Asado is a term used both for a range of barbecue techniques and the social event of having or attending a barbecue in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, southern Brazil, and Uruguay. It is a traditional dish and also the standard word for barbecue. An asado usually consists of beef alongside various other meats which are cooked on a grill called a parrilla, or on an open fire.
An asado also consists of embutidos, served as appetizers while the meat is cooking. Generally the embutidos and meats are accompanied by red wine, baguettes, chimichurri sauce and salads.
In many asados, chorizos, morcillas (black pudding), chinchulines (cow chitterlings), mollejas (sweetbread), and other organs would be served first while the cuts that require longer preparations are still on the grill. They are usually served with a baguette as appetizers. The famous Argentinian empanadas also make their appearance at this time.
After the appetizers, the meat or meats are served, usually with a simple mixed salad of lettuce tomatoes and onions and a loaf of bread.
Although not Argentinian by birth, I have enjoyed many an asado both in the States and abroad. It is by far one of the easiest ways of entertaining for both the host and hostess and lots of fun for the guests. Everything is done on the grill and the kitchen mess is minimal. It is also perfect for a large party where some of the guests might not eat meat. Just throw some chicken on the grill next to the meat and you are covered!
You really can grill any type of meat cut, from steaks to ribs. I prefer skirt steak which is juicy and has lots of flavor; but Ribeyes and London Broil also taste great with the chimichurri sauce.
I am posting a menu for a Stateside asado for those of you who, like me, live in a place where some of these things are non existent or hard to come by. The Argentinian meat cuts are different from ours but one that is close is the skirt. Argentinian chorizos are great but if you can't find them use Spanish which are available now everywhere. No empanadas where you live? No problem, there is a recipe at the end of this post; or skip and grill some pizzettes or vegetables. The only thing that is a must is a grill and plenty of wine!
A Simple Asado
Meat or Chicken Empanadas
Grilled Skirt Steak With Chimichurri Sauce
Big tossed salad (or Caesar salad)
Grilled corn or vegetables are optional, though definitely not part of an asado
Lots of French baguettes, Chimichurri Sauce and hearty red wine, preferably an Argentinian Malbec. Luigi Bosca and its less expensive second wine, La Linda, are favorites.
Argentinians are not big on dessert, except when it comes to dulce de leche. I leave that course up to you.
Some recipes after the break