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Chimichurri-Steak Sliders with Beer Onions & Havarti from Scott Zimmer, Class of ’92

Scott Zimmer,  Owner / Executive Chef of The Chew Chew, Class of ’92

Pictured – Mike Engelhardt (left) Economics, Liberal Arts & Sciences 1991, Scott Zimmer (middle) Hospitality Management, Agriculture 1992, David Cox (right) Computer Science, Engineering 1990

Chimichurri-Steak Sliders with Beer Onions & Havarti Recipe

Makes 12

  • 2 lbs. cleaned skirt steak (outer-cut) 
  • ½ lb Havarti cheese sliced 
  • 2 ea. large red onions, sliced thin 
  • 1 can of your favorite beer 
  • 1 stick butter 
  • 2 cups chimichurri sauce (best made from scratch, or buy pre-made) 
  • 1 dozen mini-slider rolls (your pick) 

Tools needed: Grill for cooking, medium-sized saucepan, tongs, cutting board and knife.


  1. Clean and marinate your skirt steak the day before. I use salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. Avoid using the “inner” skirt steak found at most grocery stores. Go to a butcher and request the “outer” skirt steak. You will thank me. Store steak and marinade in a ziplock plastic bag. 
  2. Cut your onions the day before and place in a ziplock plastic bag. 
  3. Pack up your stick of butter, cheese, rolls and chimichurri sauce. 
  4. On game day, fire up the grill and let it get nice and hot. Start by adding your onions and  butter to the saucepan and cook onions until tender and brown. Add a can of beer and hold warm on the grill. 
  5. Cook your steak. It will not take long, about 10-12 minutes depending on your  preference of doneness. Remove steak from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Always cut skirt steak across the grain.  
  6. Toast your slider rolls and top with Havarti cheese to melt.  
  7. When it is time to eat, layer on 2-3 ounces of sliced steak on each roll. Top with some  beer onions and chimichurri sauce. Enjoy. 

Scott’s Homecoming Memories

  • What makes great tailgating food? 

Keep it simple. As a chef and operator of two restaurants, I prefer to enjoy the time with family and friends versus working on game day. I do most of the work the night before. I prefer my propane grill versus charcoal for tailgating. Faster cooking and less mess. 

  • Do you have a favorite story about homecoming at U of I? 

My best memories of homecoming were having family and friends come down to visit. The campus would come alive and everyone was in a good mood…especially with a victory. As a junior and senior, I lived with a couple other hospitality students on East Chalmers Street. We  knew how to throw a party and the gang always ended up at our place. 

  • Do you have a favorite homecoming or tailgating tradition? 

I don’t get to as many games as I would like. But I try to walk the campus afterwards to see all the changes. Happy to see Bevier Hall is still home-base for the Hospitality students. Last time down, we tried to walk in to see the classrooms and kitchen but it was locked. I spent many hours in the cafeteria there and I still stay in touch with many of my classmates. 

  • What else goes well with your recipe—a particular drink or accompaniment? 

We start with a Bloody Mary after firing up the grill. The guys normally switch to an easy-drinking beer and the ladies enjoy wine with lunch. I always have a variety of side dishes like potato salad, pasta salad, zesty slaw, chips, dips, fresh fruit, etc.