Summer is here and the barbecue season is in full swing. But did you know that in Argentina, barbecuing is a real culinary tradition?
The Argentine asado is far from being just a simple barbecue, it is above all a culinary art and a national dish. A true institution in this country, which is one of the world's leading producers and consumers of meat, the asado brings together family and friends in large numbers and at the same time a large quantity of excellent quality meat.
To understand what an asado is, it is first necessary to visualise it!
There are different cooking techniques, depending on whether you are in the city or the countryside. Meat can be grilled horizontally on a parilla (a grill) or vertically, a la cruz ("on the cross"). In general, the fire is prepared on the side, allowing the embers to be pushed under the grill as and when needed, which means that the asador will have to keep a close eye on it and will hardly leave his parilla!
As for the meat, it is better to forget our traditional sausages and skewers, as they will seem quite ridiculous next to the countless and gigantic pieces of meat that the asador grills.
On the menu: tira de asado (beef ribs), vacío (Argentina's prime beef), matambre (a kind of meat roll stuffed with vegetables), chorizo (sausage), morcilla (black pudding), halved chicken with lemon, shoulder of lamb, lechón (suckling pig), and the list can go on and on as the meats are so varied.
The pieces of meat do not need any preparation, they are only salted and then possibly garnished.
But for your next barbecue, go Argentine: invite as many people as possible, bring out the tables, swap the traditional sausages for superb pieces of beef and quench your guests' thirst with Argentine wine... success and good humour guaranteed!