Of all the foodie experiences I was salivating over when prepping for Argentina, asado was at the top of the list.
In America, people debate over whether Kansas City, Texas or Carolina BBQ is best. In Argentina – they know their barbecue is the best in the world (sorry US Their pride is palpable with most homes having their own Asado setup in the back of the house and the cooking of Asado being a celebration of family & friends coming together for hours of socializing.
The ultimate breaking bread.
We had some Asado at a roadside restaurant – Choripaso – on our way from Buenos Aires to Santa Rosa. But true Asado is had in the homes of Argentines – and I was giddy when my hosts in Trenque Lauquen treated me to a night I won’t forget.
Luis Armando and his wife Silvina Tressilo were the epitome of warmth and hospitality and showed me every step of the process.
Photos are pretty self explanatory – but the essence of what I learned:
- Tranquilo, Tranquilo, Tranquilo – you must relax, be patient and chill out to make Asado. It’s a lesson Luis repeated often as I frantically danced around the grill. Great meals take time (in this case – about two hours)
- Meat doesn’t need much more than steady heat and a dose of salt to showcase its true flavors. I have yet to see frozen meat in any of the homes here and I believe the quality, freshness and origin of the beef is key to the great asados we’ve had. (I’m kicking myself for not getting a photo of the beef truck I saw parked in front of a carneceria with sides of cows hanging from hooks)
- Variety is the spice of life. Like many meals – there is a pre-meal of antipasti (cheese and chorizo and morcilla and bread) and various cuts of meat from the grill – sausage, ribs, loin, along with various salads and red wine of course. I need to find a good link to an article a out the various cuts of meat featured in Asado.
- You’ve got to have good wood. Seriously. You need dry, dense wood to create the crucial coals needed for the slow cooking of the Asado.
- Pace yourself. Deciding to enjoy Asado is a time commitment. And with our often-obnoxious pace of life in the US, embracing time commitments with friends and family is something we could do a bit more of.
I asked my friend Luis for his thoughts on why Asado is so important in Argentina. In summary, he shared:
‘It is traditional because it became from the gauchos who ate it while they were traveling long distances. To have Asado is one of Argentina’s traditions and the meat is so fantastic because of the open pastures the cows feed on. Asado is more than meat though, because you drink mate while preparing it and it is a time to get together with friends and family. ‘