2015-07-02

10 Things a Foreigner Should Know before attending an Asado

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An Argentinian asado is not just your bog-standard barbecue. It is so much more, and if you tried to compare it to one your Argentinian friends may serve the chinchulin up to you first. Here´s a quick how-to…

1. Do NOT bring your own meat

Do NOT bring your own meat

The Argentinians take pride in their asado, and if it´s at their house it is their responsibility not yours. Bring some beer, or some “cosas para picar”, and then just sit back and chat away.

2. And do NOT try and help with the grill

And do NOT try and help with the grill

There is the asador and his glamorous assistant, and that´s all.

3. DO talk people, current affairs and politics

DO talk people, current affairs and politics

The reason why asado meat is so tasty is because it is cooked very very slowly over the course of two hours and it won´t be on the grill before the guests arrive. This means that there is plenty of time to chat in an engaged and interested way about all topics under the sun. Don´t be afraid to bring up Cristina or the recent economic crisis, or any other contentious issue (except perhaps the Falklands).

4. Be prepared to drink alcohol

Be prepared to drink alcohol

If the asado is a lunchtime one, you may be offered maté upon arrival but before long they will be offering you either beer or wine, or if you´re very lucky fernet. Just drink, it´s all part of the experience.

5. Applaud the chef

Applaud the chef

Once the meat is ready to eat, the asador will bring it over to the table, and everyone will give him a well-deserved applause for the perfect meat he´s delivering. Don´t pick up your fork before the applause is over!

6. Keep some of your plate empty

 

Keep some of your plate empty

It´s likely that the meat won´t all come off the grill at once so there´s no need to pile up at the beginning. Moreover, there will be plenty of meat to go around; the Argentinians don´t want to risk their guests going hungry.

7. TRY EVERYTHING

TRY EVERYTHING

This is perhaps the most overwhelming part of the asado, and aside from the low temperature of the grill, the greatest difference to a European BBQ. But in the land of cows and beef they waste as little of the actual cow as possible. On the grill there will be everything from the leg of the cow, to its intenstines (chinchulin), to its brain. Go with it, you never know till you try it.

8. Don´t ask for condiments

Don´t ask for condiments

Your host would have cooked the meat so perfectly that there is no need for ketchup or mustard. It shouldn´t need anything but a bit of salt, but if you´re feeling bold you may ask for a bit of chimichurri.

9. Sip on Fernet

Sip on Fernet

After the meal, it´s time to let your stomach settle but the asado isn´t over just yet. If your hosts haven´t done so already, now will be the time to offer you the renowned medicine-like liquor they usually drink with coca cola. It´s certainly an acquired taste, but it does help settle the stomach.

 

10. Kiss everyone´s right cheek before leaving

Kiss everyone´s right cheek before leaving

Your asado experience is effectively your initiation into the Argentine culture. If you´ve enjoyed this, you´ve made it and so it´s time to say goodbye the Argentine way. Kiss each right cheek in the room, not forgetting to say a big thank you to your hosts as you do. 

And FELICITACIONES! Hope you enjoyed your asado!

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