April 9, 2024

What are the 9 Argentine Grilling Secrets?

If you like our grilling blog and follow me on YouTube or Instagram (whichever suits you best), you probably think you know a thing or two about our authentic Argentine Asado, and KUDOS for that. After all, it’s an emblem of the world’s gastronomy, the tradition steeped in history that brings family and friends together […]

Jason Pittock

April 9, 2024

If you like our grilling blog and follow me on YouTube or Instagram (whichever suits you best), you probably think you know a thing or two about our authentic Argentine Asado, and KUDOS for that. After all, it’s an emblem of the world’s gastronomy, the tradition steeped in history that brings family and friends together every Weekend, and the ultimate level for grilling aficionados.

Argentine Grilling Tips (The Secrets Passed Down Through Generations!)

But do you know the underlying secrets of a perfect Asado, or are you just winging it with the fire and the meat, or do you feel your skills are not exactly there and don’t get consistent results? Don’t worry, I’m here to help you. I’m going to share with you 10 grilling tips that will make you the grill master and earn you the applause of your guests. So put on your apron, grab your tongs, fire the grill, and get ready to take your grilling skills to the next level!

Meat, the Diva of the Show

Select your cuts with the precision of a casting director looking for a leading role, LOL. Whether you go for a ribeye with more marbling or some slow-roasted Flank, the choice is entirely up to you. Or maybe you are considering Beef Ribs, which in our recent YouTube episode we enjoyed that one! In Argentine Asados choosing the right cut to suit the timing and guests is absolutely key.

Choose your meat wisely. This is the first and most crucial step for a great asado. You should select high-quality, fresh cuts of meat with the right color consistency. The most popular cuts include ribs, flank steak, ribeye, skirt steak, sirloin, and tenderloin. You can also include offal such as blood sausage, chorizo, sweetbreads, and intestines (chinchulines). It’s best to visit a trusted butcher who can provide advice and cut the meat to your preference.

The 2 essential elements to choosing the meat are:

  1. How much time do you have for your grilling session?
  2. Who are the guests and how many people will be joining your grilling session?

The top tip here is to look for freshness in the meat and understand the supply chain so you can make an informed decision about what meat you would like to put on your Argentine grill! That being said, it’s wise to choose meat that is bright red, and “glossy” instead of darker and opaque. 

Fire it up!

Fire it up, baby! A true “asador argentino” can’t mess around with a feeble fire; you need to set the stage with some charisma. Fire is the soul of the barbecue and should be ready before you start cooking. Ideally, use the right hardwood, which imparts a special aroma and flavor to the meat. If you’re using charcoal, ensure it’s of good quality and well-lit. The fire should be moderate and consistent, and you should have enough to sustain it throughout the barbecue. Avoid using paper, alcohol, or other accelerants to ignite the fire, as they can contaminate the meat and cause accidents. It’s best to use some kindling, a bit of thin wood, some dry leaves, or pinecones and patiently blow on them until the fire catches. And if you have a blower or a set of bellows, even better!

Having all the essential tools within arm’s reach

In the world of Argentinian Asados, the grill master must have every necessary tool handy. First things first, those long, graceful tongs are your best friend. They’re not just for show; they’re your trusty tools for, moving around the logs on the fire, shift large portions of meat around the grill and even flipping the meat without poking holes in it – a cardinal sin in the asado world LOL!

Another tool that is key is the shovel, this will allow you to move your hot embers from under the cradle or where the fire is happening, to under the grill. Along with the shovel you can use a “rake” to spread the coals and embers out accordingly.

Last but not least, you’ll need a pair of gloves to safely handle those hot grates.

Salt: The Flavorful Superstar of Meat Seasoning

Season the meat with coarse salt. Salt is the only superstar at an Argentine Asado. Use your Salt prudently and don’t go overboard – we’re aiming for a balance of flavors, adding too much salt can curb the flavors and cause the meat to dry a little. The golden rule is a tablespoon of salt per kilo of meat. You can also throw in some sprigs of fresh rosemary (my personal fave!) or thyme for that extra flavor – they’ll add a delightful aroma!

Turning Up the Heat and Keeping Your Cool

Control the grill temperature. The grill should be clean and possibly pre-greased and at the right distance from the flames. To check if the grill is ready, you can place your hand over it and count between 7-10 seconds. If you can’t handle it anymore, it’s way too hot. If you can tough it out, it’s way too cold. The sweet spot is when you can count to 7 or 10 seconds without it being too uncomfortable. To adjust the temperature, you can raise or lower the grill or play around with the embers. You could also use a grill thermometer for an exact reading, but don’t just blindly trust the numbers; rely on your intuition and experience as well.

Respect Time: patience is a virtue

You should only put some of the meat on the grill at a time, you must follow the cooking hierarchy of each cut. Not all cuts need the same time or the same heat.

