What to Order at a Parrilla

(Photo by Ostrosky Photos)

Argentine beef is renowned world wide for its quality and flavor so it’s only logical that it be such a hit with visitors to the country.  Parrillas however, offer much more than just beef, as a real asado also include offals (achuras) and delicacies such as Chorizo and Morcilla  (find a full list of translated meat cuts here.).  Below is a list of the 10  most common asado specials.

Provoleta– Served at the beginning of the asado whilst the rest sizzles, this is actually not meat but a tasty cheese. Never mind, it goes on the grill all the same and is topped with a bit of olive oil and oregano.

Chorizo– Many have written about the Argentine chorizo and the famous choripan, and for good reason. This tasty  grilled sausage is a parrilla favorite and a must try for visitors. It’s close relative, the salchicha parrillera, is also well worth trying.

Morcilla– Better known in English as blood sausage or blood pudding, this soft and dark delicacy, may not be for the squeamish but it is a delicious complement to the perfect asado. Not to be missed.

Chinchulin– It’s name comes from the Quechua word chunchul, meaning, intestine, and that’s exactly what it is, but don’t crinkle your nose until you’ve squeezed some lemon juice on it and tried it. It has a unique flavor and texture and is the favorite “achura” of many.

Molleja– This truly delicious asado staple is not as easy to get right, in terms of preparation, as others, so try it at a reputed parrilla where they’re sure to follow all the necessary procedures for perfect texture and flavor.  Squeeze a lemon and enjoy!

Riñon– Another favorite, but completely different in texture and flavor to chinchulines and mollejas is the kidney. They are especially tasty with a bit of provenzal sauce (parsley, garlic and oil) on top.

Tira de Asado: As it’s name suggests in Spanish (in English rack of ribs) this is a tasty asado classic. It is a good cut for those who enjoy their meat well done.

Vacio: or Flank steak is another very common asado cut. It is enjoyed both well done and medium rare, and is also commonly prepared in the oven with potatoes during the winter.

Entraña: Although traditionally this cut wasn’t  as often included in asados  as others, it has recently become very popular and for good reason. It is both low in fat and juicy at the same time, and is the perfect cut for those who like their meat medium rare or rare.

Bife: Steak, finally, the most well known cut. Sirloin steak (bife de chorizo) is the most common, and can be eaten well done, or rare. It can be ordered in two ways, either sliced in half and open, which is called mariposa (butterfly), or as it comes, in a slightly thicker version.  Tenderloin (bife de lomo) is a delicacy and considered to be THE finest meat cut.

The Choripan: A True Argentine Staple

(Photo by longhorndave)

Eating a choripan on your trip to Argentina is mandatory if you truly want to know what the locals are all about.

What is a choripan? It’s grilled chorizo sausage (that’s the chori bit) in a bun (the pan).

This caloric and flavorful sandwich is frequently an asado appetizer, a construction worker or taxi drivers lunch, a football game hunger killer (for the cheering crowds),  and a political gift for attendees at rallies and events. As those who know Argentina can testify to, a very local picture.

So where can you get a choripan? Basically anywhere in the city! In a parrilla of course, outside football matches, along side the costanera in front of Aeroparque, in Palermo close to the Planetarium, alongside the ecological reserve, at the San Telmo fair, the Mataderos fair, and the list goes on and on.

A good option is EL PUESTITO DEL TIO, a parrilla cart on Dorrego 4050, Palermo, and of course don’t forget to complement with some typical Chimichurri sauce!