As discussed in this section’s home, Asado is a sacred word in Argentina. Asado in Argentina refers to both the beef cut, the delicious ribs of the plate or “costillar”, and the social event of gathering friends and and family nearby a wood fired or charcoal parrilla (grill).
The asado in Argentina was traditionally cut in two ways, both cutting the ribs transversally: thick (tira de asado gruesa) or thin (tira de asado fina). In the few last years, a new asado beef cut emerged, and it is called “corte americano”, American cut, taking the rib and the meat alongside the bone in cuts some 10-12 inches long.
There’s always been another way to get the asado, the most primal; that would be taking the whole plate or costillar, usually with the vacío cut attached to it.
Here we will review the Asado in Argentina is more traditionally cut and grilled:
Tira de asado fina in Argentina
The tira de asado fina in Argentina is also called Asado Banderita, diminutive of bandera = flag. It is called liked that because the asado banderita cut is just one finger thick, and served in a wooden table or plate in 2-3 three pieces like stripes in a flag.
The asado tira fina in Argentina is the most practical way to grill asado meat in an urban atmosphere. It is easy and fast to grill, and it can be even cooked on a flat iron pan without the hurdles of turning on a fire. The asado de tira fina in Argentina is most usually found at restaurants in cities, very popular at the Buenos Aires parrillas- steakhouses, where the space is scarce and the patrons need to return to the office or the factory after a quick lunch (yes, asado banderita is quick lunch in Argentina, back at the office in 45 minutes).
In the following video, the guys from “Locos X el Asado” a huge community of asado lovers led by “El Laucha” Luciano Luchetti make a more urban version of the tira de asado corte fino in Argentina, adding some chimichurri marination and a fried egg on top.
Traditional asado in Argentina, thick cut
The traditional asado in Argentina, the one gathering friends and family, is a lot thicker than the asado banderita. The asado de tira gruesa is about three-four fingers cut across the rib bones.
While the asado tira fina can be grilled in 10-20 minutes, the tira de asado corte grueso, the more traditional one, will take the grill master at least one hour.
This asado beef cut needs constant but medium heat. While the tira de asado fina is done on the sides, across the bones, the asado de tira gruesa needs to be grilled first on the bone side, usually 45 minutes, so the bone helps the cooking process with the heat, and then finished on the opposite side some 15-20 minutes, depending on the size/width.
In the following video sponsored by Coto, one of the largest supermarket chains in Argentina, a parrillero or grill master explains the right way to grill asado thick cut – tira ancha.
Coto, owned by Alfredo Coto, started as a butcher in a tough neighborhood in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, then grew to butcher stores chain owner, and today is one of the top supermarkets in Argentina. Coto owns tow large slaughter houses and meat packing facilities, and is also one of the top ten beef exporters in Argentina. Rumors of his “entrepreneurial” origins include Mr Coto started his butcher shop by buying beef from cattle robbers, or even running an organization of cattle and beef mobsters by himself…
Primal Asado in Argentina: Costillar
Today, the costillar, the full asado half carcass plate, is made only for special events in Argentina. The over 10-15 kilos weight of beef, bones and fat require a lot of space, and friends, clients and/or relatives…
Grilling a whole asado de costillar also requires time and expertise, considering the different thickness of the cut at each end.
Also, the costillar can be asado or grilled in Argentina in at least three different ways (plus variations/combinations):
- Over the grill
- “Al asador”, using indirect flames on a hanging beef iron cross
- Al horno, or roasted in a wood fire brick or adobe (mud walled) oven
In this video, Alejandro Greco, owner and parrillero of the argentinian steakhouse La Tranquera at Mar del Plata, explains how to grill asado al asador, a whole costillar hanging at an iron cross using direct firewood flames.
Grilling time takes no less 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the cut. Again, at least 1.30 hours on the bone side, facing the flames, and the finishing it on the other side just for 15-20 minutes.