An asado can eventually be compared to what is known as a ‘BBQ’ … however, it is so much more. An asado is a tradition among Argentine people, see sequence of pictures below. The meat is cooked in its purest minimalistic form – just burning charcoal and meat. It is a social event with utmost importance that can last all day long!
The person that starts the asado is known as the asador and he or she starts by lighting the stack of wood, which sits on top of a heap of charcoal on the left hand side of the parrilla (a cast-iron grill which can be adjusted to different height levels, closer or farthest from the heat).
Once the grill is warm, scrub it down with some newspaper to clean the grease away. When the flames have calmed down, a pile of glowing charcoal on the left of your grill will be ready, which you can then spread across evenly on the grill floor.
Then the cuts of meat are placed over the cast-iron grill, starting with the biggest cuts which will take longer to cook. An important secret is to take out the meat from the fridge well in advance (till room temperature), and salt it before placing it on the hot grill. In Argentina, we calculate a maximum of 500g of meat per adult.
A very important tip is to cook the meat very -but very- slowly using low fire. A typical cooking time is around one to two hours. Do you want to know more details on how to make the best “asado”?