Beef is king in Buenos Aires. Traditionally, Argentineans cook their beef, slow and steady over a parrilla (pa-REE-sha, or grill). The unique feature of the Argentine parrilla is the manner in which the meats are cooked. Rather than using ready-made charcoal, asadores (grillmasters) cook their meats over hot coals pulled directly from piles of burning wood. The word asado (ah-SA-doh) not only refers to a large home BBQ prepared for large groups of friends, but also to a cut of meat that the Argentineans serve.
There are 3 ways to order your beef:
Jugoso (who-GO-so): Medium-rare, or juicy; red center, pink
A punto (a-POON-toe): Medium, pink through out
Cocido (co-SEE-doh): Well-done, crisp outside, no pink
When attending an asado or visiting a parrilla-style restaurant, tradition loosely dictates the following:
1st Course: Picada (spread of dried/cured meats and cheeses), served with red wine. This course is more typical to the home asado, and rarely appears along side a parrillada served in a restaurant.
2nd Course: Achuras. During this second course, delectable grilled nibbles appear at the table. The offerings during this course vary according to availability and the chef’s tastes, but may include delicious innards—such as molleja (grilled sweet bread), chinchulin (grilled small intestine) and riñon (grilled kidney)—and almost always include chorizo (grilled sausage) and/or morcilla (blood sausage). Served with French bread and topped with chimichurri (a delicious condiment), many make sandwiches called choripán or morcipan from these tasty sausages.
3rd Course: Carne. Like the second course, the offerings selected for this third course vary. The third course is commonly served with papas fritas (french fries) and ensalada (salad, often a simple bowl of sliced tomatoes), and will include a selection of the following: one or several types of steak, like bife de chorizo (NY strip), vacio (flank steak), entraña (skirt steak), lechon (pork), pollo (chicken), or asado (beef ribs).
Here’s a quick guide to parrilla vocabulary:
|Rack of ribs||Tira de asado||TEE-rah day ah-SAH-doh|
|Rib steak||Bife de costilla||BEE-fay day koh-STEE-sha|
|Sirloin steak||Bife de chorizo||BEE-fay day chor-EE-zoh|
|Tenderloin||Bife de lomo||BEE-fay day LOW-moe|