Despite its Argentinian name, El Gaucho steakhouse, at Seattle Washington, is not an Argentine grill. All the beef is 100% American, including not only the meat and the way to cut it. You won’t find any tira de asado, vacío o chinchulines at El Gaucho in Seattle.
El Gaucho is the most common Argentinian steakhouse outside Argentina, but because of being such a common place, it is rarely a true Argentinian owned and run parrilla.
However, El Gaucho has great beef cuts, and they respect the Argentinian tradition of grilling the best Angus beef, raised and fattened without using hormones or antibiotics like 90% of the US cattle ranchers do.
Matt Ramsey is the executive chef at El Gaucho in Seattle, and explains a bit more the beef cuts they serve in the video below.
El Gaucho grills 28-day dry-aged Certified Angus beef, only prime cuts from the Niman Ranch. Niman Ranch is now a brand with over 700 cattle ranchers producing high quality meats, including beef and sheep.
Certified Angus bee is a brand that’s been around since the late 70s, and their big thing is about consistency and quality. Standards are so crazy that only 1 in 5 cattle angus influence cattle earn the right to be a part of the program.
Niman Ranches, part of Certified Angus beef, don’t use any antibiotics or hormones in their beef. Another great thing about Niman ranch is that they have complete control of their product from start to finish, which is very rare in this industry in the US, where 7 large industrial meat packing companies process over 70% of the beef.
El Gaucho Seattle only offers dry aged cuts, also a very non Argentinian way to treat beef
Large beef cuts, especially the ones with fat and a high grade of marbling, such as a prime top sirloin are put on a rack in a temperature-controlled room to dry age them.
The room requires a lot of air circulation going around the beef, and that air circulation creates this gnarly looking shell on the outside of the cut.
That is an indicator of chemical process produced naturally. The enzymes are breaking down the connective tissue so as to have a more tender steak.
Also with dry aging there’s a lot of moisture loss and moisture loss just means that there’s gonna be a more concentrated beef flavor.
The disadvantage of dry aged beef: it is expensive
With dry aging there’s a downside: it is expensive.
The reason why it’s so expensive is because that moisture loss you’re losing about 10 to 15 percent of the original weight of the beef cut.
Additionally, the shell that’s around the cut protecting the beef from any bacteria entering into the meat has to come off and that’s completely inedible.
El Gaucho Seattle serves only prima grade USDA standard beef, and uses only selected premium cuts such as Sirloin, Loin, Rib Eyes, New York and T-Bones
As per the USDA classification of beef, there are three common types of grades used for quality beef:
The grading is directly related to the marbling of the cuts. The more marbling, the more flavor.