If you want to throw a real Argentine belly busting asado, this section contains recipes I’ve collected, modified and/or created. One thing is certain, they’ve all been vetted by the real thing – My in-laws. If it doesn’t pass them, it doesn’t make it here. Below is an overview of the sort of things that you’ll find in a classic asado. The recipes are included on their individual pages. I’ve also included a primer on the Argentine grill and how to manage the fire – a bit different than what you might be used to.
Sauces are generally served alongside the star of the Asado – The Meat. There aren’t a lot of them but they do vary from place to place. The basics are here. Chimichurri will be your “go to” sauce for just about everything, with Salsa Criolla showing up a close second.
Chimichurri comes in both the red and green variety, while Salsa Criolla is a “salsa cruda” similar to what we have here in the states. One thing to note – in general, Portenos (folks from Buenos Aires) don’t like spicy, picante hot or whatever you label it. So you won’t find any blistering sauces on the menu. I’ve added my own touches for my palate – so if you see peppers or hot stuff, it came from me.
When an Argentine throws an Asado, everybody gathers around the grill in the Quincho and takes hot tidbits as they are done. It’s the Asadors job to make sure that each morsel is timed so that it’s cooked when he wants it to be served. The meats in a classic asado consist primarily of beef but can also include Chivito (spring goat), Cordero (lamb), and Achurras – or variety meats. Some folks in the states may turn up their nose at the idea of intestines, blood sausage, sweetbreads, kidney and even udders – but these tender melt-in-your mouth textures are not to be missed.
The cuts of beef you’ll likely see here are tirra de asado (short ribs), entrana (a massive cut similar to a tri tip), Aracherra (skirt steak) and Bife de Chorizo (rib eye steaks). Of course, they don’t pick just one cut, but several of each.
These are usually seasoned simply with salt, pepper and oregano before putting them on the grill. See the specific recipes I’ve included for different types and how to grill them.
For your authentic Asado, make sure you have plenty of Malbec wine and Quilmes beer on hand. Aside from that the world is your oyster – soft drinks and fruit juices for the kids. Keep it simple here. This is the rule for most of your items at the Asado. You want to be able to enjoy it as much as your guests.
I would be remiss without a recipe for lighting a proper fire over which to cook your asado. The Argentinians do this a bit differently than you might expect. The wood (usually a type of oak from what I could gather) is stacked on a grate – like a fireplace grate (see below) and it’s burned here. The way I light these over in the Quincho project is with a gas starter to speed things up a bit. The masters in Argentina tell me that you should be able to light your fire with a single match. Yeah, right. Anyhow, as the coals fall through the grate, they are scooped up with a flat shovel and arranged under the BBQ grill – or Parilla. You can rearrange them however it makes sense once they are there. This is a constant process, and a little difficult to explain for someone like me who doesn’t write as well as he grills. Perhaps the pictures will explain it better.