The key to mastering this culinary adventure is to kick things off with the thick cuts, like the vacio or flank steaks, rack of ribs, and that wide strip steak. The vacio starts its sizzling journey skin-side down, while the wide strip steak chooses the bone-side path. Cooking times will vary according to each cut and you can find more on my YouTube channel – but usually, it’s somewhere in the ballpark of 1 hour to 1 hour and a 45 min for each side of the larger cuts, of course this depends on the size of each cut.

Now, it’s showtime for the chinchulines – the indispensable Argentine barbecue comrades. They appear onto the grill almost simultaneously with our earlier larger meat cuts and do their magic stuff for about 50 minutes until they are ready! The key to Chinchulines is the heat, the hotter the better! But don’t char them!

In the next act, you introduce the sweetbreads and those more delicate cuts like tenderloin, the rump tri-tip, and the regular strip steak. After 15 minutes, you throw in the sausages, and in about 30 to 40 minutes, they’ll all looking great!

Lastly, it’s time to give a warm welcome to the blood sausages, the “morcillas.” They’re low-maintenance, they just need a little heating up. After 15 minutes on the grill, your Asado is ready to steal the show, complete with sausages and offal. Voilà, the grand unveiling of the ultimate guide to transforming meat into a work of art, Argentine style!

The Magical Marinade

A marinade or salmuera is like the extra boost for your meat. It’s the secret sauce that turns a humble cut into a superstar of the grill. But what is the best marinade for asado, the traditional Argentine barbecue? To make it shine, you need a simple but flavorful marinade that enhances its natural taste and texture. Here are the ingredients you need to make your own magical marinade for asado:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil: This is the base of your marinade. It helps the meat absorb the other flavors and keeps it moist and tender. Use about half a cup of oil for every kilogram of meat.
  • Finely chopped garlic: Garlic adds a punch of aroma and flavor to your marinade. It also has antibacterial properties that help preserve the meat. Use about four cloves of garlic for every kilogram of meat.
  • Fresh herbs: Herbs are the soul of your marinade. They add freshness and complexity to your meat. You can use any herbs you like, but some of the most common ones for asado are oregano, thyme, rosemary, and parsley. Use about a quarter cup of chopped herbs for every kilogram of meat.
  • Spices: Spices are the magic of your marinade. They add color and heat to your meat. You can use any spices you like, but some of the most common ones for asado are salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin. Use about a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of each spice for every kilogram of meat.

To make your marinade, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Then, take your meat and rub it generously with the marinade, making sure to cover every inch. Place the meat in a large ziplock bag or a glass container and refrigerate it for at least four hours, or overnight for better results. The longer you marinate, the more flavor your meat will have.

Don’t Poke the Meat!

In an Argentinian asado, there’s a sacred rule: “Thou shalt not poke the meat!” Seriously, it’s almost a sin to stab or slice that juicy meat just to check if it’s done before the asado is ready for serving. It’s like sending the flavorful juices on an unscheduled vacation 😂 ! The tiniest cut can turn your meat into a Sahara Desert mirage LOL. And oh, let’s not forget that those runaway juices can cause a fiery spectacle, turning your grill into a flamethrower, and you into a BBQ firefighter.

So, instead of playing ‘Whack-a-Mole’ with your meat, always have a trusty set of grabbers by your side to flip it like a pro. Your taste buds will thank you, and your asado will be the stuff of legends! 

Patience, mate!

You don’t rush an asado, my friend. It’s not a sprint; it’s a slow and glorious marathon of grilling delights!! From the moment you start up that fire, get your first embers, until you finally serve your guests, you’re looking at about three hours, more or less. So don’t rush it! This is a game of patience, patience and more patience.

Let the meat kick back before slicing it

To ensure the Argentine asado experience is truly outstanding, the slices of meat must arrive at the cutting board intact, and without cooling down too much. Whether you slice them at the table and then serve them on a separate tray or slice them on the grill, that is up to you. BUT the most important aspect is to let your meat rest for a few minutes before you start slicing it up.

Allowing your meat to settle is necessary to facilitate the redistribution of juices and prevent them from exuding out prematurely at the first cut before they make it to the plates. This step not only ensures the juiciest and most flavorful results but also adds an extra layer of anticipation and excitement to the whole Asado gathering. So, let those succulent meat cuts settle for a while before you dive in!

Enjoy my friends, Salud!

Summary
What are the 9 Argentine Grilling Secrets?
Article Name
What are the 9 Argentine Grilling Secrets?
Description
I’m going to share with you 10 grilling tips that will make you the grill master and earn you the applause of your guests.
Author
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Argentine Asado

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:data: What's in it for You Every Month on Saturday?
  • Exclusive Recipes: Mouth-watering dishes that'll make your BBQ the talk of the town.
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  • Community Stories: Join a passionate community of grillers sharing tips, stories, and more!
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