Asado is a South American social practise and
technique for cooking cuts of meat, usually consisting of beef
alongside various other meats, which are cooked on a grill
(parrilla) or open fire.
Left: A typical
Argentinean asado consisting of: Beef, Pork, Ribs, Pork Ribs,
Chitterlings, Sweetbread, Sausage, Blood Sausage, Chicken.
Asado is the traditional dish of Argentina,
Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and southern Brazil.
An asado typically has a sequence of meats presented by the
parillero (the cooker). First are the
morcillas (black pudding),
chinchulines (chitterlings), mollejas
(sweetbread) and other organs, often accompanied by provoleta, a
grilled cheese dish. Sometimes these are served on a coal-heated
brasero. Then costillas or asado de tira (ribs) are served. Next
comes vacío (flank steak), matambre and possibly chicken and
An asado also includes bread, a simple
mixed salad of, for instance, lettuce, tomato and onions, or it
could be accompanied with verdurajo (grilled vegetables), a mixture
made of potatoes, corn, onion and eggplant cooked on the parrilla
and seasoned with olive oil and salt. Beer, wine, soda and other
beverages are common. Dessert is usually fresh fruit.
An asado can be made al asador or a la parrilla.
In the first case a fire is made on the ground or in a fire pit and
surrounded by metal crosses (asadores) that hold the entire carcass of
an animal splayed open to receive the heat from the fire.
Left: An asado on an
In the second case, a fire is made and after the
coals have formed, a grill (parrilla) is placed over with the meat
to be cooked.
Another traditional form to mainly roast the meat, used in the
Argentine and Chilean Patagonias, is with the whole animal
(specially lamb and pork) in a wood stick nailed in the ground and
exposed to the heat of live coals, called asado al palo.
The meat for an asado is not marinated, the only preparation being
the application of salt before and/or during the cooking period.
Also, the heat and distance from the coals are controlled to provide
a slow cooking; it usually takes around 2 hours to cook an asado.
Further, grease from the meat is not encouraged to fall on the coals
and create smoke which would adversely flavour the meat, indeed in
some asados the area directly under the meat is kept clear of coals.
The asado is usually placed in a tray to be immediately served, but
it can also be placed on a brasero right on the table to keep the
meat warm. Chimichurri, a sauce of chopped parsley, dried oregano,
garlic, salt, pepper, onion, and paprika with olive oil. or salsa
criolla, a sauce of tomato and onion in vinegar, are common
accompaniments to an asado, where they are traditionally used on the
offal, but not the steaks.