We spent many years of our lives in Argentina between Buenos Aires, Las Leñas & Mendoza in fact today it is the country where I have spent more time then any other country – so yes an everlasting mark by my querido Argentina on this traveling island boy.

Over those years I worked with and am friends with many of Argentina’s great Chefs – from Gato Dumas (RIP), Francis Mallmann, Ramiro Rodríguez Pardo, Fernando Trocca, Pablo Massey, Pobre Luis (RIP), Luisa Gonzalez Urquiza, China Müller, Ale Escudero, Juan Guizzo, Hernan Taiana, Maxi López to name but a few.

Through many a asado with family and friends and tips from my friends I have become a passionate parillero o griller!

When in Argentina, devouring a steak or three is inevitable, but which cuts should you choose – and why? Allow me to share my favourites cuts of Argentine meat.

 

ENTRAÑA OR SKIRT

Back in the day in Argentina, entraña (skirt) was basically considered an organ was a cut that butchers used to give away to their preferred clients. Entraña was the butcher’s gift while parsley was the greengrocer’s because Argentines didn’t tend to buy those products; they’d serve entraña after kidneys and other organs but before the main meat dish. It wasn’t until about 15 years ago that entraña became trendy and a dish of its own accord. A longish, thin steak, you should be able to see the juices run. I eat entraña medium rare, right after chorizo sausage

Pairing: always a young Malbec. One of my favourites from Bodega Zuccardi

BIFE DE CHORIZO OR SIRLOIN/NEW YORK STRIP

“It doesn’t matter with whom you eat a bife de chorizo, the most important thing is how it’s cooked. Good technique has to be applied as this is a thick cut; it needs to be cooked over a high heat then cooled down and rested a little in order to be served. Bife de chorizo stands out for its texture and juiciness; use a sharp-edged steak knife for your best eating experience.

Pairing: a Malbec – my favourite Catena Alta Malbec

VACÍO DEL FINO OR FLANK

“I really like this thin piece of flank that’s found underneath the vacío; it’s also known as zapatilla. It has all the texture or regular flank but you can cook it quite quickly like a bife de chorizo. It’s a largepiece that takes centre stage on the dining table and should be shared between several hungry people.”

Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

LECHÓN OR SUCKLING PIG

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Many years ago some Family and friends will remember I bought a pre cooked Lechón from Novillo Alegre o feed the Fiji Seven a side team in Punta del Este – I never did that again – I do my own lechon

In Argentina, usually use 10-kilo or 12-kilo suckling pig on special occasions such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve – actually, I think we should enjoy it any time of year! I love the fact we share it, eating the whole animal; and I particularly love pork ribs. Suckling pig is a ritual in Argentina and we had many from our oven in Mendoza

Pairing: a lighter red such as Bonarda

ASADO DE TIRA OR SHORT RIBS

“Also known as tira de asado, short ribs are best enjoyed among a group of friends at an asado (barbecue). I particularly like them at the end of a meal, when I’m still a bit peckish and could do with one or two more bones to chew on. They’re also delicious cold! If there are any leftovers from lunch, they are perfect cold later that evening. Best served medium.”

Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

OJO DE BIFE – RIB EYE

Without doubt my favourite cut both to cook and taste wise. Plenty of heat on your grill and watch the fat. Always a whole piece and cook with patience passion and love – some salt the meat after I prefer before cooking – In fact, grilling great boneless rib eye is a simple procedure as long as you get the grill hot enough and allow the steak to rest after cooking.

Pairing: Bramare by Paul Hobbs

Prepare your Parrilla well plenty of wood enjoy the moment

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