Types of Grills For Asado

Every type of grill imaginable is used to prepare asado in Argentina from fabricated brick or concrete assemblies with chimneys to pieces of wielded re-bar placed on top of rocks. Since a key task while preparing asado is to control the heat in different areas, most prefer to use a grill that provides easy access to the coals, height adjustment of the cooking surface, and an area to keep a fire burning in case more coals or wood need to be added. Therefore, gas grills and and those small circular grills on wheels that are popular in the United States, although used by some, are not preferred.

Simple flat rack grills either prefabricated or home-made are quite popular for their simplicity and low cost. All you need is a surface to grill the meats on and something to support it. You’ll often find these at outdoor gatherings or lunches hosted at a ranch where a large surface is needed to grill enormous quantities of food. Also, it is not uncommon to see construction workers cooking up some chorizos on top of some wielded re-bar for lunch. The one negative aspect is that there is nothing to protect the grill from the elements while cooking. Unless of course you have a wall or some sort of overhead covering. Therefore, the weather can make or break your planned asado.

Many homes and eating establishments have large prefabricated grills for grilling their asado. Some apartment buildings even have a communal grill on the roof for all of the tenants to use; unless of course one lives in an luxurious building that may have an enclosed grill for each unit. These grills are made of concrete or bricks and lined on the inside with special fire brick. Since a chimney is integrated on top they can be placed indoors as well. One unique benefit to these grills is the ability to adjust the height of the racks. The racks are usually one or two pieces with a network of chains that allow the grill master two raise or lower the height with hand cranks on the side. The racks are made with V-shaped strips of metal that allow the grease to slide down into a tray at the bottom so that there are no flare ups.

While gas grills offer great heat management, they lack in providing great flavor. Sure you can add some wood chips to give some smoky flavoring but there is nothing better than hot coals made from wood. They are, however, easy to use and clean up is a breeze. You just fire it up by turning some knobs and pressing a button. Since typically no charcoal is used the only items that need cleaning are the grilling surface and grease trap. Anyway, you’ll be hard pressed to find a true asado aficionado using a gas grill.

Portable grills are popular with those who don’t have space or an adequate environment for fabricated or simple rack grills. They are small and easy to move while at the same time offer protection from the weather. Most of the portable grills in Argentina are either horizontal rectangles or cylinders. These provide better access to the coals than say the typical circular kettle grill. The problem with many of these types is when the time comes to add additional coals, whether hot or cold, at a later time. Not to mention that due to their small size, a large asado with multiple types of meats or foods is near impossible to accomplish.

So you are stuck with a gas grill or standard portable grill. Can you create an asado Argentinean-style? Nope, you’ll be forever doomed to flash charred pieces of flesh. Well, yes you can create a partial asado, just by cooking lots of meat for friends and family. But unless you have a way to control the coals and heat you will have a difficult time trying to re-create the asado you experienced in either Argentina or an Argentinean restaurant in your area. Your best option would be to build an inexpensive rack grill. Anyway, just keep on reading and maybe you’ll pick up some other tricks to improves your grilling apprenticeship.

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55 Comment(s)

  1. I am interested in buying one of these grills. Can you tell me how?

    Linda | Jan 19, 2006 | Reply

  2. I am also interested in buying one of these grills. Can you tell me where or the name of company, who sells these type of grills?

    Alois | Mar 3, 2006 | Reply

  3. I am interested in an asado grill . Where can I find info on pre-fab units for custom installation ?
    Tom

    Tom | Apr 2, 2006 | Reply

  4. Can you tell me where I can buy one of these?

    sergio | May 3, 2006 | Reply

  5. Need to know where I can buy grill.

    Aldrich Hunt | May 8, 2006 | Reply

  6. I live near Washington DC. Any idea where I can obtain a prefabricated asago grill in my area?

    Matias Nino | May 9, 2006 | Reply

  7. Where can I get an asago grill?thank you

    josh k | Jun 2, 2006 | Reply

  8. I travel to Argentina every year and would love to buy an Argentina style asador. Where can I order one?

    Ken

    Ken K | Jul 6, 2006 | Reply

  9. I also am looking to build or purchase an asado grill. Can you help me by telling me how to purchase one. Also what is the actual name of the grill?

