In Argentina, the asado , or barbecue, is taken very seriously indeed, but the meat cooked is treated simply, usually seasoned with salt alone, so the quality of the beef is paramount. In this recipe I use ‘English cut’ beef short ribs, which are best cooked low and slow over an indirect heat. With each rib, you get a short section of bone with a thick chunk of meat attached to one side. Chimichurri is the quintessential Argentinian asado sauce, generously poured over pretty much everything that comes off the grill. It’s like a really punchy pesto, zingy with vinegar, lemons and plenty of garlic.
If you are using a gas barbecue, light half the burners, ideally one at either end of the grill, leaving the middle section off. If you are using a charcoal grill, light a big mound of coals (you need the fire to be gently alight for 3 hours so use plenty). Once the coals are white-hot, push them to one side of the grill, leaving the other side coal-free.
Spread the ribs out in a sturdy roasting tin and sprinkle liberally with sea salt flakes, then turn the ribs so they all face bone down, meat up. Set the tin on the cool area of the charcoal grill, or over the unlit burners of the gas grill. Close the lid and cook for 3 hours, checking every now and then and turning the tin as necessary to make sure the ribs are cooking evenly. This is more important if you are using charcoal as the heat will all be coming from one side. If your barbecue has a thermometer on the lid you are aiming to keep the interior temperature at around 200–220°C/400–425°F. The ribs are ready when the meat is deep and dark and starting to come away from the bone.
To make the chimichurri sauce, roughly tear the parsley and add it to a food processor, along with the oregano or marjoram. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the garlic, red wine vinegar, chilli flakes, lemon juice and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Blitz to a purée. With the motor running, trickle in the olive oil in a steady stream. Once it’s well mixed, taste to check the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, chilli or lemon, to taste. It should be punchy! Scrape into a bowl and leave at room temperature while the short ribs are cooking. Serve the ribs with the sauce alongside to drizzle over as you eat.