Argentine Style Asado
In Argentina, beef is king. Argentina has such a rich history of cattle ranching and producing extremely high quality beef. The parrilla style grill or open fire cooking is the perfect way to cook meat slowly. The seasoning is minimal, just salt in most cases with the coals or wood providing much of the added flavor. Traditionally the focal ingredient is always beef with various other goodies such as; chorizo, blood sausage, assorted other offal and sweetbreads on the side. I tend to go in favor of different cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken to pair with the steak. The interaction of fire, smoke and salty crust on the grilled meat is something that no other cooking technique even comes close to doing. It is simplicity at its best so buy quality and take your time cooking the meat.
For starters a high quality dry aged steak is a must. Skip the NY Strip and tasteless filet and go straight for the thick cut bone-in ribeye. The mix of marbled fat to tasty rich meat makes this my favorite beef cut and the perfect steak for the grill. Another must is chorizo for two reasons; it’s delicious when grilled and the flavor added to the cutting board juices brings it to a whole new level. Add a couple of pork chops, random cuts of meats like lamb chops or ribs and you got yourself a party. Everything works as long as a vegetable is not in sight other than the finishing chimichurri sauce.
This simple to make sauce is intense in flavor and the perfect foil for fatty grilled meat. The balance of acid, salt, herb, spice and olive oil enhance everything. Here is my variation of the sauce.
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 scallion (diced)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
Allow all the meat to become room temperature by taking it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking. Rub lightly with canola oil then season liberally with salt and pepper. You want the seasoning to set up roughly 10 minutes prior to cooking the meat start salting. Everything will cook at different rates so place the meat on the grill according to everything finishing at the same time.
Resting the meat is a must. Place everything on a cutting board and cover with foil. The juices need to redistribute to the meat and you want the juices from the meat and the chimichurri as a finishing sauce. Slice the meat and plate.
Mix the juices on the cutting board together with your knife then spoon over the top of the plated meat. Sauce Chimichurri over the top.
Chorizo is Key
I think the key to the entire dish comes from the intense flavor chorizo adds. The pimenton just works beautifully with the rest of the meats and the chimichurri. Buy a good quality Spanish chorizo, D’Artagnan and Despana make two extremely delicious ones.
THE ARGENTINE WAY WITH BEEF by Saveur is an amazing article on this style of cooking and the love Argentines share of beef.
Check out THE CAPITAL OF BEEF for another article on affection Argentines have on beef and their culture of asado.
RIB-EYE STEAKS WITH CHIMICHURRI by Saveur is a great variation of this dish that I have made and enjoyed in the past.