The Art of the Argentine Asado
BBQ World Tour #4 - In 2020, Kokko transforms himself into a globe-trotter and offers you a "BBQ World Tour" to discover the history of grilling, smoking and roasting through different gastronomies. For this fourth stopover, direction South America as we disembark... in Argentina. Put on your gloves, heat the coal and install the grills: let's go!
What is the Asado?
In Spanish, "asado" means "roasting" or "grilling" over a fire or in an oven. Generally speaking, when we speak of asado, we are talking about meat grilled over a wood fire. As with the barbecue, in South America, asado refers both to the method of cooking and to the convivial moment during which guests enjoy grilled meats.
The Ritual of the Argentine Asado
It's safe to say that Asado is Argentina's national dish! And even though it is a method of cooking meat grilled over a fire, the asado is not a classic barbecue. As Argentina is one of the world's leading beef producing countries, but also a major consumer, beef is the preferred meat for asado.
1. The asador, the king of barbecue
True ritual, it is appropriate when organizing an asado, to designate an "asador". Indeed, these people - often self-proclaimed - specialists in the cooking of meat, take everything in hand from A to Z. They manage the fire and the cooking to ensure that the meat is cooked to perfection, i.e. well grilled on the outside and tender on the inside.
Making the asado fire is quite an art. When it takes place in the countryside, wood is used, mainly hardwood. If it takes place in the city, coal is used. To learn more about wood and charcoal, our guide to choosing them will be able to enlighten you.
2. The method of cooking asado
The asado is cooked on embers, which the asador spreads under the grills, which are higher than in our traditional barbecues. The cooking is then softer and does not attack the meat. It allows time for the fat to nourish the flesh to make it tender and juicy without drying it out, like the tradition of the American BBQ. The cooking of the asado is slow, count 2h, 3h, 4h according to the weight of the pieces. Indeed, unlike our barbecues, in Argentina, the pieces of meat are kept whole and some even weigh several kilos.
Among the favourite cuts are entrecote, sirloin, rib eye, flank steak, flank steak and flank steak. But like the picanha in the Portuguese barbecue tradition, the pieces of beef are not cut exactly the same way as in France. Other meats are also barbecued in Argentina such as lamb and kid. In this case, they are cooked vertically, skewered.
Here are some of our barbecue beef recipe ideas:
The famous Chimichurri sauce
The meat of the asado is often accompanied by a condiment called Chimichurri, which can also be used as a marinade. This sauce consists of a mixture of garlic, parsley, coriander, bay leaves, red pepper, wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Oregano, thyme, lemon and even tomato and pepper can be added according to taste. During cooking, the meat is brushed with this spicy sauce to make it even softer.
What do you accompany an Asado with?
Vegetables are scarce in the tradition of the Argentinean asado! However, potatoes, roasted peppers, or a mixed salad: green, tomatoes, onion and hard-boiled eggs can be combined with them.