I sauntered down the pristine white tile floor store, excited and apprehensive at the same time, as I made my way top the butcher counter. I quickly studied the pink, red, and white-ish cuts of meat in the glass case, while i waited for the young man, who had probably barely grown his first mustache, to assist me. He finished with the housewife in front of me and looked straight at me.
My voice shook a bit, and I said “I need that piece of pork there, but can you cut it into thin slices?”. He acted as if he had heard wrong, and tried to clarify, I did, and he was still confused. I said in the most commanding, but still courteous, tone I could muster, “Just do it”, and he whisked the pork away and cut the pork as I had asked. He came back with the cut meat and said, “I’ve never seen anyone ask for that”. I responded knowingly, “I know, it’s a Cuban thing.”
While in the above case I was looking for my butcher to cut up a beautiful, thin piece of bistec de puerco (pork) the same thing would have happened to me if i had asked him to cut the steak in this manner, too. The fact is that bistecs of pretty much any meat are widely available in Cuba, and in my experience, one of the most reliably delicious items on restaurant menus, but just aren’t here in the States, outside of areas with large Cuban populations. It confounds me, though, how we haven’t taken to this cut of meat here, since it is a flavor-packed and simple preparation.
Grilled Bistec de Res
Notes: Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t good enough for me to grill outside, so I used a grill pan. These thin-cut steaks came out absolutely delicious on the grill pan, and will probably be even better outside on a real grill. The marinating is absolutely key in this dish, so do not skip it. It is almost impossible, because of the thinness of these steaks, to cook them anything less than well done. They are eaten this way and Cuba and are delicious even still.
- 4 high quality sandwich steaks or thin cut pieces of sirloin steak
- 1 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 1/4 cup of lime juice
- 1/4 cup of oil
- Large bowl for marinating
- Spoon for mixing
- Grill or grill pan
- Combine all ingredients besides the steaks into a large bowl and mix them together with a spoon to combine.
- Add the steaks to the bowl and mix everything thing around to evenly coat the steaks with the marinade.
- Let the meat marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to about 2 hours. The longer the better, up to those 2 hours.
- Heat up your grill pan/grill once the meat has marinated over high heat.
- Once the grill is hot, place the steaks on the grill to cook.
- Let the steaks cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until they have beautiful char lines on each side.
- Take the steaks off of the grill, serve with rice, beans, and salad, and enjoy!