    Kara Flanders | Jul 10, 2006 | Reply

  10. I have a design for a parilla and quincho. I want to either build that or buy a prefab. Do you know of any contractors or vendors in DC? Anywhere else?

    Steve | Jul 18, 2006 | Reply

  11. I’m looking to buy one of these too. Do you know where I can find one?

    Peter | Sep 5, 2006 | Reply

  12. Como se consigue una parrilla para el asado en el exterior?
    Thank you

    tzesian | Sep 23, 2006 | Reply

  13. I have a grill that was build 3 years ago and is time to replace the racks (they are all rusted) can i order just the racks? i have the type that are on a V shape to hold the greese

    Jose Basa | Nov 13, 2006 | Reply

  14. I am interested in building a quincho and installing a parilla – can you tell me where I can get the plans and materials to do this. Thank you.

    Collin Peterson | Dec 25, 2006 | Reply

  15. WHERE CAN I BUY A GRILL?

    BRIGGS | Mar 3, 2007 | Reply

  16. Hello,

    My name is Florencia and I’m originally from Argentina. I’m trying to get a Parrilla for my father, do you have any idea where I can purchase a Parrilla here in the US. I’m actually living in Rochester, NY.
    I would appreaciate your help.

    Thanks in advance,

    Florencia

    Florencia | Mar 9, 2007 | Reply

  17. hey i brought a Parrilla from Argentina in my suitcase =),i live in NY and i cpuldn’t find anywhere,now i only need to find the firebricks,they where to hevy!,plz let m know where i can find them.Marcie

    Marcie | Mar 25, 2007 | Reply

  18. If you have a business than list it. Any comments asking interested buyers to email them for more info will be deleted.

    Asado Arg | Jul 12, 2007 | Reply

  19. I AM INTERESTED IN A TYPICAL ARGENTINIAN PARRILLA. I LIVE IN LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK, DO YOU KNOW A NEAR BY PLACE TO BUY AN ARGENYINIAN PARRILLA, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. ALEXFU@MSN.COM

    ALEJANDRO | Jul 30, 2007 | Reply

  20. am hoping to emigrate to argentina to a small town to use my trade of being a chef and hope to open an parrillada restaurant so could you help me out with pics for the ovens and grills and also if you knew where to get plans for fabricating the actual grill tops the ones with the v shape to catch the grease ,,,,,,, hows it going all the way from ireland

    declan horgan | Aug 27, 2007 | Reply

  21. We are looking to purchase a Argentine Grill for business.So we would like to purchase a comercial grill.We are located in Puerto Rico and are looking to buy.

    Antonia | Oct 29, 2007 | Reply

  22. Try these plans. Not the design I am looking for, but a good start. http://www.pasqualinonet.com.ar/Galeria%20parrillas.htm

    RB | Jan 10, 2008 | Reply

  23. So what’s the answer? Where can I buy a parrilla or find good plans to build one?

    Debbie K. | Jan 20, 2008 | Reply

  24. You can try here

    http://parrillasargentina.com/

    Asado Argentina | Jan 21, 2008 | Reply

  25. Hi All,
    I was wondering if anyone happens to know of a chef that is interested in working in an argentine restaurant located in long island. the name of the restaurant in Cafe Buenos Aires and our website is http://www.cafebuenosaires.net Please feel free to call 516-449-0569 if you know of an argentine chef, thank you very much in advance. please pass this on.

    Gabriel | Apr 28, 2008 | Reply

  26. I have a grill make by a company called Hasty Bake. It is a charcoal oven that has a front loading fire box with adjustable height. Seems this is exactly what is described as an asado style grill. I load wood into it from a small portable fire pit. http://www.hastybake.com or just search hasty bake on google.
    Tim

    tim | Jul 2, 2008 | Reply

  27. @tim: Those are some cool looking grills. Thanks for the comment!

