Anatomy of an Asados

It was not good for the waistline or his training regime, and cardiologists round the world should probably look away, but Tank Lanning got to tick something off his bucket list last week and it was good …

Not shy of tanning a tjoppie or three either before or after a rugby game, last Saturday I got to take part in the mother of all braais – a traditional Argentine Asados – while in Mendoza hosting a group of Energade competition winners as part of a touring party in the country for the Bok game.

Asados are a key element of Argentine culture. The tradition goes all the way back to the days of the gauchos (Argentine cowboys) where in the Pampas they would build a fire and slaughter an animal, holding its open body over the fire with sticks.

Parrilla is the fancy grill or simple fire pit with 4 bricks holding up a metal grate. It can sometimes be an actual part of the house itself, with a whole room or quincho built around it, used almost exclusively for asados. Like in South Africa, leña (wood) and carbón (charcoal) are the two methods people use to generate heat. They do not do marinating or basting though. Chimichurri is the key – one of the few sauces Argentines love. It’s a mix of parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano, and vinegar and can go on anything, from meat to bread. Provoleta is a cheese thrown on the grill as well with a crispy outside layer and the inside melted.

Hierdie mense verstaan vleis!

As do we in South Africa, and given that we do lamb chops as part of our braai mix, our actual meat on offer at a braai might be better than that at an asados, but what they do much better than us, is the social side of braaiing, and pure size! I think there was the odd plate of grated carrot, and perhaps a basket rolls in the corner, but it’s all about these giant platters of superbly cooked meat that are ferried from the huge open braai. And you just help yourself as and when you are peckish. None of this R50.00 for a braai pack of wors and 2 chops that you go and cook for yourself on a fire away from all the people. You pay your entrance fee, and then you eat and drink as much as you want. It’s tremendous!

It was without doubt the best pre-match activity I have ever had the pleasure of partaking in …

And this came after enjoying what was until Saturday, the mother of all braais during the week at a restaurant called Siga la Vaca in Puerto Madero, a massive place in the trendy strip next to the river dividing the old and new parts of the Buenos Aires.

There we paid our 145 Pesos – around R275.00 – and as per Saturday, got to feast on as much meat (and salad, but I cannot report back on that) as we cared to enjoy … Their promo included a bottle of Malbec red wine, or 1 litre pitcher of Coke or beer … EACH!

These guys simply do not mess around … And on a Thursday night, you could not get in without a reservation. The place was packed …

Surely it is a concept that could work in SA?

For pics of the 2 braais, please see the original post on the Virgin Active blog


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