Argentina’s Cuts Of Beef For Asado

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

Ubre -Udder

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34 Comment(s)

  1. I have seen Bife Chorizo often referred to as “New York Strip Steak” in Argentinian menu translations, is this incorrect? Also, I’ve heard the term Churrasco used to describe skirt steak. Finally, the cut of meat I have most often seen associated with Vacio is London Broil. Any opinion?

    Mauricio | Feb 27, 2006 | Reply

  2. >Bife De Chorizo

    That is correct, New York Strip Steak is the same cut.

    >Churrasco

    Yes and no. In Argentina the term refers to any boneless thin slice of steak that is cooked on a grill or hot pan. So technically a skirt steak can be a churrasco, but so can other cuts of meat. However, I’ve heard that in other Latin American countries churrasco strictly refers to skirt steak. Must be confusing for those who dine out and/or travel around and aren’t aware of the differences.

    >Vacio is London Broil

    Hmm somewhat close but in a different way, There are two london broils. One is a recipe, where the original term came from, and one refers to a cut of beef. The recipe version calls for flank steak. Vacio is flank steak but as I mentioned in the description, some versions may contain small parts of other cuts. Flank steak is where the similarity ends. The london broil cut is usually what is known as top round roast.

    This article explains london broil in better detail:
    http://bbq.about.com/od/steaks/a/aa101604a.htm

    Hope that helps

    Administrator | Feb 28, 2006 | Reply

  3. Could you please email the recipe for Bife de Chorizo.
    thanks

    Naadia Geldenhuys | May 13, 2006 | Reply

  4. I would love to know what part of the cow ‘matambre’ is.. Flank steak is vacio, at least here in Australia.. And nobody cuts the top part of the flank.. As a matter of fact, the only way to get it (that I know of) is to buy the ‘whole’ thing.. With the ribs, vacio and matambre still attached, and cut it yourself..

    Is there a particular way you need to ask for it?

    Ivan | Oct 10, 2006 | Reply

  5. Asado dude!

    I’m so ashamed that I never offered this GREAT graphic to you before.

    http://fotos.yanquimike.com.ar/lamnavieja.jpg

    It’s a beaut. You still see it around places.

    Chau,
    Mike

    yanqui mike | Sep 5, 2007 | Reply

  6. Wow that is great and I think I’ve seen it before but can’t remember, thanks Mike. I’d like to post that, you want me just to point it to your link or host it myself?

    A shop here has a collection of large posters from SENASA each with about 3 diagrams of different cuts. Checked around their site and SAGPYA but couldn’t find anything.

    Asado Arg | Sep 6, 2007 | Reply

  7. Okay…I am looking to do a prime rib for Christmas…How do I ask a butcher for one? You say that “bife ancho” is part prime rib…do I just get a larger cut of this?
    Thanks for any and all suggestions!
    Deborah

    Deborah | Nov 10, 2007 | Reply

  8. Hi Deborah,

    Just ask for bife ancho con tapa or if you want it with bones then bife ancho con hueso. Make sure to tell them that you want a large chunk right away or else they might just start slicing steaks immediately after. ;)

    Asado Arg | Nov 10, 2007 | Reply

  9. I would like to ask the butcher ( in Canada ) to cut me the best ” asado de tira “, How do I explain it to them ?

    German | Apr 1, 2008 | Reply

  10. I am looking for diagrams or how to instructions for cutting out a steer in the Argentine style.

    Ruddy Shupik | Sep 16, 2008 | Reply

  11. German…

    I have had success going to muslim butchers, who tend to have more traditional shops like the ones in Argentina. They almost always have a chart with pictures of the cuts of beef and the names in English and Arabic. Point out the “short ribs”. You are also more likely to find achura in these shops.

    Andrew | Sep 27, 2008 | Reply

  12. When you ask for “short ribs” it never seems to have the meat on top of the bones like you do back in good ol Argentina or the bones even just dont look the same. What is it (name) of the area where asado de tira should be cut from and the meat on top of the bones that NEEDS TO STAY there?

    Carlos | Oct 3, 2008 | Reply

  13. @Carlos:

    There are different styles of short ribs so if you ask for short ribs and nothing else, they’re probably giving you what most people request or whatever is their idea.

    Ask for chuck ribs, flanken style(cross-cut). They are the ribs from 1 to 5 and have a whole load of meat on top. Make sure you are clear about how thick or thin you want them. No more than an inch for thin, 3-4 inches for thick.

    Asado Argentina | Oct 3, 2008 | Reply

  14. I am looking to purchase MOLLEJAS, VACIO and MATAMBRE in the US and I can not find a place to buy– does anyone know where I can order these from?