    Asado Argentina | Jul 2, 2008 | Reply

  28. under the section that talks about cross grilling, it makes reference of how to build (dimensions)one. I didn’t see any instructions/dimensions. Also, Im curious how large of a pig or lamb is traditionally used on the cross grill. And how long (usually) does it take to grill a pig/lamb using this method. I notice in some pictures, there is an enclosure in front of the cross grill to helps retain heat. Are there any suggentions on dimensions for this or can it just be done in the open with a fire under it.
    thank you,
    Tim

    tim | Jul 15, 2008 | Reply

  29. Hi Tim,

    Whole young pigs, or lechon, usually run from 10 lbs. up to as much as 30lb. Whole lamb usually 18lbs. to 30lbs. Just tossing some averages out there.

    Time to cook is about 3-5 hours depending on size and preference. Again, those are just averages.

    >enclosure

    Are you talking about the ones in restaurants with the glass plates or those cooked in say a brick parrilla?

    No enclosure is needed. Just enough cleared space so that you don’t catch something on fire and can set the meat at a decent distance (usually no more than a meter but I’ve seen some put the meat right next the fire) depending on weather and how hot the fire/coals are. Some like to have the heat come solely from the fire while others like to keep the burning fire at a good distance and then extract hot coals to place near the cross.

    Next summer I’m seriously going to make an effort to cook up a lamb or pig in the countryside to document the process for here.

    Asado Argentina | Jul 18, 2008 | Reply

  30. when we talk about weights for whole pigs and lambs, are we talking about the weight of the pig when it is alive or completly butchered out for the asado/cross grill? I would think that a 100lb pig would become about 30 to 50lbs after butchering. This may be a silly question, but I just want to be clear. Also, for the fire used with the cross grill, is it better to use hard or soft wood to heat the lamb/pig. Do you know of a place in the US that sells a traditional rotory plow cooking pan?
    Thanks,
    Tim

    tim | Jul 20, 2008 | Reply

  31. With regards to the enclosure, I have seen pictures of either stone or some kind of metal sheeting used as a wind stop around the fire. I assume it is used to keep the wind from blowing the flame back at the pig on the cross. I would think it would also serve as a heat deflector, and would make the ambient temperature around the meat higher. Would this be helpful?
    Thanks again,
    Tim

    tim | Jul 20, 2008 | Reply

  32. @tim: The weight ranges I listed are of them already butchered or dressed.

    Re: type of woods = Hard woods are preferred.

    These sites sellsplow disk cookers
    http://www.southwestdisk.com/
    http://www.thewellscompany.com/contact.htm

    For the enclosures, do you have any links to these pictures?

    Sure, a lot of people fabricate some sort of wall to block the wind if they have no other suitable location for protection. But I’ve seen it more as a permanent fixture, at someone’s home, for example, than some place temporary (like out in the countryside.)
    In the countryside, most people just try to find a place where they won’t have to worry about the wind.

    I imagine it would be helpful in cooking the meat at a slightly faster rate but I doubt there would be any major difference in the final outcome. But all of that depends on the weather and how close the surface is to the meat.

    Asado Argentina | Jul 21, 2008 | Reply

  33. Thanks for the website link to the rotary plow disc cookers. Very helpful.
    Tim

    tim | Jul 21, 2008 | Reply

  34. Sorry nicolas, as I said above:

    “If you have a business than list it. Any comments asking interested buyers to email them for more info will be deleted.”

    Don’t take it personally, just something I have to do to keep spam and fraud attempts down to a minimum. If you sell them on Ebay or have a site, I can post the links.

    Asado Argentina | Aug 29, 2008 | Reply

  35. Hello:

    I would like to know of any books available about Argentinian Asado and grills.

    I would also like to have a churrascera built at my home. Any suggestions.

    Thanks in advance,

    Dan

    DANIEL BACA | Dec 13, 2008 | Reply

  36. There are a couple that you can buy through a third-party on Amazon.com and one you can buy as a pdf file. The PDF is only $4 and has some pretty good details. Like a condensed version of the 2nd one listed and has a ton of sketches.

