The Asado lives at the heart of Argentina. Here are Ranquilco, we have have big asado parties with music and dancing, and a favorite, baby goat (also known as chivito) on the asador. There is a great feeling of appreciation and togetherness when we make asados, because we are all part of the process. We all help each other to get these things done, and we all get take part in the outcome.
When we have asados, the gauchos generally handle the meat cooking and we have one of our interns or volunteers helping in the kitchen, and learning about the bread making or some local sides that we always make for the asados. This creates a wonderful atmosphere in the kitchen because we are all doing it together, listening to music, and enjoying the view.
Here are our secrets to having the best Asado - whether with us, or to bring back home with you if you seek to recreate on your own!
1. Best of both worlds:
To merge traditional style Asado with a sophisticated European cuisine, we have traditionally cooked meat and a number of Argentine classics alongside other, less argentine things, like dauphinois potatoes. It’s great being able to combine the two, and always makes for an interesting meal.
2. Time it right:
The asado starts at about 5pm, with the help of the goat farmer from up the hill, we build a fire and string up a chivito on an asador. When making a fire, stack dry wood sitting on top of a lump of charcoal under the left-hand side of your parilla - a cast-iron grill which can be adjusted to different heights.
3. Watch your flames:
When the flames and smoke of your initial fire have calmed, you will have a pile of coals to the left of your grill, from which you rake across glowing embers to sit under the right. The meat is covered with salt , crispy and has had its own fat dripping down it for three hours on low heat. Then let the coals do the magic.
4. Don’t forget the sides:
We all delight in chewing on the bones and sitting in a circle. But this delicious salty meat is not the same unless accompanied by tortas fritas, a yeast dough fried in goat fat, and aji, a tangy dried pepper sauce. Don’t forget some veggies - here at Ranquilco our salads are cut from the garden 20 minutes before we all sit down to eat (the same goes for all of our produce) and you can taste the difference.
5. Sit together and enjoy:
Bringing many people together gives us the opportunity to share stories about Ranquilco and their experiences here, which is a lot of fun. From guests to gauchos, garden volunteers to ranch hands, when we all sit down together we are able to connect on a deeper level. The more the merrier!
If you are trying to do an asado at home, you can still buy the highest quality meat you can find and slow roast it in an outdoor oven and barbeque, serve with traditional argentine sides, and enjoy with the company of your friends