually had a butcher tell me that their term for wet-aged beef is “old.”

    Dry-aged is the best beef I’ve ever had, but its expensive to just buy a dry-aged steak at market, assuming you can find one. If you know any beef producers who will sell to individuals, you might be able to convince them to “hang” a side, or even a large joint (rib?), longer than they normally would. Or you could do it yourself if the weather is cold enough outside (not much above 45 degrees F each day). Just don’t overcook it,as it loses moisture faster than fresh beef.

    James | Oct 2, 2008 | Reply

  7. @James: Thanks for the comment!

    I’m definitely with you on dry over wet but with this particular cut the meat would probably turn into beef jerky within a day or two. I’m getting closer to the realization that it’s almost impossible to tame this beast on a grill. Another challenge has been performed, will post about that soon.

    Asado Argentina | Oct 2, 2008 | Reply

  8. Im not sure why there is such a big emphasis on the toughness of this cut of meat. Im pretty sure a majority of human beings have teeth, and when I cook matambre, I just let it sit in lemon and ground pepper for a day, put it on medium-high heat and it’s amazing. Matambre is to tough as Chorizo is to fattening. It’s just a given.

    Nick | May 23, 2009 | Reply

  9. Im not sure why there is such a big emphasis on the toughness of this cut of meat. Im pretty sure a majority of human beings have teeth, and when I cook matambre, I just let it sit in lemon and ground pepper for a day, put it on medium-high heat and it’s amazing. Matambre is to tough as Chorizo is to fattening. It’s just a given.

    Medyumlar | Jun 2, 2010 | Reply

  10. I just came home from Argentina and I am looking for the perfect Matambre receipe as well, because it was the BEST piece of meat I ever had (better than any lomo, bife de chorizo etc.). However, it seems very hard to find the right cut of meat, and, a good receipe, that gives you a tender piece of matambre…

    I haven’t tried it out yet, but I have read in an Argentinian blog that you must use VEAL and not beef…plus the milk marinating or cooking version…

    But maybe you already tried a veal matambre…

    Noel | Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

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