Costillas con Chimichurri: Argentinian-Style Beef Ribs with Chimichurri Sauce

I first had this dish at an Argentinian restaurant in Chelsea, NYC just before the pandemic and craved it so much afterwards that I spent months experimenting to recapture the texture and flavors. The beef is tender and juicy, its robustness mouthwateringly complimented by the bright, complex acidity of the chimichurri. It’s an unapologetically indelicate dish—it’s carnal, demanding that you pick up the bones and tear every last bite off with your teeth, licking the chimichurri from your fingers.  

Traditionally, this recipe uses “flanken-style” short ribs, meaning short ribs cut across the bone; your butcher can do this for you, but I also give suggestions of other cuts of ribs that still work perfectly fine as long as they’re cooked low and slow.  

For the ribs:

5 lbs beef (back) ribs, baby back ribs, or short ribs

Balsamic vinegar, to coat

Olive oil, to coat

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to coat

3-4 cloves garlic, crushed then minced

For the Chimichurri:

1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

¼ cup chives, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 tsp cumin

1 TBSP crushed red pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

2 TBSP red wine vinegar

½ cup olive oil, plus more as needed

Instructions:

The Night Before:

Brush a generous coating of the balsamic vinegar onto all sides of the ribs. Repeat with the olive oil. Then, generously season the ribs with salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides. Scatter the garlic over the ribs, pressing lightly to get it to stick, then wrap the ribs and let sit overnight.

Add the fresh herbs, garlic, cumin, crushed red pepper, paprika, salt, and red wine vinegar to a food processor. Blend, slowly adding the olive oil, until it becomes a thick sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  Let sit in the refrigerator overnight, so that the flavors marry.

The Day Of:

Take the chimichurri out of the refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Preheat the grill* and prepare it for indirect grilling. Set the ribs on the cool side of the grill (for indirect heating), close the lid, and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours (the internal temperature should be 165F), turning every 15 minutes.  Once they’ve come to temp, remove from heat. Let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with the chimichurri.

*For cooking in the oven, preheat the oven to 250F. Place the ribs in a single layer, meaty side facing downwards, on a large, parchment-lined sheet tray; cover the ribs with aluminum foil. Cook for 3-4 hours, until the meat has shrunk on the bone and is super tender. Let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with the chimichurri.

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