This glorious weather has got us feeling as though we’re back home in South America, and so we just had to share our love of asados with you, Fazendeiros! Our Sales & Marketing Director, Tomás got to work on making an asado, sharing the different ways of doing them and his favourite meats to indulge in.
What is an asado?
‘An asado is essentially a typical Argentinian barbecue. Asado’s are everything to us Argentines. It’s a time to get together with family and friends to catch up, socialise and spend some quality time together. It’s part of our culture to get involved from a young age, helping the adults prepare the fire and the dishes, so it’s something you grow up with.’
Different ways of doing an Asado
‘There are many ways of doing an asado, from how you build it to how you cook the meats. A traditional Patagonian way is ‘a leña’ (wood) or ‘fuego lento a la cruz’. The large pieces of meat are pierced on stakes of wood and planted into the ground around the fire, which is usually made from wood or charcoal. This way, the meats aren’t actually cooked directly on the fire, but slowly cooked from the heat of the fire for up to six hours.
Today we’re making the asado ‘Canasta Uruguaya’ style, except with charcoal instead of wood. Another popular way is ‘parilla de piso’ which quite literally means ‘floor grill’, which is what we’re using today as well.
The perfect food and drink for an asado
‘First things first, I love to get the coraçaão de frango (chicken hearts) on the grill to have something to nibble on whilst we were waiting for the prime cuts to cook. It’s a good way to get the crowd going!
We’ll start with other smaller meats too, like the Argentinian sausages then move on to the big joints of meat like the Picanha (cap of rump) and other cuts of beef and lamb.’
‘Personally, my favourite meats for an asado are Picanha and skirt steak. The fat from the Picanha soaks into the meat when it’s slowly cooking, giving it the most amazing flavours! The skirt steak (Entraña in Argentina) is perfect when thinly sliced and quite literally melts in your mouth. I always recommend to cook the red meats rare to medium to get maximise the flavours and characteristics of the meats.’
Despite our carnivourous nature, us South Americans love nothing better to accompany an asado than some fresh vegetables and salads.
‘A personal favourite dish of mine is grilled red peppers with egg inside. Simply cut the peppers in half and thrill them for a while, before cracking an egg into the well of the pepper and letting it slowly cook by the heat of the fire. Put the red pepper and egg on top of your skirt steak when cooked – gorgeous!
Now, no asado would be complete without my second favourite indulgence – wine! Today we’re drinking Catena Malbec Vista Flores Appellation from Mendoza, made from 100% Malbec grapes. The flavour profiles of the wine match perfectly with the Picanha, with notes of tobacco, chocolate and red fruits. Incredible!’
How does an asado differ from a British barbecue?
Here in the UK, people tend to cook quite a few smaller meats, like burgers, sausages and steaks etc. At home, we cook the whole joints of meat! No one ever leaves an asado hungry – guaranteed!
Do you have any questions for Tomas about asados, Fazendeiros? Or maybe you’d like to share with us your best tips for a great asado? Share these in the comments below, we’d love to hear more!