Vacio is a must-have of every Argentinian Steakhouse. “Asado y vacio” is the answer you’ll hear when you ask what beef cuts they serve at a simple Argentine restaurant.
The vacio cut, is the flank muscle around the belly of the animal. It is known also as flap meat because of the flap shape of the whole cut. It is the bottom of the sirloin. The cut, is also very popular in France, where it is called bavette and served at all bistrots with “frites”.
The vacio is well marbled, and has firm fiber with a well defined grain, as the muscles of the belly of the cow are subject to substantial effort. Because of not being that tender it was underestimated in the era of tasteless filet mignon. Now, because of its flavor and its fat, it is rediscovered as one the best Argentinan beef cuts.
The vacio outside Argentina is normally cut into steaks and cooked on pans on high heat. However, at a true Argentinian steakhouse, the vacio has to be grilled in one single piece (over a kg of weight) on the wood fired or charcoal parrilla. It is a lot better to grill the full cut if you plan to slow cook it Argentinian style so it does not losses the juice inside.
Vacio is a very versatile beef cut. Apart from the traditional Argentinian vacio a la parrilla, you can also roast it in the oven. The vacio al horno is also a very popular dish in Argentina, especially in Buenos Aires where people live in apartments with no barbecue. It is also very popular in lunch menus in Buenos Aires fondas and bodegones. The Fonda or Bodegon is a very basic and affordable Argentine restaurant that offers traditional Argentine food like roasted beef cuts, ravioli, ñoquis, fideos al tuco (vermicelli with tomato sauce) and other staples of the Argentine cuisine.
Vacio Argentine beef cut nomenclator description
In the video below, from the minute 5.25 you can see how the flank steak is cut from the loin of the steer.
The vacio beef cut is made of the following abdominal muscles: transversus abdominis internal and external oblique muscles and the rectus abnominis.
It is the continuation of the tiras de asado (ribs) train, and precedes the Tri-Tip, Rump tail, Sirloin Roast. Is is just below the Sirloin/New York area.
Vacío (Code 2469 and 2200) Está ubicado en la región abdominal, y lo integran los músculos y fascias que componen la pared abdominal. Tiene por límite en su parte anterior al asado y la falda, en la superior a los bifes angostos y en la posterior a la colita de cuadril.Composición Osea:Official Argentine beef cut Nomeclator SENASA IPCVA
DEBE CONSIDERARSE COMO BASE ÓSEA A LOS PUNTOS DE INSERCIÓN DE LOS MÚSCULOS ABDOMINALES, YA SEA DIRECTA O INDIRECTAMENTE POR INTERMEDIO DE TENDONES O FASCIAS. TENEMOS ENTONCES: LA CARA EXTERNA Y CARTÍLAGOS COSTALES DE LAS ÚLTIMAS COSTILLAS, APÓFISIS TRANSVERSAS DE LAS VÉRTEBRAS LUMBARES, EL CUERPO DEL ILIÓN, LA TUBEROSIDAD COXAL Y EL PUBIS. Componente Muscular:
COMPRENDE LOS MÚSCULOS Y FASCIAS QUE CONTRIBUYEN A FORMAR LA PARED DEL ABDOMEN. ESTOS MÚSCULOS SON: OBLÍCUO ABDOMINAL EXTERNO, OBLÍCUO ABDOMINAL INTERNO, RECTO ABDOMINAL Y ABDOMINAL TRANSVERSO. Preparación:
SE PUEDE PREPARAR A PARTIR DE UN CUARTO TRASERO A 3 COSTILLAS. PREVIA EXTRACCIÓN DEL MATAMBRE, SE LO SEPARA DE LA COLITA DE CUADRIL INCIDIENDO A TRAVÉS DEL TEJIDO CONJUNTIVO QUE VINCULA LOS MÚSCULOS ABDOMINALES CON EL TENSOR DE LA FASCIA LATA, HASTA LLEGAR AL LÍMITE VENTRAL DEL BIFE ANGOSTO. A CONTINUACIÓN, SE COMPLETA EL CORTE EN SENTIDO PARALELO AL BORDE DEL BIFE ANGOSTO HASTA LLEGAR A LA 13º COSTILLA, LA QUE SE BORDEA HACIA VENTRAL HASTA LOGRAR LA SEPARACIÓN DE LA PIEZA. FINALMENTE, SE ELIMINAN LOS EXCESOS DE TEJIDOS CONJUNTIVO Y ADIPOSO.