May 15, 2023

How To Grill An Argentine Asado Like a Pro: Step-by-Step 2024 Guide!

Hi my name is Jason Pittock and I am a British expat who has been living in Argentine for the last 2 decades. In this article let show you some of the key steps to grilling an Argentine Asado like a master. Look out for my "TOP TIPS" in the article and be sure to […]

Jason Pittock

May 15, 2023

Hi my name is Jason Pittock and I am a British expat who has been living in Argentine for the last 2 decades. In this article let show you some of the key steps to grilling an Argentine Asado like a master. Look out for my "TOP TIPS" in the article and be sure to hit me up on Instagram, YouTube or Facebook if you have an questions or additions to this post. Enjoy and happy grilling! Here are the links to my social media:

What is an Argentine Asado?

The Argentinian-style Asado is internationally known to be one of the best grilling techniques in the world. The Argentine Asado consists of slow-grilled or roasted meats and vegetables accompanied by the most delicious sauces such as chimichurri and provencal sauces.

Even though the Argentine way of grilling differs slightly from other cooking cultures, it’s not impossible to learn with the right techniques, tools, and ingredients.

The Asado which translated into English means grill, is also known in Argentina as “Parilla” (pronounced parisha) which also means barbeque or grill.

The following steps will teach you how to grill like an authentic Argentinian. Prepare yourself for a great experience and a fantastic grill session which will end in a true Argentinean meal. 

The Rule-book Of An The Argentine Asado

Let’s break down the important must and mustn’t of an Argentine Asado. In this section, we will guide you through some of the most foundational rules of grilling like an Argentinean pro. 

Spices

First, Argentineans do not overuse spices and condiments. Besides choosing top-quality meats farm-raised beef, one of the secrets of Argentinian Asado is only to use course salt while the meat is cooking and maybe some black pepper. Once the meat is done cooking, the sauces  (chimichurri and provencal, for instance) and other condiments can be added but once the meat is cooked and served, these traditional sauces are not heavily spiced but made up of 100% natural ingredients.

What to grill on the Argentine Asado

Secondly, predominantly an Argentine Asado is beef, although we will see many Asados that include lamb, venison, pork, and even fish, the majority of the Argentine Grill is beef. 

So knowing your meat is key and being open to trying various beef cuts, sausages, and organ cuts. an Argentinian Asado includes a great selection of alternative beef cuts and nearly all the parts of the cow can be consumed. 

Here are some common Asado choices and cuts:

  • Chorizo: small pork or beef sausage that can be served on there own on in French stick, also known as “Choripan” which is “Chorizo” (sausage) + “Pan” (bread)
  • Morcilla: Blood sausage
  • Tira de asado: the short ribs 
  • Costillar de asado: full rib section
  • Vacío: brisket
  • Matambre: flank-steak
  • Ojo de Bife: rib-eye steak
  • Lomo: Sirloin
  • Mollejas: sweetbreads, delicious when cooked until crispy on fire with plenty of lemon juice
  • Potatoes
  • Red Pepper
  • Onion 
  • Aubergine / Egg plant 
  • Eggs (grilled inside peppers)
  • Cheese (Provolone, Blue cheese, Cream cheese)
parilla asado argentino

Preparing the fire 

The number #1 rule of any good Argentine Asado is an epic fire! Good fires produce great embers and coals which we will use to grill the meat and veggies. 

TOP TIP Alert! The key to all successful Argentine Asados is the fire. A Good rule of thumb is to keep your fire producing quality embers during the whole process, but when you will need the most is at the beginning of the Asado, as often the grill is cold, and towards the end, 30-45 mins before you take your meat off. (depending on what cut of meat you are grilling).

Get your fit lit the right way from the outset: the easiest way to get the fire going is to place wood kindling in a pyramid shape with cardboard or old egg boxes or paper as the starter. Personally, i don’t use firelighters or any chemicals to start my fire. Locate the minor pieces in the center; they light faster and will be the ones that support the larger logs once we start to build the fire up. 

Argentine Asados are more wood than charcoal. Although charcoal is used here and there, Argentine “parrillas” are traditionally wood. There are a couple of reasons why we prefer wood: it’s cleaner, produces better coals/embers, gives off a lovely tangy smoke, and wood, burns at a more optimal and stable temperature.

Once you light your fire, start to stack on the hard firewood, (you can check out my firewood guide by clicking on this link). Add slowly but over a short period of time a good amount of wood until your fire looks something like this.

Asado Techniques
Asado techniques

Let the wood burn and fully combust. This can take up to 30 minutes so don’t rush it, let the wood fully burn and produce hot embers/coals so you can use them for your Asado!

As the fire starts to produce embers, make sure to poke it (use a long poker) or coal shovel. Let the embers drop down under the fire. 

