Asado – Meat feast

In all my experience of the parillas in Buenos Aires, I still have yet to go to one that beats a decent home cooked asado. No matter where you go in BA, (and this includes Cabrera, El Trapiche et al) I have never had a steak as good as the ones I have had at any self respecting Argentine’s. Although I still enjoy the experience of going to these restaurants I only get really excited when I am on my way to a home cooked asado. The meat is cooked slower, always has more flavour and is never over done. What is even more amazing is the meat is invariably bought from the local supermarket or chino, whereas the meat at these well known restaurants is specifically sourced.
It still astounds me the quality of meat you can find in your local supermarket. Last Saturday, for example, I needed to buy enough meat to feed 14 people. Now, in England, this would mean having to raise a small fortune but here in Argentina I walked out with 2 huge hunks of tenderloin and 12 sausages for the very price of 200 pesos (under 40 quid). AMAZING!

Half of the fun of having an asado out here is the equipment they use; the “barbecues” in Argentina really put our versions to shame. Back in England our pathetic excuse for a barbecue consisted of a small little grill with some coals underneath. Here parillas are huge grills built in to the wall that are so big you can cook a whole cow on them if you so wish. One of their many advantages is the ability to change the height (and therefore the heat) for whatever you are cooking. This means you can cook your steak a variety of ways; you can sear your steak on a high heat and then cook the rest slowly, or you can do what we do (which requires a little more patience) and slow cook it for about an hour. Obviously the slower and longer you cook it the more tender it is and when this meat was ready to eat you could cut it with a spoon.

We had two cuts of tenderloin that we decided to do two ways; the first piece we used olive oil, garlic, and beer and continually basted it in it’s own juices (parillas also have little gutters that allow you to recollect any juices that come off it), the second we used the same mixture but added coke to it, this will give your meat a sweeter flavour. I know it sounds disgusting but it really gave the meat a unique flavour, although I am more of a traditionalist and prefer using the beer which really keeps the meat really tender. We also doused the sausages in the mixture and they were the best I’ve had.

We served this up with a simple pasta salad and some bread and we were ready to go. I really can’t tell you how good the meat was, this was easily the best I have had anywhere and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. Better do another asado soon!


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