Argentines really do eat the best and biggest steaks on the planet! The traditional open-air barbeque, the “asado”, is the best way of cooking steak, infusing it with flavour and making it so tender it practically melts in your mouth.
The asado or Argentine grill (a gaucho tradition and way of cooking all types of meat from beef, steak, to lamb and pork on a grill-type barbeque on a wood fire) is an important community ritual and a way of sharing great food and stories with friends and family.
Steak is usually seasoned with salt and then placed on the Argentine grill to cook slowly ensuring the rich juices are retained making the meat super tender and delicious.
Cattle in Argentina graze free-range on lush Argentine pampas, where they have they can graze on multiple types of grasses. This diet gives the cattle lots of nutrients, which in turn creates meat that is unparalleled in leanness and richness of flavour.
There are many types of cut of beef to try – something for everyone and to meet different tastes. Here we explain some of the basic cuts:
Cuadril (Rump) – this is the leanest cut with a pure and distinct flavour.
Picaña (Rump cap) – an incredibly juicy cut of beef with lots of flavour – great with chimichurri sauce. The picaña was traditionally a Brazilian cut but was adopted by the Argentines due to its popularity.
Colita de cuadril (Tail of rump) – a piece of boneless meat from the lower outside hindquarters. Can be very tender and highly recommended for slow cooking in the oven or on the grill.
Chorizo (Sirloin) – a tender and succulent cut that is accompanied with a juicy ridge of crackling.
Asado de Chorizo – this cut is great for sharing and is usually marinated in a delicious marinade of red pepper, garlic, parsley and olive oil.
Vaccio – this cut is of a fibrous but juicy meat from the sirloin and a popular cut in Argentina.
Ancho (Rib eye) – this cut is delicately marbled with fat throughout producing an amazing full-bodied flavour.
Tira de Ancho – this is a spiral cut version of the Rib eye which is slowly grilled often with chimichurri, making it great to share.
Tira de Asado – this is a beef rib cut into strips 3-5cm thick. The first few ribs are delicious as these are less fatty, the fourth rib is thicker and more oily.
Entraña – this is a cut where part of the diaphragm is attached to the ribs. It is a very popular cut as it is quick to cook and should be very juicy. Argentines however tend to prefer other cuts such as the Tira de Asado.
Costillas (Ribs) – meat cut that covers the ribs and once cooked is very crispy and tasty – usually grilled or barbecued.
Lomo (Fillet) – this is the most tender and delicate cut of them all making it one of the most popular cuts. You could even cut it with your spoon it’s that tender!
Medallion – this is the eye part of the fillet cut and a perfect cut for those who like their meat cooked rare.
Chateaubriand – this is the centre cut of the fillet.
Entraña Fina – this is a popular specialist cut, whereby the steak is marbled with fat and also has a succulent thin skirt making it very juicy and full of distinctive flavour. If you like rib-eye, this is a great new cut for you to try.
Media Luno Vacio – a half-moon flank steak that is super tender and marinated in Churrasco marinade.
Matambre – a cut from the flank, which is very popular in Argentina. The meat is very lean and full of flavour.
Pechito de ternera deshuesado (boneless beef) – this is the thinnest part of the skirt cut and is regarded in Argentina as a grilled delicacy due to its rich flavour and tenderness.
So next time you are looking for something new to try, make sure you check out your local Argentine restaurant and try a new cut of steak – we’re confident you will agree its some of the best steak you’ve ever eaten! And don’t forget to wash it all down with a good glass of Argentine Malbec red wine – a perfect accompaniment to a beautiful steak.
Article author: The Polera Ltd