BBQ from around the world
Barbeque is a method of cooking loved by countless cultures around the world. There are many different variations such as the Japanese robatayaki, the Chinese siew yuk (roast pork), and char siew (barbecue pork), the Pacific Island Hangi Pit, which is popular in New Zealand, Middle Eastern kabob grilling, plus many, many other tasty BBq styles.
After living in Australia for two years, I thought that I knew which country was the king of the BBQ. That was until I arrived in Argentina. The Asado Parrilla, pronounced Parrisha is with-out doubt the king of all BBQ’s.
While other foods sometimes make an appearance, the South American Asado is all about the meat. A wide variety of different cuts of meat are used. A typical asado consists of beef, beef ribs, pork ribs, pork belly, chitterlings (the small intestines of a pig), sweetbread, chorizo sausages, blood sausages, liver, kidney and chicken. The offal and chorizo (sausage) are cooked slowly on a parilla grill, brushed regularly with salmuera (brine) during the cooking to add more flavour. Vegetables and salads are also eaten, but are often overshadowed by the sheer quantity of meat. The herb filled Chimichurri is the sauce of choice. While red wine is a must have, with any asado.
in addition to the standard grilling on a parrilla, larger Argentine barbecues will feature whole-grilled animals, which are cooked on an asador (a cross-like spit, see the picture below). For vegetables, cheeses, and other side dishes, cast-iron chapas/planchas are used to get a terrific sear on the food. The sheer variety of equipment and cooking methods sets Argentine barbecue apart from other cultures. The BBQ is a not something that is taken lightly in Argentina.
The origins of Asado can be traced all the way back to the Gaucho. Huge herds of wild cattle roamed much of the Pampa region of Argentina until the mid-nineteenth century. Those that lived in the region of the Río de la Plata, especially the Gaucho, developed a fondness for beef. Asado, which is roasted beef (or lamb or goat) becoming the number one choice. The meat, often a side of ribs, is skewered on a metal frame called an asador and then roasted by placing it next to a slow-burning fire. The Gauchos favored cooking asado with the wood of the quebracho tree. This is a tree which release very little smoke and for this reason was it favoured.
Today the asado has spread from the Rio de la plata, across South America and even up into Central America. Now Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico all have their own variations, although one aspect has remained the same, an asado is accompanied by a gathering of friends and family who sit down and merrily feast and drink together, just like the Gaucho’s of the past.
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