Latin Spice-Rubbed Grilled Flank Steak

July 11, 2010

Having just returned from Guatemala, I wanted to compare Chris Kimball’s version of a few Latin American recipes to the original food I had just eaten during my vacation.  First up, Latin Spice-Rubbed Grilled Flank Steak.

Chris Kimball makes a better Latin Grilled Steak.

The recipe took very little effort. I mixed the dry ingredients together, then covered the flank steak with spices. I took the extra step of letting it sit in the refrigerator for an hour, which ATK does with most for their dry spice rub, allowing the flavors to be more than just skin deep. Then, I built a two-level fire with all 5 quarts of charcoal on one side of the grill (no coals on cool side). Then I grilled the steak over high heat (covered, because I wanted it cooked more than medium-rare) for six minutes on the first side, and six minutes on the second side.  To allow the steak to cook through, I then move the steak over to the low-heat side of the grill for another 15 minutes, flipping half way through.

Overall, Chris Kimball gets 4-1/2 stars, while the original Guatemalan grilled steak only gets 3-1/2 stars. Chris Kimball’s version is more flavorful and uses a better cut of meat (I paid $6/lb on sale). The Guatemalan steak had similar flavors, but used too few spices.


  1. Because nobody in my family will eat anything medium-rare, I cooked according to high end of instructions. Also afterward, I cooked it on the low-heat side of the grill for 15 minutes.
  2. The recipe calls for 7 quarts of charcoals, but I only used about 5 quarts. The higher heat would have seared the steak faster, but I was trying to achieve medium-to-medium well.
  3. I let the spice rub sit on the meat in the refrigerator for an hour before cooking. Because this is a relative old recipe (1999), I modified it slightly to take into account the more recent techniques America’s Test Kitchen uses with dry spice rubs.
  4. The recipe calls for a 2-1/2 pound steak, but the largest my supermarket had was 2 pounds. I only used about 2/3 of the spice mixture.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $14 for two pounds of steak.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 5:30 PM. Dinner time 7:00 PM.

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