The Meaty Beginning:
Whenever I walk around my neighbourhood, visit friends, a park or almost anywhere, as soon as I get the slightest hint of that distinctive smell of meat being cooked over charcoal, I’m in a trance. A sort of ‘BBQ trance’ – if there is such a thing.
Without fail the first words I blurt out, after a few deep sniffs, is, ‘Someone’s cooking a BBQ’. It doesn’t take long for the connection to be made:
BBQ smells + meat + charcoal = An Argentine asado (BBQ).
Of course, chances are living in a vibrant multicultural city that same charcoal smell could be coming from any other type of BBQ.
The point is, barbequing, of any type evokes the same images and memories for me. That classic Argentine BBQ. Huge and long strips of succulent beef ribs, whole chickens, beef skirt, juicy steaks, offal and more all grilling away in harmony over a charcoal grill.
My earliest BBQ memories were of my dad, when he’d make them at home usually on a Sunday afternoon. In fact, one of the best BBQ meals I’ve ever had (and still remember to this day), was one that he’d made on the spur of the moment. I even remember the year, it was 1999.
As I got older, I began to experiment making my own BBQs. I didn’t want them to be hit or miss. I wanted to hit the mark every time.
What was driving me? Some call it an obsession; others (a little nicer) call it a passion. But I say it’s a little bit of both. Anyone who’s travelled or lived in Argentina would know that barbecuing and eating meat is a national obsession.
I love that many cultures embrace the same passion to barbecuing as we Argentinians do. Europeans, both North and other South Americans love to BBQ, as do Aussies and New Zealanders, even most Asian cultures love to BBQ. Each country has their own unique flavours, styles and BBQs.