For those who have never experienced an asado nor eaten at an Argentinean steakhouse it may come as a surprise to see the enormous cuts of meats laid upon the grill. You might wonder if someone just made a few cuts to a whole slab of beef and tossed them on the grill. Heck, you might wonder if there is a whole cow on there. The cuts of meat used for an asado are large and hardly trimmed of the surrounding fat. Many differ from the clean cuts that are used in every day cooking. The reason for this is the the meats will come out juicy and full of flavor. If that is not your style, then don’t worry because typical steaks are grilled too. However, one steak might look like it can feed a family of four.
Some cuts of meat in Argentina, as well as other countries in South America, are quite different than what you may find in Europe and North America particularly those used for asado. For example, there are two versions of flank steak; vacio and matambre. Both of these cuts are usually offered in large pieces and untrimmed of the surrounding fat. Also, porterhouse and prime rib are usually not offered the same way as in other countries but are instead parts of other cuts. However, due to the increase in demand and change of tastes these days, those specific cuts are becoming more popular in Argentinean restaurants. If some of this sounds confusing, don’t worry. More will be explained later.
Popular Cuts Used For Asado
Asado – Wait! Isn’t that the term for roasting or barbecue? Yes, and as I have mentioned before, there are different meanings applied to the usage. In this case we’re simply talking about how ribs are referred to as asado. The large section of the rib cage that offers what you know as short ribs and spare ribs is also called asado.
Asado De Tira (Tira De Asado) – Although often translated as short ribs, asado de tira is also sold as long, somewhat thin, strips of ribs. Chuck ribs, flanken style(cross-cut).
Bife Ancho – Steaks cut from the rib-eye roll. Boneless prime rib steaks.
Bife Angosto – Strip loin steaks.
Bife de Costilla T-bone or porterhouse steaks
Bife de Chorizo – Strip loin steaks. (Technically bife angosto, but these steaks are cut from the frontal section of the muscle that produces a much larger cut)
Bola de Lomo – Knuckle or sirloin tip.
Chinchulin - Initial portion of small intestines.
Colita de Cuadril Tri-tip. The tail of the rump roast.
Cuadril – Rump.
Entrana Fina – Thin skirt steak.
Entrana gruesa or centro de Entraña – Hanger steak or thick skirt steak.
Falda – Naval.
Lomo – Tenderloin..
Marucha 7-bone roast or cross-cut section of the chuck blade
Matambre – A long thin cut that lies just under the skin and runs from the lower part of the ribs to belly–or flank area.
Mollejas – Sweetbreads or thymus glands.
Pecho – Brisket
Rinones – Kidneys.
Tapa de Asado – Rib cap.
Tapa de Nalga – Top of ound roast.
Vacio – Flank but may contain the muscles of other near cuts