In the Barbeque Area we have a very comfortable fully equipped studio apartment to accomodate an additional couple. Amenities include a queen bed, satellite TV, Fridge, oven, microwave, toaster, coffee machine. The round table outside has a gas fire pit in the middle, very romantic on a cool night. Barbeque on your own : Step by Step: Click here. Argentine Asado titbits: Click here.
Stack up the logs as shown here and then place the lit fire starter in the middle in an upright position.
Complete the stack as here. Now go for a rest, and have a glass of Malbec while waiting for the brickets to form.
Once you have enough brickets, move the still-burning logs to the side and away of the barbequing area. Keep the logs stacked up as they burn, which will provide you with extra brickets you will need for later on. Now place the brickets evenly under the grill. Before you place the meat make sure you wipe clean the grill with a cloth, to remove excess fat on the grill.
Salt the meat with coarse salt on both sides and place on the grill for its long journey till cooked. Now its time to fill up your glass of wine again. Use the brickets on the side as needed. Make sure you have enough logs to last you the whole cooking time. No harm now to place a fresh log on top of the burning logs.
The Argentines take their meat seriously. They especially love cow flesh and such worship manifests itself in the weekend ritual of asado - an outdoor carniverous fest of sizzling mixed grills and fat spitting steaks. The word literally means roast and many asado fanatics get offended if you translate it to simply barbecue. You'll find no hotdogs or beef burgers here. Only the finest meat cuts are used and natural wood is burned instead of charcoal.
is always a man. He runs his parrilla - a grill the size of a bed frame, like it's his kingdom, honing the scorch and burn technique he has perfected over the years. Woe to anyone who contradicts his methods. The asador is like a suburban version ot the gaucho. The modern argentine takes off his tie and steps out of his urban bubble, arms himself with spatula and food tongs and imagines he's on the pampas, riding the plains and herding cattle.
To understand the cultural phenomenon that is asado, you must undestand the cult of the cow. Remember, it wasn't the Conquistadores that conquered Argentina. It was the humble cow. When the half starved and spear tormented Spaniards eventually gave up and fled the River Plate in 1541, they left behind some abandoned heifers and some lucky bulls. Left to their own devices on the huge and fertile pampas and free of any natural predators, this collection of bovines must have thought they had died and went to cow heaven. They copulated and multiplied and grew into a mammoth herd of 50 million, making Argentina a republic of cows.
Of course the humans eventually returned and exploited this development. Such a prodigious amount of a valuable resource gave the Europeans an economic foothold and ability to stay. Cow Utopia became Cow Hell. Millions were slaughtered and skinned and left to rot in the sun as they were wanted for their leather only. Buenos Aires became famous for its filth and smell. In the south side of the city, near what is now known as San Telmo, was El Saladero. This was a huge open air slaughterhouse, four square miles in size. Animals were killed gaucho style by slitting their throats. The carcasses were left where they fell for dogs and carrion to fight over. The ground was layered with a crust of blood and dust half a foot thick. Mounds of rotting offal, flesh and bone lay everywhere in a lake of coagulated blood.
Luckily someone eventually invented refrigeration. The meat trade became the foundation of Argentinian economy and the rest is history. What is important to remember is that while all this was happening, out on the pampas a half indian nomad on a horse was evolving into what became known as the gaucho. This semi-lawless outsider possessed two things only - a horse and a knife. It was all he needed to wander the plains and live off cow meat. When Charles Darwin encountered the gaucho on his travels, he marvelled at how they could survive on such a mono diet of meat for breakfast, dinner and tea. He must have been further flabbergasted by theis ingenious method of cooking. A trench was dug and a whole cow(skin and all) was placed inside and covered with embers and hot rock in a ceremony that lasted 40 hours. It was the original big roast. This "dish" still exists today but with a more sensibly sized half a calf. It is known as Asado con Cuero - Asado with leather.
Asado evolved, using less ambitious methods. Pieces of meat were crucified on metal crosses and left to lean over giant burning pits. Then a large grill was placed over a bed oe embres. This became as the parilla and is now the preferred urban method. Note all the parillas of different shapes and sizes on roof tops, balconies, courtyards and terraces in any Argentina city. The asado became an institution. A weekly get together of family and friends where for once the man did the cooking. Nowadays, Argentina produces the best meat in the world, untainted by scandals such as Mad Cow Disease. Here it's taken for granted the meat is free-range, grass-fed and additive free. Dubious, modern industrial "flavoring" such as growth hormones and antibiotics are not added. And talking about BOVINES, here is a cool Clip.
Bife de Lomo (tenderloin) and Bife de chorizo (sirloin) are probably the most popular cuts of meat but there are many other delicious cuts just not available in Europe (there they are ground up and put in burgers. Matambre for example is a thin sheet of meat cut from the rib cage and sometimes grilled drenched in lemon. Other popular cuts are Asado de Tira (cross cut ribs), Costillas and Vacio (flank steak).Chorizo and Morcilla (sausage and blood sausage) are served for starters. The meat is eaten alone or dressed with sauces such as Chimichurri (olive oil, garlic, red wine, vinegar and different herbs). Argentines usually like their meat well done (bien hecho) so be sure to shout jugoso (juicy) if you like yours rare or "a punto" for medium.