Argentinian Tira de Asado Grilled Beef Short Ribs

Argentinian Asado – So Much More Than a BBQ

“Un Aplauso Para el Asador!”

(an applause for the asador!)

Asado (A-sod-oh) is Argentina. A day long homage to all things grilled meat, the asado brings together family and friends, usually on Sundays, and represents the true spirit of Argentinian people. Historically, the abundance of wild cattle from the pampas plains combined with the mystique of the proud and independent Gauchos (cowboys) who herded them, makes for a strong cultural identity around cooked meats.

My Hungry Traveler is excited to show you how to throw a fun and filling asado that friends and family won’t stop raving about. You can also learn more about the origins of Argentinian cuisine HERE.

An asado spread

The Basics

  • Plan for a long weekend afternoon when the weather’s nice and you don’t mind being outside.
  • During weekends in Argentina, it’s very common for friends and family to gather around food. Time is spent chatting, listening to music, drinking vino tinto (red wine), and munching on tasty appetizers until the main dishes come off the grill.
  • Figure around 1 pound (1/2 kilogram) of meat per guest and extra for leftovers.
  • Ask guests to bring typical side dishes, chimichurris, and fruit desserts.
  • The star of the show, meat, should be of the highest quality, only salted to allow the beef flavors to shine, and cooked slowly to medium-well doneness over low heat. Pork gets salted the same but with a light squeeze of lemon to bring out its natural sweetness. Sausage doesn’t get salted.
  • Sprinkle a heavy dose of coarse like sal parrilla or Kosher salt within 30 minutes of serving.
  • One person mans the grill. In Argentina this grill master is called the “asador” and is revered and applauded for their skill in handling this difficult responsibility.
  • Asado courses come in waves and the asador usually goes around serving guests as the meats come off the grill.
  • Prepare everybody in advance that there’s little chance of escaping unstuffed.

THE ASADO

All asados start with sitting around chatting and munching on appetizers before the meats come off the grill. The meats are cooked with the larger, longer cooking meats going on the grill first and smaller cuts going on later. Argentinians love their meats grilled low and slow until it is well done with crispy outsides and tender juicy insides.

Appetizers – Known in Spanish as entradas, these are the meal-before-the meal of an asado. Plates of picada (cold cuts of deli meats and cheeses), loaves of baguettes, empanadas, pickled eggplant, and provoleta (grilled cheese wheel) are just a few of the varieties to be served well before the meat is even done cooking. For a hearty group, matambre arrollado (rolled stuffed beef), also known as “hunger killer”, is also served.

Wine – Although beer and other beverages are often served at an asado, Argentina is known for its incredible wines that seem to have been made for the sole purpose of complementing their meat. Red wines, such as the popular Malbec, complement the rich flavor of the meat perfectly. Mix some sparkling water into the wine for a less intense, bubbly red wine.

Sides and Salsas – The asado’s grilled dishes are almost always accompanied with fresh salads and salsas to counter the richness of the meats. A nice complement is chimichurri (green, red, or both), ensalada criolla (red pepper salsa), Ensalada de Palmitos (hearts of palm salad), Ensalada Rusa (potato salad). Vegetables like red peppers, onions, zucchini, and eggplant are brushed lightly with olive oil and salted before joining the meats on the grill.

The Opening Act – No asado is complete without Argentine sausages – chorizo, salchia paradilla, and morcilla. Chorizo is served in a baguette with chimichurri (choripan). Salchia a basically a coil of grilled pork or chicken sausage that’s much like an Italian sausage in taste. Morcilla is blood sausage may sound scary but actually has a mouthwatering taste. In a traditional asado, the achuras (innards) come next. To many Argentinians this is the best part of an asado. Different parts of the cow grilled include the kidney, intestine, tripe, and sweetbread. Remember, there is no shame in skipping the achuras, morcilla, or anything else for that matter.

The Main Act – It’s finally time to focus on the heavenly smells that have been wafting in the air for hours. Although beef is the main event, many asados will also have chicken and pork. In addition to asado de tira (short ribs) and bife de chorizo (sirloin steak), an asado usually has a few other grilled items, including pollo asado (butterflied chicken), bife de lomo (tenderloin), entraña (skirt steak), vacío (flank steak), and pork spare ribs.

The Finale – After applauding the asador, brace yourself to taste any deserts that guests brought. Although it will be painful to fit them in at this juncture, it’s the right thing to do.

Where’s the Beef? Excellent quality Argentinean sausages and meat cuts can be ordered online from Wild Fork Foods.

