How to Host an Argentinean Asado

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The Argentinean asado is not just a barbecue. It is the nucleus of passion and everything important to Argentineans.

On weekends in Argentina, spending time with family and friends begins Sunday morning and lasts well into the evening.

Argentineans gather in backyards, parks, country houses or anywhere they can host an open fire pit. It is the most important event in the weekend and no weekend is truly complete without it.

Perhaps it’s why I found food in Argentina underwhelming. The best food isn’t in a restaurant but at home with family and friends. The asado is an art and Argentineans know how to do it well.

MAKE IT AT HOME: Chimichurri Recipe

Argentina is known for its beef, while you can find great steakhouses in Buenos Aires, the truly best steak in the city will be with a local Porteño. 

So grab your Argentina travel guide and start brushing up on your lunfardo (Argentinean slang) to make friends quickly and get invited to the weekend asado, it is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of Buenos Aires.

Even if you don’t have a ticket to Buenos Aires in your future, there’s no reason not to borrow the passion from Argentina. Skip the boring burger and hot dogs and host an Argentinean asado.


How to host an Argentinean asado. It's not just a barbecue in Argentina, although there are rules for an asado they are easy to learn to have one at home.

What is an Asado

At its most basic an asado is a barbecue cooked over an open fire grill, called a parrilla. Authentically you need a brick parrilla or a grate over a wood fire.

It’s not tough to build, although if you live in the city like us you may have to settle for a regular barbecue.

If you have the space to build a parilla designate someone to be the asador as one person is responsible for grilling the meat and this is a real commitment.

The asado begins early in the day because the meat isn’t cooked over direct flame, but over hot embers.


Chimichurri on choripan at at Argentinean asado.

What to Cook at an Argentinean Asado

Building a great fire to cook meat takes time. But that doesn’t mean you stand around and wait all day for the food. In fact there are several courses of things to eat before you actually eat:

Picadas are snacks that begin the day, a simple meat and cheese board that may also include pickles or bread.

Once the fire gets going it’s time for some food that can be quickly grilled while working on bigger pieces of meat:

Provoleta: An argentine provolone cheese drizzled with oil and herbs and lightly grilled.
Mollejas: sweetbreads (thymus gland) tossed with a bit of lemon, chinchulin (small intestine)
Choripan: pork sausage on a bun
Morcilla: black pudding sausage
Empanadas: with a number of fillings


Learn how to host an authentic Argentinean asado with these simple tips of what kinds of beef to get, side dishes and what to drink!

Parillada Mixta – the Star of the Show

This is a mixed grill, the meat isn’t marinated or prepared beforehand other than seasoned before it goes on the grill. At an Argentinean asado there are many cuts of meat:

Bife ancho: rib-eye steak
Bife de chorizo: without a bone this sirloin steak is popular at an asado
Bife de Costilla:  T-bone
Bola de Lomo: sirloin tip
Colita de Cuadril: tri-tip
Cuadril:  rump roast
Entraña: skirt steak
Lomo: tenderloin
Pecho: brisket
Tira de asado: short ribs cut in the English style are wildly popular in Argentina and no asado is complete without them.
Vacio: flank steak


Side Dishes at an Argentinean Asado

Sides are simple with baguettes and buns chimichurri (check out our 60 second chimichurri recipe with video) and the simplest green salad of lettuce and tomato tossed with oil and salt.


What about Vegetarians?

Argentines are known for their amazing beef not their amazing vegetable dishes.

You can find grilled tomatoes, onions, and eggplant. Smashed potatoes are a great accompaniment and Argentines love cutting a red pepper in half and cooking an egg in it.


Choripan is essential for an asado, Learn what else you need to host an Argentinean asado.

What to Drink at an Argentinean Asado

There are three drinks you’ll always find at an asado:

  1. water
  2. fernet and coke
  3. Malbec wine

While Malbec is originally from France, nearly 70% of the vineyards that produce Malbec are in Argentina and the region made Malbec popular.

Graffigna is a premium winemaker from Argentina with over 145 years of winemaking.

It pairs well with the smokey and fat of great beef at an asado but it’s also fantastic with lamb, poultry and spicy food.

Also check out Will’s post for more great Argentina travel tips.


Steak, red wine and the passion of Argentines, you can’t beat an asado.

Is there anything we missed that belongs in an argentinean asado please let us know in the comments below.


Images (c) Jesús Dehesa

Forget burgers and hot dogs, no weekend is complete in Argentina without an Argentinean asado. It's not just an Argentinean bbq but so much more. It's easy to recreate it at home with this asado guide.

Join the Conversation

  1. Oh how much I miss a good Argentinean Asado. I lived in Argentina 3 months a couple of years ago and I loved being together at an asado and of course drinking mate together as well. They have an awesome group culture in my opinion.

  2. I still dream about Argentine BBQ long after my visit to the country … thanks for bringing those memories flooding back!

  3. Ivan Jordon says:

    I don’t know what an Argentinean asado is. But it looks real yummy..

  4. The Finer Cookie/Kim says:

    I was once invited to an Asado, and I can tell you I’ll never forget it. It was just like you described. I never considered hosting one of my own, but why not? You write beautifully and the photos are great. Thanks for this great post.

  5. Samantha @mykitchenlove says:

    So informative! I love the idea behind an asado. Family, friends, food and wine sound like the perfect all Sunday event to me

  6. Marie-Pierre Breton says:

    Ok! I need to visit Argentina ASAP and crash a nice sunday family event in order to get the best asado;) Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Nicoletta @sugarlovespices says:

    These shots are gorgeous! Love the story behind the asado and I’m pretty sure the best are cooked at family/friends gatherings. My husband would be a perfect asador 🙂 !

  8. I loved this! Charcoal grilling is the best, this is a summer BBQ done right. Thanks for the wonderful ideas for my next get together.

  9. Colleen Milne says:

    Beautiful photos, and great story! I hope to attend an asado one day in our travels, now a little more educated. Thank you!

  10. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) says:

    What a fabulous post – I’ve never been to Argentina but my brother in law is Argentinian and my sister spends a lot of time there and I hear a lot about the wonderful asados. I’m hungry for this and it’s only 8am!!

  11. Mairead Rodgers says:

    I had no idea what and Argentinean asado was, so thanks for enlightening me! Love learning about other cultures through their food.

  12. I need to attend an asado – these dishes all sound amazing!

  13. Great information i love the idea sending with family,friends and food sounds prefect

  14. Rick Stevens says:

    Wow, reading this made me hungry!

  15. This makes me wish I had Argentinian neighbors so I could crash their Asado. Lovely post and very informative!

  16. Natasha Glover says:

    I love asado and this Argentine recipe is delicious.

  17. You’re making me hungry! And also wishing I knew someone hosting an Asado!

  18. Sean@Diversivore says:

    I was only passingly familiar with asado and the dishes served at it, so I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity. Between the empanads and the sweetbreads and (of course) the chimichurri, I was pretty impressed by everything going on here. It certainly sounds amazing – and it certainly sounds like dining family-style is the way to go. Cheers.

  19. We love asado ! It’s an amazing moment to share with friends. We did a lot of asado in Argentina, Paraguay and Chile but winter is here … So sad. Thanks for the tips 😉

  20. Blood sausage is huge on asados.
    Great article!
    I lived there for 5 years and I’ve never tasted better beef.
    Crush it Dave!

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