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Asado: Uruguay’s National Dish

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Asado: Uruguay’s National Dish

Perhaps Uruguay’s main dish and probably the most well-known Uruguayan food in the world is the “asado”. Unlike other countries of Latin America where the diet revolves mostly around legumes and cereals (essentially corn, beans and rice), in Uruguay the great availability of red meats makes asado a central culinary expression of our culture and identity.

Uruguay’s meat is famous not only for its quality, but for its style of preparation. Uruguayan asado consists of a specific variety of meats called “tira de asado” consisting of garlic sausages and other meats, cooked over firewood in special furnaces locally called “parrilleros” which are typical in Uruguay.

This form of preparation over a clean burning, wood-based fire produces flavors you just cannot achieve on a gas stove or in an electric oven. Flavor-rich dried oak, pecan, and hickory woods provide amazing tastes not soon to be forgotten. Asado cooking involves constantly moving embers from the firebox in the center of the center of the parrilla out towards the under side of the grilling areas. Not many tools are used.

This Uruguayan food owes its magic not only to the food itself, but also to the form in which the Uruguayan people manage to come together and usually eat it together, often playing ” truco”, a typical card game of Uruguay, making Asados a social activity. An asado is like the hearth in a living room, a gathering place for people.

In Uruguay, Asado is prepared about 2 times per week in most homes and is a central part of the Uruguayan culture.

Here is a video from the famous Mercado Del Puerto in Montevideo, Uruguay: