To achieve a great Asado, you must take care of your grill and keep it in perfect condition.
Achieving great Argentine Asados consistently doesn’t come by chance. One of the biggest contributions to a great Argentine Asado is preparation.
Like any craft, preparing your Argentine Asado correctly will set you up and put you on the path to grilling success!
So, how and why should you prepare the grill for the perfect Argentine experience?
The true Argentine Asado as an authentic luxurious event that traditionally wouldn’t happen often. This gathering of friends family and loved ones for this special cuisine was an important highlight of the week month or even year.
Argentineans have suffered under the burden of bad economic conditions for more than 2 centuries. This has meant that Asados are not taken lighlyt, and due to this many, a generation has passed down the ritual of preparing the grill and taking extra care in the preparation of the Argentine Asado.
Grilling doesn’t come cheaply, it takes time, effort, and resources to put on a true Argentine Asado experience, therefore understanding the basics of preparation will make your grilling session a spectacle that many will not forget.
Will start by taking care of the grill and making sure it is always impecable!
Spending a few minutes cleaning your grill will make a world of difference to the end result of the Asado. A dirty grill can ruin the flavor of the Argentine “parilla” and also add extra grease to whatever you are grilling. Not to mention that it can smear the meat and give it not so nice appearance!
Top tip alert: Make sure to clean the grill before removing the ash and coals from your Asado.
If you have a traditional brick-and-mortar fixed grill, ideally you can clean it while it is hot so it will be easier to get the grease out of the steel. While the grill is still hot you can use a wire brush (see picture below) dipped in hot whatever or cold white vinegar. Thoroughly go over the entire grill to remove any grease that remains. You will notice that the grease will drop through to the ash and coals, this will help soak it up making it easier to remove.
Do not use any chemicals or detergents. Only water or vinegar.
If you have a loose rack you can put the rack onto the flames and let the flames burn off all the excess fat or grease. This step will completely eliminate any remaining bacteria.
Once you have brushed down the grill you can wipe it down with some old newspaper, cardboard, or paper towels. Make sure the grill isn’t too hot when you wipe it down!
Asado cleaning wire brush:
Now that you have cleaned your grill it's important to remove the ash and coals from the Asado.
Once the coals are completely cold (this can take up to 12 hours if you are using Piquillin firewood), you can carefully remove them with a brush and coal shovel.
Top tip alert: To avoid the ash creating too much dust you can lightly sprinkle some water onto the bed of ash and coals to consolidate it and avoid it from stirring up to much!
Remove the ash and coals into a bucket or cardboard box and make sure to brush down the corners of your grill to get it completely clean!
I often get asked by my guest and community “What do you do with the excess coals and ash after your Asados?”
There are a few ways you can dispose of your coals and ashes after your Asados:
Ash from hard firewood is packed with natural minerals for your garden and plants, make good use of it, before throwing it in the trash!Argentine Asado Grilling Team
Your Asado Tongs, Coal Shovels, and Long Forks are most likely your weapons of choice when it comes to maneuvering your Parilla and keeping your Asado under control. These tools should be looked after and maintained.
Here on the Argentine Asado channel, I take good care of my tools so they can take good care of me when I am in front of the grill and fire!
When you have finished using them, rub them down with warm water and an old rag or paper towel. I then take good care to dry them after, removing excess grease or fat from the handles or steel.
Every 6 months I make sure to sand down the wood handles of my tools and re-stain them so they are always looking fresh and sharp!
Your knives and chopping boards are crucial elements in your Asado therefore I highly recommend looking after them accordingly.
Depending on the brand of your Knives and Chopping board these preparation maintenance techniques may not be necessary.
Once you have finished your Asado it is important to clean your boards and knives so you can pack them away in optimum conditions until next time.
A few important points to remember when cleaning your grilling knives:
Top tip alert: If you want to take your knife care to the next level there are special knife oils and greases to keep your knives in top condition, especially the blade.
Top tip alert: Always check both sides of the board as they can get both get dirty during your asado! Check underneath while cleaning!
As we have discussed in this article care, preparation, and preventive maintenance are important.
It is also vital to take care of the exterior of your grill. Whatever your grill is made of, make sure to look after the structure and exterior of your grill.
Make a quick check every few months that the exterior paint is in good condition and that the walls have no cracks. If you notice small areas of rust, you can catch it before it spreads! And the same goes for cracks in the walls or the internal walls.
Also, if you have a gas grill, try to cover it with a tarp to protect it from weather conditions. If your grill is brick, try putting up some doors or cover so it stays protected all year around!
Don't forget to always wear protective gear like gloves and even goggles, as some particles from the embers and ash can fly around and irritate your eyes.
Like any art, preparation is the main ingredient for success. Having clean tools and an impecable grill elevates your grilling experience, directly impacting the results of your Argentine Asado! Go ahead and make sure you prepare for your next Asado, maintain your tools, and notice how your grilling goes from good to great!