If you have a weakness for barbecue, you’re in perfect hands in Argentina: it’s called “asado” and it’s a very popular tradition that goes way beyond common barbecues: you meet, eat, laugh, drink and spend many hours with friends or family. If you’re here in Argentina, do not miss it! And if you own the necessary equipment at your place or want to bring back real Argentine lifestyle in your country, you simply organize an asado yourself. There are many delicious options (also for vegetarians). Here is our little checklist with tips and suggestions for your perfect asado!
Sometimes everyone brings their food. Otherwise you make a list, on which this should not be missing:
– Oil, salt (coarse), wood / charcoal, possibly grill lighter fluids
– Meat: should be juicy and with can be with fat
– Vegetarian: peppers, eggs, zucchini, eggplant, soft cheese, pumpkin, corncob
– Side dishes: salad (carrots, green salad, tomatoes), chimichurri [parsley, dried thyme and oregano, bay leaves, garlic, ají molido (dried paprika flakes), onions, salt and black pepper, oil and vinegar], baguette with cheese and garlic
– Drinks: Preferrably Fernet with Cola (and ice cubes), the first sip usually goes to the “asador”, which invited to the asado.
2) The preparation (First Step):
For the asado, it is important to clean the grill before you start (so you do not have any of the fat flavours of the previous asado). Also, you should always grill over the embers and never over the fire. For that you need time – but do not worry, the Argentineans usually do have time and leisure! One trick to knowing when the temperature is good is when it’s hard to hold your hand over the embers for several seconds. But caution: never pour oil on meat etc. over the fire!
3) The preparation (Second Step)
– Meat: You remove coarse fat and tendons etc. and sprinkle everything with coarse salt and oil.
– Pepper: remove the bitter white parts, but don’t remove the green stem. Orient yourself along the naturally existing lines when cutting the peppers in halve. Now you mix the egg with some salt and pepper and fill it into the peppers.
– Eggplant and zucchini: You cut both in halve and hollow them out with a spoon. Without seeds, it is less bitter. Then you fill it with some salt, oil and soft cheese.
– Pumpkin: You cut it into large but manageable pieces and grill it with oil and salt over the embers. Alternatively, you can also cut it to pieces without its peel, cook with peeled picked carrots, then remove most of the water and puree – it becomes a delicious side dish.
And one last important tip for the perfect Asado: If you want your Argentine guests to be there at 10pm, it’s best to invite them in at 8pm … it’s very rare that someone appears on time ;-)