    All are in Spanish.

    Como Construir Parrillas / How to construct Grills:

    Parrillas, Quinchos y Chimeneaas

    Hogares,parrillas y quinchos argentinos You can buy this one as an e-book pdf file.

    Asado Argentina | Dec 15, 2008 | Reply

  37. Thanks so much!

    DANIEL BACA | Dec 17, 2008 | Reply

  38. Hi. I’m thinking of buying either an off-the-shelf asadore (meaning a vertical spit) or some detailed plans for how to make one. I’ve searched the Internet but it’s really hard to find it. I have been in contact with some Argentinian companies but usually they either don’t speak English or they don’t export.
    Kind regards, Chris

    Chris | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

  39. Is there a website that shows you how to build an asado from scratch? I am building my home and want to add one of these great south american grills to my summer kitchen.
    Thank you for your help

    john | Mar 14, 2009 | Reply

  40. Hi
    Openning a new restaurant in ireland looking for heavy duty large Argentianian grills any uk contacts

    Derek Patterson | Apr 10, 2009 | Reply

  41. Hi,

    You can find some imported “parrillas” in the following link:

    http://www.ryltradingco.com

    The company is in Miami, it’s a bit expensive thought. I have more affordable parrillas with all the features, 100% imported from Argentina but I don’t have an Internet link yet. But you can inquiry.

    Regards

    Jose Mendoza | Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

  42. Hi Derek,

    For your restaurant, do you need a fixed grill or an portable one?. A 46″ wide x 24″ deep x 44″ tall assembled, weight 185 lbs, portable can be sold in the US for $3,875 without shipment and don’t require any installation. It’s heavy duty, for restaurant use. Also, a 48″ designed for permanent installation in a chimney-equipped enclosure cost US$4,700. The latter comes with a grill surface of 48″ wide by 20″ deep, with four removable V-Channel sections. In both grills, the surfaces are lifted through up to 24″ of vertical range by aircraft-grade cables running. This is made in the US of the highest quality, made to order and can be shipped to you in 6 weeks. Please let me know if you are interested in learning more. I can give you my contact details. You will buy from a 100% US company with all the warranty and security. These grills can be sold over the Internet in a secure website. These are primarily for restaurant use since the cheapest cost $2,000. Thanks

    Jose Mendoza | Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

  43. The asado grills look terribly expensive on the website you suggested to many. Basically, we have an outdoor, waist-height “fireplace” which is going to be rebuilt and expanded by a mason so that we can install something like an adjustable Argentinian grill (my husband is from Uruguay). So what we need is the hardware to go INSIDE the chimney (Uruguayan brasero and adjustable grill). Help! Do you have your own source for these items or can suggest where we should look? (Chicago)

    Alyson Breuer | Jul 5, 2009 | Reply

  44. I just returned to LA from Mendoza. I ate like a king, met many wonderful people and am now hellbent on constructing a parilla in my backyard.

    The PDF listed above is not worth the download as the info is very basic. I’ll put some drawings together (I’m an architect, so I have no excuse to not do so.), based upon info that will hopefully be emailed to me soon (from a few kind architects I met in Mendoza), and upload. I am targeting the end of September for completed drawings (I’ll add a parts list as well, in order for cost and labor to be easily calculated for others, if they are interested.)

    Bryan F | Aug 26, 2009 | Reply

  45. @Bryan F: Would be fantastic if you could provide that kind of info, thanks!

    Asado Argentina | Aug 27, 2009 | Reply

  46. I am in buenos aires now, and am going to look into shipping the hardware to my parents in the USA, to build an asado, I could ship a couple if anyone wants one, let me know….

    Todd Morrill | Apr 20, 2010 | Reply

  47. I would like to buy a Parrilla complete with the winch system for hoisting up and down.
    Would need to get this shipped to Ireland. I just need the Grill… will build my own surround from bricks.
    can anyone recommend where I can order the Grill?

