What does "asado" mean?

Photography: Lauren Haire

What do I do with the cuts of beef labelled "asado" I see at my local butchery? 

Asado is not actually a cut of meat, but the Spanish (or, more particularly, Argentinian) term for barbecue. What you need to know, however, is that in Argentina, an asado or barbecue is never a gas one; it's wood and charcoal and the cooking would better be described as open-air roasting or slow char-grilling. The cuts in Australia that suit this style of cooking include hanger, skirt, flank, short ribs and oyster blade. A true Argentinian asado will also include chorizo and probably offal. In a butcher's window the most likely cut to be labelled asado would be short ribs, but the others will work just as well.

Most of these cuts need to be cooked gently.

They're not suitable for cooking rare or blue because they tend to have some chewy connective tissue, so you'll have to take them to medium rare or medium, turning frequently so all the delicious juices stay inside. You want to cook them until you get a lovely crisp and smoky exterior. Make sure you have some delicious piquant chimichurri to stay in theme, or perhaps a good sharp mustard. As is frequently the case in Argentina, the salad is entirely optional.

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