Tuesday 21 March 2023

How to host an Argentinean asado

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argentinean-asado-620x775(QLIVING) It’s the weekend. Skip the boring burger and hot dogs or a trip mall’s food court and host an Argentinean Asado. Even if you’re in Costa Rica (or wherever you might be), there’s no reason not to borrow this passion from Argentina.

The Matador Network reports, “the ARGENTINEAN ASADO is not just a barbecue. It is the nucleus of passion and everything important to Argentineans.

On weekends in Argentina, spending time with family and friends begins Sunday morning and lasts well into the evening. Argentineans gather in backyards, parks, country houses or anywhere they can host an open fire pit. It is the most important event in the weekend and no weekend is truly complete without it.”

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“In Argentina the best food isn’t in a restaurant but at home with family and friends. The asado is an art and Argentineans know how to do it well,” writes Ayngelina Brogan.

What is an Asado

At its most basic an asado is a barbecue cooked over an open fire grill, called a parrilla. Authentically you need a brick parrilla or a grate over a wood fire. It’s not tough to build.

If you have the space to build a parilla designate someone to be the asador as one person is responsible for grilling the meat and this is a real commitment. The asado begins early in the day because the meat isn’t cooked over direct flame, but over hot embers.

What to Cook at an Argentinean Asado

Building a great fire to cook meat takes time. But that doesn’t mean you stand around and wait all day for the food. In fact there are several courses of things to eat before you actually eat:

Picadas are snacks that begin the day, a simple meat and cheese board that may also include pickles or bread.

Once the fire gets going it’s time for some food that can be quickly grilled while working on bigger pieces of meat:

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Provoleta: An argentine provolone cheese drizzled with oil and herbs and lightly grilled.
Mollejas: sweetbreads (thymus gland) tossed with a bit of lemon, chinchulin (small intestine)
Choripan: pork sausage on a bun
Morcilla: black pudding sausage
Empanadas: with a number of fillings


Parillada Mixta – the Star of the Show

This is a mixed grill, the meat isn’t marinated or prepared beforehand other than seasoned before it goes on the grill. At an Argentinean asado there are many cuts of meat:

Bife ancho: rib-eye steak
Bife de chorizo: without a bone this sirloin steak is popular at an asado
Bife de Costilla: T-bone
Bola de Lomo: sirloin tip
Colita de Cuadril: tri-tip
Cuadril: rump roast
Entraña: skirt steak
Lomo: tenderloin
Pecho: brisket
Tira de asado: short ribs cut in the English style are wildly popular in Argentina and no asado is complete without them.
Vacio: flank steak

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Side Dishes at an Argentinean Asado

Sides are simple with baguettes and buns chimichurri (check out our 60 second chimichurri recipe with video) and the simplest green salad of lettuce and tomato tossed with oil and salt.

Sliced beef barbecue steak with chimichurri sauce top view rustic metal background
Sliced beef barbecue steak with chimichurri sauce top view rustic metal background

What about Vegetarians?

Argentines are known for their amazing beef not their amazing vegetable dishes. You can find grilled tomatoes, onions, and eggplant. Smashed potatoes are a great accompaniment and Argentines love cutting a red pepper in half and cooking an egg in it.

What to Drink at an Argentinean Asado

There are three drinks you’ll always find at an asado:

  • water
  • fernet and coke
  • red wine

Steak, red wine and the passion of Argentines, you can’t beat an asado.

Is there anything we missed that belongs in an argentinean asado please let us know in the comments below.

This article originally appeared on the Matador Network, with editing by the Q

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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