It simply cannot be called a bbq because it is so much more than this.
Most houses in Argentina will have some form parrilla (grill) which is used for the asado. It all starts with the hunter gatherer instinct, in Argentina this is very much the man’s domain, you have to be pretty strong to carry the weight of the meat. There is no need to check the weather it will be hot and sunny with the most vivid of blue skys. The place to go is the butchers , carnicería, he will have everything you will need for this ritual; madurita, the small wood to start the fire the carbón, charcoal which consists of burnt logs, los vegetales, which consist of a few tomatoes and lettuce, pan, small dryish bread rolls and then the carne, meat. You need 1/2 kg of meat per person, but this is in the form of a whole cut; lomo or tenderloin seemed to be by far the best, it is close to the internal organs so develops a specific flavour. It is also less fatty than other cuts so a healthy option amongst cuts. It might also be recommended to have some thinner cuts for example flank steak or matambre, for guests to nibble on whilst they are waiting for the main event. Salt the meat first, this draws out the juices and then, once the salt dissolves, sinks back into the meat. However the meat should only be salted if the membranes on the cut are intact, if
not then the meat is salted after sealing. Next light the coals, unlike a bbq the heat of the asado is mananged not by moving the food height but by moving the coals. Because of this the charcoals are burnt on a seperate grate next to the parrilla, as the hot coals fall through the grate they are moved under the parrilla. Heat can be determined by holding your hand over the coals at the level of the meat; 1-2 seconds is perfect for searing the meat, 3-4 for the thin meat and 5-6 for the main cuts. As the parrilla is large different temperatues can be maintained. When ready the whole cut is put onto the parrilla, for the lomo it is seared for 5 minutes each side, next the temperature is reduced and the joint is cooked for 8 minutes on each side depending on how rare you want it, 8 minutes is pretty bloody.
While waiting the best thing to do is sit back and enjoy a glass of Rutini cabenet malbec 2012 and enjoy the evening temperaure as it drops down from the heat of the day.
Once cooked, the joint, with its beautifully toasted crust, is sliced on a platter for guests to select the piece that is cooked the way they like it. This lomo truely melts in the mouth and if you thought the Rutini tasted good on its own it now sings with the taste of the steak.
Our asado started aroung 10:00 and finished around 2:30am. Off course dinner like this needs a postre, dessert, and what could be better than helado, delivered to your home. Flavours included dulce de leche con granizado, banana split and frutas roja to name a few.
Now all that’s left to do is chat till you feel you are able to walk again. Delicious!