    Leon | Jan 26, 2009 | Reply

  15. Are you able to supply to saudi arabia,if yes i would like to deal with you on all cuts in vaccum pack

    Talal Moussalli | Feb 27, 2009 | Reply

  16. Hi,

    Where can I find Argentine beef cuts such as Asado de Tira? Do you know about any online store or butcher that serves the upstate NY area?

    Many thanks

    Jose | Mar 4, 2009 | Reply

  17. Nice illustration… Where did you find that?

    Dino | Mar 5, 2009 | Reply

  18. can you offer some advive on how to prepare chinchulines (fresh from the farm) for la parilla? I was told to boil them before grilling but that didn’t work. Please help!

    Jo | Apr 21, 2009 | Reply

  19. @jo Try soaking them in milk for a few hours and trim off as much of the fat as you can. Then cook slowly over medium heat until crispy.

    Asado Argentina | Apr 23, 2009 | Reply

  20. I would like to find a local butcher or meat seller in the chicago area where i may buy these cuts… anyone know of any…???

    I have heard of El Mercado next to Tango Sur… but is there none other in chicago???

    Armando Zarco | May 7, 2009 | Reply

  21. Hi

    maybe I am late but the Outside brisket is called matambre in Canada. But the best recomendation as the butcher to walk into the big fridge and you can show him what do you need . That was I did and works just fine.

    Good luck

    Gustavo

    Gustavo | May 19, 2009 | Reply

  22. Hi, could you please email me back with the proper way to cut these meats. I have two people that I work with who are from Argentina and they complain about the meat cuts available here in New Zealand, My uncle who also works with us was a butcher for many years before having a career change, I would like to surprise them with these at a BBQ I am having shortly. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Tim | Aug 6, 2009 | Reply

  23. Two questions about chinchulines:

    a) They’re the “initial portion of small intestines”. Can anyone be a bit more specific ?

    b) Once you’ve cut them from the animal, how do you clean them ? (i.e. remove skin, fat etc) Do you wash the inside ?

    Thanks.

    ElSuizo | Sep 7, 2009 | Reply

  24. SOMOS LOS MEJORES DEL MUNDO, VIVA BUENOS AIRES,ARGENTINA, SOY XENEIZE, O SEA DE BOCA JUNIORS, EN ASADOS NADIE NOS GANA, Y EL VINO EL MALBEC, GRACIAS DIOS POR DIEGO Y POR NOSOTROS LOS ARGENTINOS , GRACIAS, , ME VOY HACER UN ASADO PA LOS PIBES Y MI QUERIDA FAMILIA , SIEMPRE UTILIZO , PALOMILLA , ENTRANA FINA O GRUESA , COSTILLAS, VACIO , Y PORSUPUESTO NUNCA FALTA EL CHORIZO Y ELO VINO , CIAO

    Che Enrique | Dec 4, 2009 | Reply

  25. http://www.companiaprocesadora.com/carnes.asp

    Perfect site to see names… in English and German!

    Adrian | Jan 7, 2010 | Reply

  26. website related to the subject here: http://baladacam.com.br

    rico | Feb 23, 2010 | Reply

  27. Churrasco is also BBQ in brazil. Doesn’t matter whether it’s chicken, pork, sausage, or beef. If it was cooked over an open pt it’s churrasco gaucho style.

    braf | Jun 25, 2010 | Reply

  28. Hi people,

    somebody know how to order a “costillar de asado completo” , I think here,fl,usa, the cut right in in the middle of the ” costillar” to make another cuts, and when the butcher make the short ribs, they receive the ribs of around 10″ x 10″ chunks, of 3-4 ribs. Becouse I buy this and split in three to make wide short ribs, for slow grilling on oak wood.

    So any idea, don’t tell me go to an argentinean meat shop, is 4 hs away.

    Thanks, have agood grilling time!!!!!

    Walter | Jul 13, 2010 | Reply

  29. Where can I get Argentine beef cuts in Atlanta Georgia? I can’t find any butcher that knows anything about the type of cuts from Argentina. I am amazed that in a city as large as Atlanta there is not one carniceria argentina.

    Gus | Dec 17, 2010 | Reply

  30. Hi
    Where can I find Asado type meat in Sydney, Australia.

    Sonia

    Sonia | Jan 31, 2012 | Reply

  31. Que es el Martin Fierro? no me refiero al poema sobre el gaucho de Jose Hernandez sino al corte de carne

    jorge pesantes | Apr 29, 2012 | Reply

  32. You’re absolutely right!!…where is Tito’s market when you need them??

    Claudio | Mar 13, 2013 | Reply

  33. Claudio, si te referis a Tito’s Market en el Monte pero estas mas cerca de Chino, hay un mercadito llamado LatinMex. El proprietario es Arge y tienen las carnes y productos que vas a necesitar.

    Dioni | Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

  34. Perdon, esto es en el area de Los Angeles, CA y sus contornos.

    Dioni | Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

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