The asado may be the biggest tradition here in Argentina. It may also be the reason that heart disease is the leading cause of death amongst Argentines. Maybe, maybe not. However they are damn tasty and if the asador (grill master) knows what they’re doing it can be quite exceptional! Luckily, a very kind family has taken me under their wing and have showed me the magic of the asado….
The grill or BBQ pit aka parilla is quite different from the American grills I’m use to. Parillas have an area (to the left) where you burn the wood or coals and all the droppings that fall below are then moved underneath the grill. To get the flame going it’s common to use piñas (pine cones) as opposed to lighter fluid. Way to be resourceful, Argentina!
Above are the tools that the asador uses to slide the burning wood or charcoal to underneath the grill . Now, since the brasas are smaller and not flaming, the meat cooks at a lower temperature and doesn’t take on a smoky flavor. HUGE difference between American and Argentine grilling. Once the brasas are ready, lower the grill to start heating and wipe it down with leftover newspapers to remove any guck that may have stuck around from your last asado.
Once the grill is hot place your bigger cuts on first since they need the most cooking time.
A normal asado consist of beef, chorizo, and chicken. We were feeling obnoxiously hungry and decided to also throw on pork, rabbit, blood sausage, red peppers, and chinchulin.
Choripan may be my favorite part of the asado. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the first thing served or because I love pork, but it’s packing flavor and goes great with a glass of red. My asador likes to butterfly them once they’re almost done cooking and then place them back on the grill to get the inside crispy! YUM! Place the cut chorizo in between lightly toasted white bread, pour yourself a glass of vino and enjoy the next few minutes of salty goodness.
Chinchulin is commonly eaten here in Argentina and is best served HOT and with lemon. To me, the taste is good but the texture freaks me out.
- Most Argentines only season their meat with salt and prefer it cooked well-done.
- Chorizo options: pork, pork and beef mixed, beef. I prefer the mixed- not too fatty with a nice balance of flavor and texture.
- Sadly, most asados don’t have many veggie options, BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY! I always throw on peppers, corn on the cob, squash, etc. and everybody LOVES them. AND, they’re very reasonably priced and your body needs a break from digesting all that carcass.
If you’re visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina and would like to experience an authentic asado, check out Asado Buenos Aires.