MHT’s Asado Recipes:

New Orleans Jazz Fest Feast

“Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler”

(Let the Good Times Roll)

Since 1970, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, more commonly known as Jazz Fest, has brought thousands of music lovers to the Big Easy. Under George Wein’s (founder of the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival) guidance, the vision of a large daytime fair with multiple stages featuring a diverse range of music styles, Louisiana cuisine food booths, Louisianans arts and crafts booths, and an evening concert series throughout the city was realized. In addition to local customs, he emphasized African, Caribbean, and French culture, and was able to present the music, cuisine, and crafts of various cultures to the world through Jazz Fest in a way that was both enjoyable and exciting.

Acura Stage

The 350 people who attended the first Jazz Fest has grown to an average of 70,000 visitors per-day over the seven days of the Festival held annually on the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. Here’s 2022’s music lineup for both weekends and each of the 13 stages and music styles spread around the huge fairgrounds.

As exciting as all the fantastic music is, it’s the food that makes Jazz Fest so special. With its official food policy of “no carnival food”, there are more than seventy food booths that include local dishes like Cochon de Lait, Andouille Sausage, Soft-shell Crab, and Oyster Po’Boys, Cajun Jambalaya, Crawfish and Sausage Jalapeño Stuffed Breads, Muffulettas, Creole Red Beans and Rice, Pralines, Bread Pudding, Beignets, and the mother of all Jazz Fest dishes, Crawfish Monica. All food vendors are small, locally owned businesses. To check out this year’s list of food booths and what they’re serving, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make to New Orleans this year, my Hungry Traveler has complied the best recipes from Jazz Fest that you can make at home. So, crank-up the music, grab something to drink, cook-up some amazing dishes for a big party…and let the good times roll!

Listen to Jazz Fest music while you’re cooking:

MHT’s Jazz Fest Recipes:

Christmas Dinner in Emilia Romagna, Italy

Italians do Christmas feasting arguably better than anyone else. Whole days are dedicated to multi-course banquets, with dozens of family members working together to create traditional dishes to celebrate this most important holiday in Italy. The dishes are often decided by the availability of local bounties of a particular region. Many of the most intricate and time-consuming dishes that each region is known for are prepared for especially for Christmas. Emilia-Romagna is considered one of the richest regions in the world for producing gastronomic products, so much so that it has earned the nickname of “Food Valley”. The fame of Emilia-Romagna is due to two gastronomic pearls: Parma ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano, which have become famous Internationally. Here are other items produced in the region:

  • Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • Prosciutto Ham from Parma
  • Mortadella of Bologna
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from Parma and Reggio
  • Grana Padano cheese from Piacenza
  • Tortellini of Bologna
  • Tagliatelle egg pasta of Bologna
  • Zuppa Inglese of Emilia Romagna
  • Lambrusco sparkling wines from Emilia Romagna

The Christmas dinner menu below showcases many of the foods that this food-crazy region is so famous for, as well as a few banquet dishes from Bologna’s renaissance past.

Italian Christmas Banquette in Emilia Romagna

Antipasto

  • Salumi (Mortadella, Prosciutto de Parma, Coppa and Pacetta Piacentina)  
  • Fromaggio (Gran Padano, Fossa, Parmigiano Reggiano flakes with drops of Balsamic Modena)
  • Verdura (Marinated Mushrooms and Red Peppers in Olive Oil, Giardiniera – pickled vegetables)
  • Bagna Cauda w/ Crudo (warm anchovy dip with crudites)
  • Salad of Tart Greens with Prosciutto and Warm Balsamic Dressing
  • Pane Focaccia (flatbread or “pizza bianca”)

Regional Wines: Dry Lambrusco, Sauvignon Blanc di Parma, or a light Barolo  

Primi

  • Tortellini en Brodo (meat-filled pasta in broth)

Regional Wines: Piedmonts’ dry red Freisa d’Asti or “La Monella,” or fruity white Arneis 

Secondi

  • Cappone Natalizio (Christmas Capon)
  • Pasticcio di Tortellini con Crema di Cannella (renaissance tortellini pie with ragu and custard)
  • Tagliatelle con Arance e Mandorle (Tagliatelle pasta with caramelized orange and almonds)
  • Fagiolini alla Bolognese (green beans with mortadella)
  • Panzanella (bread salad)

Regional Wines: Aged red Recioto della Valpolicella Amarone or Classico   

Dolce

  • Torta Barozzi (rich chocolate cake)
  • Zuppa Inglese (Italian trifle)
  • Café Expresso

Regional Wines: Nocino (walnut liquor) or Black muscat-based Elysium dessert wine

MHT’s Northern Italian Recipes:

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