[Guest post by Nathan Mullin’s – recent arrival to Buenos Aires]
I have come to participate in an “asado”, on a few occasions while in Argentina. From what I can tell, the best translation for this word would be “barbecue”. But it’s not a barbecue. Like a barbecue, an asado is much more than just a way to cook meat. It combines delicious, easy to prepare food with the company of friends and family.
Now, that’s what you would likely read on a travel blog about Argentine customs. After living here for a bit, though, I feel as though I have a slightly different perspective. From what I’ve seen, the purpose of an asado ranges, from a way to fill up before going clubbing, to a mid-work meal, there is no wrong way to do an asado. Although I’ve heard that on The Buenos Aires Podcast that there are Laws of Asado…
One of my first experiences with asado occurred just the other night. I was with a group of friends at a local apartment complex. Thirty to forty people joined us as we all drank an assortment of alcohol in preparation to go out clubbing. All the while a few local guys were preparing massive steaks over a charcoal grill. Once the steaks were finished, they were cut into little cubes so everyone could try them. The meat was delicious, but frankly the pounds of salt that was marinated in ruined it. I choked down a few pieces, and chalked it up to experience.
I’ve quickly found that not all asados are created equal. It would be silly to expect the same quality from a guy cooking from his apartment’s shared grill as a chef at a five-star restaurant. Honestly, though, the meat is so tender and delicious here that it is difficult to screw up. In fact, walking into work today I noticed an asado occurring on the street. Some construction guys had thrown charcoal into a dirty wheelbarrow, and added some fencing over it to act as a grill. Even with such a terrible way to cook food, it smelled and looked delicious.
Though the asado may take some time to grow on me, I thoroughly enjoy the company. An asado seems more like an excuse to get together, rather than just a way to feed people when they are together. In time, and with better preparation, the asado may take barbecue’s spot in my heart, or rather, stomach.