Thursday, February 2, 2012


Argentinian style BBQ, in this cooks opinon is one of the best meals in the world. It is a down to earth, simple way to cook meat. It is pure and unfettered relying on on three simple things: Meat, Salt and Fire. A wonderful combination and most likely one of the oldest if not the oldest forms of cooking meat.

All manner of meats are used lamb, pork chicken, game etc. but in Argentina beef is the king of meats. The cooking is simple but there are several different types of parilla (grill). Many in Argentina are large concrete or stone open face ovens with a metal rack for the meats typically with a hand crank that lowers and raises the grill to control the temperature on the food. Sometimes the meat is just put onto a metal cross that is staked into the ground near the fire like pictured above.

I built an open air type pictured here. Its made with two inch open bar grate and it is on top of some flag stone. the stones are there to hold and help radiate heat back to the grill.. Later as the stones cracked from the heat I added play sand on top. It can be done with out the sand.

To make authentic Argentinian Asado you do not need a special grill. You can use any grill but you have to use WOOD definitely not charcoal. Oak works really well.

To prepare the meat simply rub it with sea salt or kosher salt, do not use iodized salt. In fact take your iodized salt and throw it in the trash can. Only use kosher salt or sea salt for your cooking.

When using my grill I adjust the heat by reaching under the grill with a metal rake and then by either pushing and building up the pile of wood coals so they are closer, or I spreading them out so they are lower I can control the heat level to the meat. 

A common item you will see on the parilla is beef ribs, often cut short like they are here. Another item that I love (but is not for everyone) is morcillia. This is a sausage made with beef and or pork blood and rice. With a hint of chili peppers they are delicious.

Beef chuck roast works really well in the style of asado. The typical way of doing chickens is to "spachcock" them by cutting them up the breast and spreading them out.

To cook the chickens simply rub them with salt and place them on the grill skin facing down. Make sure you are getting a nice slow roasting action and adjust the height from the fire accordingly so the skin does not burn. Depending on the temperature outside and the wind you will be about 10 or 12 inches from the hot coals. Cook them on average about 45 min. Then turn them over cavity down and cook them for about another half hour. Turn them back over so the skin is down and cook them for another 20 min or so. The times will vary depending on the size of the chickens.

Beef chuck roast comes out simply great too. Slow roast that over the fire and use a meat thermometer to check it. You will want it to be about 140 degrees internal temperature. Any more and it will dry out.

When cooking cow intestines you want them to cook slowly. They will really drink up the wood flavor and become crispy. They are very "earthy" tasting.

Skin on pork shoulder is to die for. Cook to an internal temperature of about 160 degrees. When carefully watched and placed on the the grill the skin becomes crispy and very tasty like bacon.

Oh yeah, you can put some vegetables on the grill too. But, why bother?

Don't neglect any part of the cow. pre-boiled cows tongue comes out fantastic.

...and it is a real conversation piece.

Asado is definitely about the meat.

Even though is is all about the meat a great accompaniment is Argentinian potato salad. Please find the recipe below. Another delicious accompaniment is this carrot salad.

I dont have the recipe for that one that was made by our Argentinian friend Maria the last time our lovely friends Peter and Maria visited us. With a little luck she will chime in and post the recipe for this fantastic salad.

Whole lamp while popular all over the world is also another ubiquitous Argentinian favorite.

We made this at our friends Donna and Dave's house. It was great fun. Dave spent a lot of time in Argentina and became somewhat of an expert on Argentinian BBQ. I'm proud to say he approved of our preparation of Asado.

When Dave went to pick the lamb up it was alive, and it road back in the back of his truck..alive. He took it to the butcher and the next morning it was prepped for the grill.

Talk about fresh!!!

Venison loin comes off off the parilla perfect too. Cooked hot and fast and left rare it is juicy and tender. Unlike what most people are used to deer meat being.

The sauce with Asado is Chimichurri. It is a delicious blend of fresh herbs olive oil and citrus. Served here with morcillia.

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. Things have been kind of crazy at work. But with spring just around the corner I have visions of Asado in my head. I want to get out there and build a fire. Its fresh in my head today because the ground hog saw his shadow. Oh, well six more weeks.

Ill promise to try to stay on top of the posting if you promise to give Argentinian BBQ a try. Its easy fun and oh so delicious!

Remember, I have my eye on you.


  1. Hi Bill,

    Love the blog and all the pictures. Thanks for the great info!


  2. Oh your welcome, and thanks for reading. Im gonna post a Trinidadian specialty this weekend.