Around the Fire: The Sunday Asado
By Florencia Palmaz | Excerpt From At the Table & Around the Fire | June 22, 2019
At home a Sunday is defined first by what’s being grilled, and second by what wine is being served. When we are all back in South America visiting friends and family, a Sunday afternoon can easily reach 25 people with first cousins, spouses and children alone. The afternoon begins with kids running amok outside, while a group of adults play cards or Buracco (a Latin American version of rummy cube) in front of the parrilla, keeping the Asador company. Another gaggle gathers like a conclave on the patio, having a drink, gossiping. Slowly the crowd begins to get hungry. A few bites of meat are passed to the crowd as teasers. Eventually everyone gathers at a long table, and the show begins. Wave after wave of delicious meats and salads arrive. The wine flows and the conversation rolls on with the sounds of deep belly laughter and a joyous roar from the table. Hearty applause is given to the Asador, and slowly the evening winds down.
This scene is the quintessential Argentine Sunday afternoon, from casual family affair to large celebratory parties. The formula has been created by generations before us perfecting the menu and the social norms to set a stage on which a barbecue is not just a meal — it’s an Asado.
Casual Sunday Asado
The casual Sunday Asado is essentially morsels of different meats served to guests in stages. Each meat is paired with a salad or vegetable. At home in America, we have settled on this variation of the Asado. However, there are many possibilities. The basic structure of an Asado begins with a teaser, then sausage and organ meats paired with the first salad. Next comes grilled pork or chicken with the second salad. Finally, a choice cut of beef with a light salad or grilled vegetable rounds out the meal. Chimichurri, wine and bread are on the table throughout.