The fastest way to make enemies in Argentina is to compare the asado to a burger barbecue.
It’s the same right? Wrong, the locals will tell you, through gritted teeth, it will never be the same.
Their gas-fuelled blow-torching of conveyor-belt patties has nothing in common with Argentina's sacred asado.
They’ve got a point. Asado is cooking in its purest form - just fire, grill and meat. So it’s important that you get it right, otherwise you’ve got yourself a barbecue.
The person who starts the asado is known as the asador and he or she starts by lighting the stack of wood, which sits on top of a heap of charcoal on the left hand side of your parilla (a cast-iron grill which can be adjusted at different heights).
If you’re having difficulty getting the fire to light, throw in a few pine cones. Once your grill has warmed up, scrub it down with some newspaper to clean it. When your flames have died down you should have a pile of glowing charcoal on the left of your grill which you can spread across evenly to the right hand side.
Take the grill down to roughly 15 cm above the smouldering embers. Then add you cuts of meat starting with the biggest cuts first. Don’t marinade the meat, simply rub with a bit of salt.
Keep the hottest coal aside so you don’t have fat dripping and big flares of smoke.
The temperature is right when you hear a gentle but constant sizzling.
It normally takes about 2 hours to cook an asado so don’t worry about overcooking the meat, locals have it medium to well-done.
Bon provecho and enjoy!