    Conor | May 9, 2010 | Reply

  48. I was able to import a Parrilla to Ireland (just the grill and winch system) from http://www.hogar-21.com.ar/parrillas.html

    Really happy with the purchase and good value too. An authentic Parrilla from Buenos Aires!

    Just email Diego (he speaks english to get in touch). Very helpful and easy to deal with.

    I just have to figure out how to build the brick surround now and I’ll be bbq-ing argentine style!!

    Conor | May 28, 2010 | Reply

  49. I’ve done a lot of research trying to find a parilla style grill here in the states, and there’s really not much. The companies I’ve found are The Grillery (www.grillery.com) – beautiful but outrageously expensive; and the Aztec Grill (www.aztecgrill.com/homegrill.html) – but this one doesn’t have a way to raise the grate.

    I did discover an “American” style grill that uses hardwood and has a crank/pulley system for raising the grate, but the grate is not slanted forward and the box is not open in the front. This is called the Santa Maria Grill (www.santamariagrills.com) and is pretty close to a parilla. These are also much more affordable.

    At this point I’m trying to find a local (Portland) fabricator to construct an authentic stand alone parilla for an affordable price (<$1000). Remains to be seen if it's possible.

    Steve | Aug 4, 2010 | Reply

  50. I bought one of these in Mexico – maybe they will ship? Not expensive but works great

    http://hobbygrill.com/index.htm

    Paul | Aug 7, 2010 | Reply

  51. I too found that there were no Parrillas available in the US…..So…, I ordered and am receiving 29 of them on 5/12/2011. $649 each. They weigh 145 lbs and come in a box for easy and inexpensive shipping.

    http://www.norcalovenworks.com…….

    They are 32X20, and are similar to Parrillas Rodantes sold in Buenos Aries at La Vaca Tuerta which translates roughly as the one eyed cow.

    Gary Knackstedt | May 11, 2011 | Reply

  52. I am looking for this type of Argentinian grill that revolves around the fire on wheel or chain. can anybody help me locate a company that does this type of grill? See webpage… http://www.intersur.com.ar/asador.jpg

    Thank you

    milan | May 20, 2011 | Reply

  53. I saw this grill in a US cooking magazine. Too expensive for me.

    http://www.thegrillery.com

    Peter Kelly | May 26, 2011 | Reply

  54. hi brian, just saw your post years ago. just got back from argie with dreams of finding plans to get one made in my yard, here down under.

    If anyone can assist with drawings would be much appreciated. a shrimp on the parilla sound great!

    justin | Jul 27, 2011 | Reply

  55. I’ve seen a lot of commentary here on how to build something in the U.S. My family owns a vineyard and imports our wines to the U.S. and after longing for steaks like we eat during our visits to Mendoza, we built something that works INCREDIBLY well in our Los Angeles backyard. I can send pictures to those who are interested but there are no plans as we just eyeballed it.

    In short we used concrete block from home depot to create a staple-shaped base tower with the open part facing the cook. This base was built to about 40″ high (5×8″ blocks).

    Next we built a frame made of 2×4 screwed into and on top of a smooth plywood. The inside measurements of the rectangle at 3/4 of in less less than the depth of the concrete block structure. More on why screws later.

    We placed the frame on top of the concrete block structure and supported at all four corners. Next we filled the frame with concrete to a depth equal to the height of the 2×4 (3.5″).

    Once dry we effectively built a concrete table. Next we simply unscrewed the frame and voila…a coooking and prep surface.

    Next step to add anothr row of concrete block on top of the table-top to enclose a cooking area. Lastly, a coat of spec mix around every surface of the parilla and a fully functional, wood-burning parilla. Materials about $150, labor=free(me) and it works INCREDIBLY well. We got a camping grate to cook over and we use it once a week. Best part is the area UNDER the table top and in between the concrete blocks acts as a storage area for wood and keeps everything clean and dry. Email me for photos at matt@solsticio.com as I know a text-description is a bit difficult to understand.

    Matthew Kot | Oct 4, 2011 | Reply

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