Continue to feed and stoke your fire during the whole cooking process. 

Embers and coals

The key to an Argentine Asado is moving the coals from under the fire to the grill section where your meat or vegetables are.

This is what makes the Argentine asado so authentic and different from any other grilling technique.

This exercise of moving the coals from the fire to the grill will continue through the grilling session, and it is essential that the heat on the grill remains consistent.

TOP TIP Alert! The magic behind the embers or coals is that if produced for a hardwood, they will last for up to 15-30 minutes, producing amazing cooking temperatures, great taste, and consistent wet heat. 

Move the coals under the grill to create like a “bed” of coals. You can make the bed to the size of the cuts of meat you intend to grill. 

Once you have moved the coals from under the fire to the grill, make sure the grill has heated up fully a good way to test this is by holding your hand over 1cm above the grill, you should be able to count to 10. 

It is very important to not overheat your grill, this will make the heat tough and chewy. 

Preparing the meat

Now the grill has heated up, you have checked the heat of the grill, it's time to pre-salt your meat on both sides before you get it grill’n!

TOP TIP Alert! not many talk about is the temperature of the meat before putting it on the grill. One of my best tips is to make sure your meat doesn't go directly from the fridge to the fire! Give your meat (depending on the climate you are in) at least 30-60 mins to aerate and stabilize in temperature, ideally room temperature before taking the meat to the grill.

Lay the meat on the grill

Slowly take your meat from your table or board and lie it on the grill. It's important that you grill each piece of meat bearing in mind which side is recommended to grill facing down first. (You can head over to my recipes to find out more about each individual cut)

Once you place the meat on the grill, don’t move it around. Let it sit on the heat and slowly sear. Each cut of meat needs its unique grilling time and you can find out more about this on my Argentine Grilling blog or YouTube channel.

Patience is a virtue.

Understanding the timing of each cut is the passport to success. Do not rush grilling, patient grilling produces succulent tasty, and enjoyable meat. 

Cook the meat slowly and generally speaking a medium to low heat. During the grilling process continue to add coals under your grill and keep your eye on the heat to not overbook you 

 Every once in a while, add our famous “salmuera” to save the meat from drying out.

What is Salmuera?

Salmuera is an Argentine sauce that is applied during the cooking process to stop the larger cuts of meat from drying out if the cooking process is longer the 1-2 hours. 

Salmuera asado

Salmuera is made up of a range of ingredients and each “Parillero” (Grill master) makes his salmuera with his own cocktail, so here goes our favorite version:

Ingredients 

  • Olive oil 
  • Apple vinegar
  • Fresh rosemary 
  • 1 Fresh diced garlic 
  • Thyme 
  • Lemon juice 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red wine

Instructions

  1. Take a glass bottel (500-750 ml)
  2. Pour 20ml of olive oil into the bottle 
  3. Pour 100ml of apple vinegar
  4. Pour 100 ml of red wine 
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of salt
  6. Add 1 teaspoon of pepper
  7. Add a pinch of Thyme 
  8. Add 2-3 sections of fresh Rosemary 
  9. Add the diced garlic 
  10. Add 100 ml of water 
  11. Mix the ingredients (shake the bottle with the lid on!)
  12. Let the Salmuera sit in the fridge for at least 6 hours so it can cool and settle before applying it to the meat

It’s time to eat

As soon as the meat is nearing serving time a good way to end the grilling session is throwing provolone cheese over the grill, you can use a iron pan or even a tin foil to cook it. Provolone cheese is very popular in Argentina, and nearly everybody enjoys it as a starter to the meal.

Finally, when the meat is cooked and ready for serving it is important to take the meat off the grill and let it sit for at least 3 minutes before it is served.

Now it is time to carve up the meat and serve your guest the full Argentine experience. 

Now, this is the moment for another tradition among Argentinians, that is very unique to the grilling culture. It’s the moment to celebrate the “asador” or the grill master. Someone calls out for a round of applause, and everyone pauses, rises to their feet, and claps, congratulating the asador and the meal. It’s an excellent way of saying: a job well done!

Summary
How To Grill An Argentinean Asado: Step-by-Step 2024 Guide!
Article Name
How To Grill An Argentinean Asado: Step-by-Step 2024 Guide!
Description
Learn how to grill an Argentine Asado the true Argentinean way! In this 2024 step-by-step guide I will sure how grill an Asado like a Argentine BBQ master.
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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.
  • Expert Tips: From choosing the right cuts to mastering the "Asado" grill, I've got you covered.
  • Community Stories: Join a passionate community of grillers sharing tips, stories, and more!
:regalo: Special Bonus: Sign up now and get a FREE guide: "5 Secrets to Perfect Asado Every Time"
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