Favorites from the backyard parrilla

  • The first time we were invited to an asado, we arrived with Malbec, green salad, and ... an eggplant. We clearly hadn’t gotten the memo that, regardless of how delicious grilled eggplant might be, it just isn’t done at an asado. Ignorant Yankees! Since then, we’ve strictly followed the meat-only protocol at asados, saving the wilder things for American barbecues.

    I’m curious about what your favorites from the grill are - - what you dream about when the weather is too cold to fire up the parrilla? And what do you slip onto the grill when being unorthodox?

  • Who said anything about taking meat to an asado? Bad form!

    And who asked what you all take to asados? I’m so confused I re-read my own post!

    I asked
    1) what is your favorite item at an asado, and

    2) If you’re going rogue on your own grill, what strange items do you slip on the grill?

    • Official Post

    Who said anything about taking meat to an asado? Bad form!

    And who asked what you all take to asados? I’m so confused I re-read my own post!

    I asked
    1) what is your favorite item at an asado, and

    2) If you’re going rogue on your own grill, what strange items do you slip on the grill?

    You implied it by telling us what you had once taken to one.

    However, I stand corrected and apologise for my error.

  • Yes, but I apologize for being prickly. I was genuinely curious about everyone’s favorite asado cut of meat, and what unusual things non-Argentines liked to put on the grill when not following the strict Argentine protocol.

    But I must not have been clear about what I was asking, or nobody wants to divulge!

    Here’s a wacky assortment of things people in the US seem to be googling for the biggest national grilling day, AKA Independence Day.

  • No problem Rice.....everyone seems to have been on edge lately, myself included.

    Parrilla food I don't like or can't be arsed with is cheese and parts of a cow unfamilair to me. Vacio is my favourite cut of beef to grill. In my opinion the most overrated is tira. Considering the hype it attracts here I reckon of the ones I've eaten at asados only about 10% were worth praising. I stopped buying it years ago.

  • Ah! A good friend of ours adores vacio. Also entraña. Am I hopelessly a beef neophyte that I far prefer a good bife de lomo? Perhaps to the connoisseur, vacio, entraña, costilla are tastier, but I’d give up a bit of flavor for a tender cut.

    As for different things to add to the grill, it is hard to beat white potatoes cut in half and brushed with olive oil. And then eggplant, set on the grill whole, and removed when it’s as deflated as yesterday’s party balloon. But neither is for an asado purist; Save both for a barbecue.

    • Official Post

    I am a great fan of mollejas and last time I ventured alone in the Province, I treated myself to a half-portion of FIVE pieces of mollejas and a giant fries portion (also half a portion - glad I specified when ordering). For my birthday, I asked to be taken to Proper, which is (was?) an underground fine restaurant a few blocks from here, in a former car shop. They has mollejas al horno de barro and I ordered that. It was the most expensive stuff on the menu, but once in a lifetime... it was very good, but not as good as my brother-in-law does.

    The nice stuff of an asado is that you can try a little bit of everything and that in Argentina you share the various cuts. In Italy, when we barbecue we don't cut into smaller portions, so if you want a chorizo, you get a whole chorizo and you get half full with just that.

    My ideal asado:

    As starter: mollejas, mollejas and a squeeze of lemon, mollejas again. A small choripan in a mignon.

    As main course: entrañas, vacío, a small bread with vacío in the middle, 2-3 small breads with vacío and salsa criolla. If still hungry, more vacío alone because at this point it is well tender and smoky.

    As sides: grilled corn, grilled zucchine, a redbell pepper with an egg inside. I have them between a cut and the next to 'rinse' the meat taste.

  • You just described dinner for four, serafina !

    I’ve never been to an asado with vegetable sides, like those you mentioned. Chopped criollo lettuce, yes. Zucchini and grilled corn? Sounds divine. Red bell pepper with egg inside? You lost me on that one. (Hard boiled?)

    For me, the best lineup is provoleta, choripan, mollejas, entraña and/or vacio ... and after that, I’m too full to have another bite of anything at all.

    We will be grilling tomorrow (on the Fourth of July, anyone not grilling will be miserable, smelling the delicious aromas from others’ grills), but because we’re in the Age of the Virus, there will be only two of us. Big, juicy bacon cheeseburgers with lettuce and tomato slices will be on the menu, along with oven fries finished off on the grill. Maybe we will start off with grilled provoleta, as a fond nod to our friends in Argentina.

    • Official Post


    I thought you were vegetarian?

    My husband is, this is why we have veggies on the grill - for him. We eat mostly vegan at home (with an occasional ice cream or dulce de leche), but never meat. I eat meat only a handful of times a year during family gathering because I really LOVE to eat and I eat like a pig (I was100% honest in my previous post - I am able to eat all that stuff, we eat for three hours!).

    However, the red bell pepper, cut in half and with one or two raw eggs inside, is a common parrilla side dish in Argentina.

    Also red bell pepper strips with chopped garlic, olive oil and salt is done as a pre-starter amouse bouche.



    • Official Post

    grilled corn? Sounds divine

    Grilled corn IS divine (the home versione, roasted corn in the gas oven, not so much, but I do it from time to time and it is more interesting than boiled corn).

    In Argentina they also put butter on the hot grilled corn when it comes off of the grill, and salt it.

    We eat it without butter, though, because it is healthier (and we don't eat butter anyway)

    My brother-in-law tried to do provoleta but always burn it, and even put it with the sticker on top... it's terrible! I always check on the provoleta for him and say "I think it's ready, you can tell it's fully melted inside" and he replies "it's still pale!". He applies the same criteria as for grilling meat... so the cheese burns and shrink and become inedible. It's a pity, because a nice piece of provoleta with herbs/spices on top is delicious!

    In Mar del plata they sell blood sausage with nuts inside and it is fantastic - on the internet it says it is called morcilla vasca, but this wasn't the name that the butcher in Mar del Plata used to call it.

    Sometimes my BIL gets chorizo with fennel seeds for a change, which is also good.

    In Tandil, we had chorizo with cheese in the middle, and it was great. I was never able to find it elsewhere, though.

    Like for other dishes, Argentinian cuisine seems to favor consistent flavors rather than creating unique combination and signature dishes.