Jun 8, 7 years ago

The Traditional Argentine Asado: A Love Affair with Beef

The Traditional Argentine Asado: A Love Affair with Beef

Argentina is a country known for many things including soccer, the Tango, and Evita. In the culinary world, phenomenal beef is their main contribution. With a heavy Italian influence and a thriving wine industry in Mendoza, Argentina is a country that will please all lovers of bread, cheese, wine, and meat.

A country blessed with bountiful lands, cattle ranching dates back to 16th century Spanish conquistadors. The terrain was well suited to ranching and in no time, the culture and traditions of ranching and cowboys, or gauchos, was woven into the fabric of Argentina. As the third largest exporter of beef to the world, many consider the grass-fed cattle roaming the plains of Patagonia to be of superior taste and quality.

With an abundance of excellent beef, it’s no surprise that Argentines have the highest beef consumption in the world and the asado is the center of all social gatherings. Comparing the asado to a typical barbeque isn´t fair and any Argentine would cry foul to this claim. Things like propane gas or even charcoal are sacrilegious to the authentic asado, which uses only a wood burning fire. The asado isn´t Spanish for barbecue or grill, it´s more of an event, an art form, and a ritual steeped in generations of family tradition. Grilling is typically a man’s territory and veteran asadores could debate the benefits of their techniques for hours.

The asado is all about patience and enjoying your company. A fire is started and wood is burned down to coals, which are then used to slow-cook the meat, infusing a smoky flavor. Fancy recipes are not common, just a sprinkle of salt is needed, as the quality of the meat is the showcase. Beef ribs, steak, chorizo, and blood sausage are typical and are served with chimichurri sauce, a mixture of olive oil, garlic, parsley, oregano, and vinegar.

For any visitor, seeking out a genuine asado while in Argentina is a must for the food as well as the experience.

Lead Photo: CC Image courtesy of Hamner_Fotos on Flickr


Ryan is a writer, photographer, and teacher living and volunteering throughout Latin America.

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