Meat, meat, and more meat! If you're ever invited to an asado in Argentina, arrive with an empty stomach and wear a pair of loose fitting pants.
The closest equivalent to an Argentina asado is an American barbecue. But, this event is so much more than a basic backyard festivity with cheap meats. As The Real Argentina blog writes, "Asado is cooking in its purest form – just fire, grill and meat – so it’s important that you get it right. Otherwise, you’ve got yourself a barbecue."
Switching out the hamburgers and hotdogs with higher quality cuts of beef, an asado is a flavorful culinary experience. While guests sit around the house and chat with one another, one or two people have the challenging task of managing the parrilla, or the grill. These people are known as the asadores and they handle everything from the seasoning to the cooking to the serving. In Argentine culture, men tend to cook the asado and they find pride in their skills as asadores.
Students enrolled in "The Culture of Food & Wine" course at the CEA Study Abroad Center in Buenos Aires had the chance to attend an asado in May. Professor Santiago Alvarez teaches the Food & Wine course, and he invited students to eat at his house.
| Eyes on the parrilla, professor Santiago
Alvarez and his wife invited CEA students
to their house for a traditional Argentine asado.
| With fresh carne off the parrilla, professor
Santiago Alvarez prepares to serve
a group of hungry CEA students.
Although it might seem challenging to feed a group of over 20 hungry Americans, Santiago did not have to complete the task solo. The CEA Buenos Aires Center used part of the Food & Wine course fee to hire a professional asador to monitor and prepare the food also.
Throughout the entire asado, students had the chance to try a variety of different foods. In a traditional asado, all the foods are not served at once. Instead, each round of the meal focuses on one dish. Typically, the first round consists of proveleta, a mouthwatering fried cheese. After the cheese, the menu option for round two is usually choripán, a type of chorizo sausage with bread. The third round has a mix of chorizo sausage and blood sausage. By the time guests get to round four, most aren't even hungry anymore; however, this is when the fun starts to begin! The next three rounds consist of heartachingly delicious cuts of steak. If someone thinks their meat could use a bit more flavor, they are encouraged to add some chimichurri to it. Since the Argentine diet does not consist of spicy food, chimichurri is a type of sweet sauce that can add additional flavor to any dish.
| Cooking an asado takes skills. Luckily, this
asador has years of experience.
| After spending the entire morning preparing
the meat, this asador was excited to have
students try his food.
Needless to say, students had an abundance of food and they didn't need to worry about being hungry for dinner. Although Buenos Aires has parrillas, or restaurants that serve asados, there is something special about having an authentic experience at someone's house.
Elena P. is the Spring 2018 MOJO Photographer in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is currently a Junior studying Media Production at Ithaca College.
Elena Piech is the Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Photographer in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is currently studying at Ithaca College.