April 26, 2023

Argentine Asado Vacio Recipe (Brisket)

In Argentina, the Vacio which is known as a Brisket, is one of the main cuts of meat that cannot be missing from the true Argentinean grill. A true Argentine Asado must include a Vacio, it’s juicy, tender, and remarkably tasty.  Done well, the Vacio is a great cut to serve a large volume of […]

Jason Pittock

April 26, 2023

In Argentina, the Vacio which is known as a Brisket, is one of the main cuts of meat that cannot be missing from the true Argentinean grill. A true Argentine Asado must include a Vacio, it’s juicy, tender, and remarkably tasty. 

Done well, the Vacio is a great cut to serve a large volume of guests due to its proportions and dimensions.

argentine vacio

You can watch a grilling video here.

The Vacio (Brisket)

The Vacio is an extremely versatile cut and can be cooked both on the grill (Parilla) and in the oven. 

The Vacio is an underworked muscle that comes from the abdominal area of the cow, close to the hindquarters, this cut of the meat is tasty and wonderfully juicy! 

A great cut for anyone looking to start grilling or for the more advanced who are looking for a challenge.

Cooking the Argentine vacio has a few secrets, and in the article, we’ll tell you the best tips and a recipe to cook it on the grill and make your grilling session a success.

How to choose Vacio?

Choosing a good Vacio (Brisket) is key. There are a handful of things you should look out for to get yourself the best version of this succulent cut. 

  • Try to purchase the whole piece of vacio, getting cutups isn’t a great idea
  • Choose a Vacio that’s weight is between 1.5 and 3kgs. This is most likely from a younger animal and will be more tender. 
  • Look for bright vibrant red color meat. Avoid cuts that are dark red or darker, these most likely have been frozen multiple times and are not a good choice for your Grill. 
  • Choose a Vacio that has a nice lining of fat on one side. If that fat has been cut away by the butcher, choose one that has a complete lining.
  • Make sure the lining of the fat is white instead of yellow. This color indicates how fresh the cut of meat is.
  • Avoid frozen Vacios. Freezing meat does change the taste and texture of the meat slightly especially if it has been frozen multiple times.

Vacuum Sealed Vacio

When you purchase your Vacio you may have the option of purchasing it in a vacuum packed and sealed bag. So far here on the channel we have tested vacuum pack Vacio and have had positive feedback, although sometimes the vacuum-packed bag can leak colors onto the meat from the interior label or seals. Make sure to check there is no oxygen in your vacuum-sealed Vacio and that the juices are bright red and not dark. 

How to prepare the Vacio in the Argentine grill?

If you are going to be cooking your Vacio (Brisket) on a Grill (parrilla) follow the listed steps to prepare it the right way.

Ingredients 

  • 1 Vacio of 1.5-3kgs (serves 3-6 people) 
  • Coarse grain salt 
  • Black pepper
  • 20 grams of butter  
  • 5 grams of fresh Rosemary 
  • 1 Garlic clove 

