Tips for Attending an Argentinian Asado

Wrote by: Kelly Dunning

My partner and I spent a couple of months traveling around Argentina and during that time I think we ate more barbecued meat than we have ever eaten in our lives. This beautiful South American country is known for its high quality steak, beef, seafood and sausages and grilling is held in high regard as an art form. Argentinians are warm and friendly and during your time there you will likely be invited to a traditional “Asado” or barbecue.

I have attended many of these delicious meat feasts and learned a lot about Argentinian food and culture. Here are some of the tips I learned from my experience:

1- An asado will not be a quick meal. Expect to be eating slowly over several hours and to carry on drinking wine until late in the evening. For example, tira de asado (cow’s ribs) can take two hours to cook properly over the barbecue coals.Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.22.20 PM

2- Also, Argentinians don’t often place a priority on punctuality. Times are flexible and it is not considered rude to be 30-45 minutes late for a dinner invitation. Don’t expect others to be punctual or it will drive you insane. Also, plans are made very spontaneously at the last minute, so be flexible and go with the flow.Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.25.29 PM

3- As the steaks, chorizo sausages, chicken and other meats are cooked they will be cut into small pieces and passed around to share. There will also be accompaniments such as rice, salad and potatoes.Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.29.59 PM

4- Your Argentinian host is unlikely to let you get near the barbecue as a visitor. It is considered the host’s responsibility to prepare the meal from start to finish and they will take pride in their culinary art.Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.31.30 PM

5- The meat is usually seasoned before it is grilled, often with salt and herbs or chimichurri which is a sauce made from garlic, tomato, herbs and olive oil.Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.33.59 PM

6- There is usually no need to season your meat after it is grilled, the meat is so good that it needs no condiments at all.

7- At the end of the barbecue everyone will give a round of applause for the host and their barbecue skills to thank them for providing such a delicious meal.

Keep these tips in mind and enjoy the mouth-watering deliciousness of a traditional Argentinian asado on your travels in South America.