Musings on Wine

Asado, Florida Style!

During a recent visit to Ft. Lauderdale, I had the pleasure of watching my Uruguayan friend assemble an authentic asado. Although there were only six diners, he deemed it essential that the traditional portions be prepared. The result was enough extraordinary meat for 40 people.

For those of you that have never enjoyed Argentinean asado a la parrilla, it is essentially the grilling of several cuts of muscle meat and assorted offal from beef, lamb and pork over hot coals. Each item is placed on the grill in sequential order to ensure that by the end of the grilling, when the last item is finished, all items are cooked to perfection and ready to serve. Interestingly, my friend did not season the meat at all before grilling and all salt and pepper was added by each guest to their liking.

Our story is best told in photos so enjoy.

First: the beginnings of an amazing fire in his custom built brick oven with a grill that he can raise or lower to control the amount of heat being applied at any given time. The art is in ensuring you know exactly the heat on each section of the grill so all the meats and offal will grill at the right pace. This requires a perpetual moving of coals and controlling of flame.

When the embers are ready, the first cut of meat goes on - bife angosto, or roast of striploin. Notice how it is placed in the top right corner of the grill so it will enjoy the longest, slowest grilling.

Next comes the costillas (short ribs) and entrana gruesa (whole thick skirt)

 the lomo or whole beef tenderloin. As this cut is so lean and tender, it won't take long for it to cook so it goes on near the end.

...then finally, we add the morcillas (blood sausage), chorizos (spicy garlic pork sausage) and mollejas (whole sweetbreads - thymus gland) and finish the cooking. Our host also added four whole boneless chicken breasts, in order to accommodate the preferences of one of our guests.

All this was served with a fine composed salad and we drank an excellent 10 year old Piedra Negra Malbec from the Lurton brothers project in Mendoza and a stunning 8 year old Sardon del Duero from Abadia Retuerta in Spain. My friend insists on cutting all these meats with the traditional tools, so he brings out his collection of hand made knives.

Dessert is a whole peeled and cored pineapple which has been rubbed all over with butter and brown sugar, is wrapped tightly in tin foil and is then baked in the coals like a potato thus caramelizing the sugar and adding a remarkable crunchy, smoky element to the sweet fruit which goes just beautifully with our Pisco, even though that comes from Peru.

This may have all been a bit excessive, but my goodness was it delicious!

Que Festa!




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