My Argentinean father-in-law is 84 years old. He still goes to work as a watchmaker every day; taking the bus to the train station, the train into the city and finally walking the last couple of blocks to the Shreeve building. He passes the lobby guard, a tall, chatty Asian guy and takes the old lift to the 9th floor. He walks with the gait of a younger man down the hallway to his office door, the one with his name painted on the frosted glass. Once inside, he takes his station behind his desk with his spare parts and lathes and all manner of tools he uses to repair watches. He even makes his own parts. Behind him on the wall is an old colorized picture of Carlos Gardel, a famous Argentine Tango singer from the Abasto district of Buenos Aires who tragically died in 1935 in a plane crash. He loves Carlos Gardel, old memories of Buenos Aires, Johnny Walker scotch and repairing old watches. But most of all he loves asado. Asado is the proper term used when referring to an Argentinean barbecue. One can have an asado with a bunch of friends and family or one can eat asado.
When he moved to the United States he bought a modest townhouse and immediately put a small gas grill in the small backyard for his asado. I recall being invited to my first asado while I was then dating my now wife. This asado was a very serious affair, complete with several types of meat, sausages and sweetbreads. These were all served with chimichurri, a parsley, garlic and olive oil sauce with a bite of vinegar and crushed red pepper. I was immediately hooked on the experience as much as the wonderful flavors and textures of the barbecue. He half jokingly told me at that time; “This is my quincho”. Back in his home of Argentina, it’s very common to build a permanent area for an asado. This is a covered area with a built in grill for cooking asado and a large table for serving your asado to all of your friends and family. And this is what’s called a quincho. Someday, I thought, when Mirta and I get married and move into our first new house together, I want to build a quincho in the backyard and invite him for an asado.
Fast forward from that first asado 10 years or so. I married his beautiful daughter and asado has always been a bond between her father and I. In December 2011 (after 3 years of searching) we finally found the perfect house. I secured a landscape architect and began the plans for building my very own quincho.
This blog details my project step by step.