Wooden plates are the perfect ware for grilled meats. Rustic-style simplicity at its best. If the wood itself doesn’t absorb those wildly flowing juices that might otherwise create an unwanted broth pool for your chunk of meat to swim in, the surrounding moat will act as a second line of defense. Not that those juices are always bad, but more times than not, they dilute that crunchy exterior and smoky flavor that we have all come to love. Additionally, everyone is spared from those horrible screechy noises we have all come to hate from rigorous steak knife carving on hard surface plates.
From time to time, I get asked by those who have traveled to Argentina about where one could acquire those circular wooden plates that are ever so popular at asados and some restaurants. Either the small plates as pictured on the bife de chorizo post or the larger version as pictured on the colita de cuadril post. The latter is not ideal for use as individual plates, more for cutting and serving meat or pizza. Also, a few have asked about the wooden plates in the asadoware post. Those were custom-made for me but similar versions can be found throughout Argentina as well. To save time, I figure it is best to write about these wonderful plates here instead of repeating the same answers over and over through e-mail.
For those who would like to purchase those circular wooden plates, with the moat along the outer edge, I’m really not sure where or if you can get them in your location. Here are some suggestions…
Find a good carpenter, cabinet maker, or any type of wood craftsman to do the task. This may be expensive but you’ll definitely get what you want.
Dig around online. Time consuming, and difficult at times, but they are out there. Whether or not you can actually get your hands on them is another story. I’ve seen them available from time to time on auction sites such as DeRemate.com.ar and Mercadolibre.com.ar. The problem with those sites is that, first, you or someone you know, needs to be able to read and/or communicate in Spanish. Second, you may not be able to pay from your location or have them shipped to your location due to a variety of reasons such as customs, shipping restrictions, payment options, etc. Another solution would be to browse through a manufacturer directory such as Alibaba.com. If you decide to use any of these services, buy at your own risk.
In Argentina. Now, if you plan on returning to Argentina, or for those of you readers who plan on traveling to Argentina for the first time, the circular plates are super easy to find. Almost every medium to large supermarket carries them in the household goods section. If supermarkets aren’t your thing, just hit up one of the many many bazaar shops that sell everything under the sun. In Buenos Aires you can practically find those shops at every other block on major streets.
Another solution. I found these marvelous looking steak plates on Amazon.com that are 11 in. x 13 in. (28cm x 33cm) in size. They’re made from acacia wood, and if you don’t know already, is a species that bears high quality woods used for furniture and cutting boards. Therefore, and although these plates are pricey, if you take good care of them, I’m sure they’ll last a long time. The average thickness of the typical Argentinean wooden plate is about .5 inches (1.27 cm). These plates on Amazon.com have a height of .75 inches (1.9cm) but-and I’m just judging by the photo-the usable surface area appears to be about .5 inches thick. Also, like my plates, you have a both a grooved area for meat and a space for salads, potatoes, bread, etc. Although I can not personally vouch for their quality, and obviously they are not the circular variety, they do seem like a great option for those who want wooden steak plates in the U.S.
You can buy the Wooden Steak Plates Here. Price at time of post: $15.95 each