Marry an Argentinean and you will likely be indoctrinated by her father in all things Argentina. This includes but is not limited to, Carlos Gardel, Juan and Evita Peron, the Buenos Aires Opera House, Malbec and of course the noblest of these, Asado. This is the term for proper Argentine barbecue.
Asado is a general term that pretty much covers all manner of barbecued meats. These are further subdivided into Achurras (variety meats like sweetbreads and kidneys, and sausages) and everything else (also called asado). Everything else usually means one or more of arachera (skirt steak), tirra de asado (flanken style ribs) Entrana (a monster cut of tri-tip) or Chivito (baby goat). Achurras and the smaller cuts are cooked over a wood fire on a large angled grill called a parrilla. The rest can be cooked on a parrilla, but more often than not are cooked on large crosses stuck into the ground and angled over an open wood fire. This is dramatic method of cooking this stuff. A great deal of ceremony comes along with it. The Asador is the boss, and decides when to change the angle and when to rotate the cross. Everyone else just eats achurras as they come off the grill and drinks Quilmes beer. The requisite sauce for everything is either chimichurri (red or green) or salsa criolla. From my first taste of this event I was hooked and only wanted more.
Eventually in the life of everyone who marries somebody from another country comes the pilgrimage. The journey to your spouses country to meet and get chummy with the relatives. In my case this was a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but I had an open mind and a willing stomach. We arrived to much fanfare and were shuttled about by different cousins and aunts and uncles to lots of sights and restaurants. I couldn’t have been happier – but “The day of the Asado” is what sent me over the top. The family had prepared a real Argentine asado for us in the quincho of Tia Rosa. This was an enclosed building in the backyard with a single large room containing a built in brick wood burning barbecue, a countertop and a long table. I spent most if my time marveling at this setup, and vowed to somehow build one of my own.
As soon as I got home I began thinking of how I could get this project off the ground. I found a company that fabricated Argentine grills and bought one. It was delivered to my house shortly after that, and now sits in my garage awaiting its final resting place in the brick barbecue, next to a pizza oven I decided to include. The rest of this blog is dedicated to my project – construction of an Argentinean style Quincho that would rival Tia Rosa’s and make me the envy of any self respecting Argentine. Follow along with me while I post pictures of my progress – I bet you can smell the asado now…