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Asado: South American Barbecue

July 15, 2011

Colonia, Uruguay

JUNE/JULY 2010 — My last moments as a member of the California Youth Symphony (visit them at was the 2-week tour to Uruguay and Argentina. Though it was called the “South America Tour,” I should make it a habit not to do so, because those 2 countries are in no way representative of the entire continent. Uruguay and Argentina are probably the wealthiest countries in the continent and have a culture (and demographic) that resembles Europe quite a bit, which made me feel at home.

Before I go abroad, I always do my research about the country, history, culture. I make To-Visit and To-Eat lists. The one thing I knew before, just on the top of my head, is that the beef in Argentina and Uruguay is very high-quality. There are a lot of cattle there, and they probably eat a lot more beef than the rest of the world. I regret not having had a burger at either Burger King or McDonald’s there just to compare. I was too snooty and wanted culturally authentic food, but every country adopts transnational chains individualistically.

Needless to say, we ate a lot of steak.

In Colonia, Uruguay, we stopped by a small restaurant for lunch. My friend Darren and I split a meal. What you see her is my half. We ordered a chorizo sausage, and those 2 long pieces of asado, as well as a side of fresh, warm applesauce. I paid ~$6.50 USD, and this

is including tip.

Santa Susanna Ranch, Argentina

Some of my friends probably have better photos from our last meal on a gaucho ranch in Argentina, but we had some asado (steak) and chorizo (and blood sausage, though I opted out of that). The steak was really quite tough and a bit dry, but that’s the sign that the animal exercised well and had a healthy life. You just moisten it up with chimichurri, a marinade of olive oil and herbs, anyway.

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