An Expat Guide to the Asado, the Holy Grail of All Pleasures in Argentina

Out and About, Wine & Adenture
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By The Wall Street Journal

Meat has traditionally been the linchpin of Argentine culture. Whether it’s in a backyard at the weekly family gathering, on an apartment building’s terrace in Buenos Aires or in a parilla (“steakhouse” in Spanish) on weekdays, the sacrosanct asado (barbecue) transcends cooking meat. It’s a ceremony, a passion and an art.

Local TV hosts won’t tell you if it’ll rain or shine on Sunday. They’ll tell you if you’ll be able to eat an asado outdoors or not. In a nation where there’s a religious reverence for meat, expats should thus bear in mind key rules to avoid faux pas.

More, Always More

First, expats should be prepared to eat a lot of meat. In 2014, Argentina topped the global ranking of beef and veal consumption, according to a 2015 OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook. Each Argentine stomach consumed, on average, 41.6 kilograms of beef and veal, compared with 24.5 kilograms in the U.S. and 10.5 kilograms in the European Union the same year.

“Every beast that walks goes to the grill master,” goes the Argentine saying. (“Todo bicho que camina va a parar al asador” in Spanish.) Insatiable South Americans are cheating on their darling, though: they now eat more pork and chicken – which expats might be more used to seeing on the grill (parilla, which translates to steakhouse as well as grill.).

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