The Fire and Coals (Brasas)
At its core, asado is meat grilled in its purest form. Traditionally, the fire used to cook the meat is made with a combination of red-hot coals and firewood, though the exact type of wood may vary from region to region. Additionally, an authentic asador, or grill chef, won’t use lighter fluid to start the fire, as it can taint the flavor of the meat; starting the fire without flammable liquid is considered an important part of the asado ritual.
Once the fire is started, you need to wait for your grill to heat up. In Argentine asados, a simple iron grill called a parrilla is used. They come in all shapes and sizes, from compact versions that can fit in your apartment to massive commercial ones for restaurant use. Most parrillas are equipped with an adjustable height for the grill, which helps the asador regulate the temperature of the meat.
The Meat (and Vegetables)
Without doubt the most important part of any asado is the meat. Generally, you’ll want to plan for about a pound of meat per person, and there are many meats to choose from. Beef is the obvious first choice, and the heart of the meal; every cut is served, from ribs to sirloin to skirt steak to ribeye to flank to tenderloin. Beyond beef, though, there are sausages, chorizo, chicken breasts, sweetbreads, chitterlings, and morcilla, or blood sausage. No matter which meat thats on the grill, the only seasoning that should ever be used is a coarse BBQ salt and pepper (here and there!).
While meat is the main event at an asado, a host of accompaniments help to round out the meal. Simple salads, grilled vegetables, and peppers add a bit of greenery; fresh bread is served; and homemade condiments, such as chimichurri, provenzal and salsa criolla, enhance the natural flavors of the delicious, slow-roasted meats.
The Argentine asado is all about timing and absolute perfect coordination.
Understanding how long each cut takes and when to turn it when one-side is done. The true Asado experience is not rushed, its a patient grilling experience that can take anywhere from 1 to 5 hours!
The majority of the Argentine cuts of meat take approximately 2.5 hours to cook, but some can take more.
Sit back, enjoy the aromas, and make the Argentine Asado the closest thing to meditation!
Beverages including Mate and Fine Argentine Wine
No asado is complete without a glass (or two) of fine Argentine wine. As the 5th largest wine producing country in the world, Argentina produces many varieties of both red and white. Once the meat is grilled and the salads are assembled, it’s time to sit down with a heaping plate of food and a heavy pour of Argentina’s flagship red wine, Malbec.
The BBQ Conversation
Above all, the tradition of asado is one of social gathering. Be it a weekend or holiday season the sights and smells of an asado can be found taking place in all of Argentina. Invite your family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy a delicious grilling experience, and you’ll make memories to last a lifetime.