Instructions 

  1. Take your Vacio out of the fridge and place it on a bowl with a damp rag covering it. 
  2. Let the Vacio sit at room temperature for at least 1-2 hours. It is important to let your Vacio stabilize its temperature before hitting the grill. 
  3. Check your Vacio for excessive white fat, remove with a sharp knife by holding the fat in one hand and carefully cutting away with the other. It is important that you leave a good lining of fat, and cut only excessive parts which will most likely interfere with your grilling if left. 
  4. Now you must spread butter on both sides of the Vacio, it is very important that the butter isn’t too hard and can be evenly rubbed into the meat. By adding the butter we seal the pores and allow for better absorption of the salt and pepper.
  5. Add Salt (coarse grain) and Pepper to both sides of the Vacio.
  6. Make sure to have prepared your fire in advance and have the grill hot and ready for grilling.
  7. Your main goal is to not rush the cooking processes, therefore managing the heat is essential.
  8. To gage the heat make sure you can hold your hand over the grill for 10-15 seconds without burning yourself, this is a good way to measure the heat from your coals.
  9. Make sure your bed of coals are the same dimensions as your cut of meat or slightly larger. 
  10. Place your Vacio on the grill with the leather of white lining side down first. It is important that you don’t confuse the lining of fat with the leather. By putting the leather side down first the Vacio will conserve its juices much longer and remain moist.
  11. Now dice your garlic clove as finely as possible and sprinkle the fresh garlic onto the top of the Vacio. 
  12. Add rosemary to the top of the Vacio.
  13. Now the Vacio should cook consistently for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes on one side. 
  14. It is important to keep your heat stable and consistent.
  15. Create a circle of coals under the vacio as often the thinner part of the vacio is in the middle and the thicker part on the edges. When using the circle method make sure the Vacio (Brisket) cooks evenly. (See graphic below)
  16. After 1 hour and 30 minutes, it’s time to turn the Vacio. 
  17. Use tongs to turn it and don’t worry if the garlic or rosemary falls off when turning as during this cooking process it would have already added a unique taste to the meat as the juices were absorbed.
  18. Do not use a fork to turn a Vacio as it most likely will puncture a hole in the meat surface and juices will be lost. 
  19. Once your Vacio is turned make sure to add more garlic and rosemary to the top and extra salt if needed.
  20. Your vacio should start to take a golden color and notice that the fat and leather are crispy.
  21. Now the Vacio should cook consistently for another 1 hour and 15 mins. 
  22. Once the Vacio is cooked its time to take it off the grill!
  23. Use tongs and a fork if needed to remove the Vacio from the grill.
  24. We recommend having a large board as the Vacio is a big cut and has a lot of juices that will come out once you start slicing it.
  25. Let the Vacio sit for 5-10 mins before slicing.
  26. Now its time to slice the Vacio, make sure that you slice it with the leather or lining side down. This will mean that you can pull the slices of meat away from the lining and not serve the leathery fat to your guests. Some people remove the lining after the cooking process altogether. 
  27. Now enjoy! 

The circle cooking method for Vacio (Brisket)

The circle booking method as explained in the graphic below is a method that allows the Vacio to cook evenly.

Often the Vacio thickness will vary with the center part being thinner and the outer sections being a lot thicker. By using the circle method the cooking process will be even out the heat direction and not burn the center or undercook the outer sections. 

You can simply create a circle of coals with more coals in the outer ring and less in the center, make sure the ring is a slightly larger proportion than the cut of meat this way the meat will cook evenly.

circle of coals grilling vacio

How to serve the Vacio (Brisket), and what are its ideal side dishes?

Make sure to slice the Vacio (Brisket) perpendicular to the fibers in slices 3 or 4 centimeters thick. 

The Vacio is a delicious cut of meat that goes with everything. Here at Argentine Asado, we serve it with good salads, grilled veggies, and always some crusty bread to go down! 

Vacio (Brisket) sandwich

An alternative for your leftovers is Vacio sandwiches. This is a delicious way to use up the Vacio so you can prepare some delicious sandwiches for later in the week or the next few days.

The vacio conserves itself very well in the fridge and is a great filler. 

Here are some instructions for your Vacio sandwich.

Instructions 

  1. Make sure to wait for the Vacio to cool down
  2. Remove all excess fat and leathery skin. It’s important to remove all excess fat and leathery lining as in the fridge this will go hard and difficult to remove. 
  3. Slice up the Vacio 
  4. Make sure to put the Vacio into a clean plate that has no juices from the meat 
  5. Put the Vacio in the fridge
  6. Depending on the temperature the Vacio can conserve well in the Fridge for 2-4 days. 
  7. When you take the Vacio out of the fridge to fill your sandwiches it’s important to let it sit for a few hours. 
  8. Take a fresh french stick or roll and mix mayonnaise or butter with paprika and pepper, and spread this evenly on your bread roll on both sides.
  9. You can add the famous chimichurri to the sandwich along with cheese, tomato, a mix of greens, and caramelized onion. 
  10. Now add your Vacio to the roll.
  11. Enjoy!

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