Huge herds of wild cattle roamed much of the pampa until the mid-nineteenth century. Inhabitants of the Río de la Plata, especially the equestrian gaucho, developed a fondness for beef, especially asado, which is roasted beef (or lamb or goat). The meat, often a side of ribs, is skewered on a metal frame called an asador and is roasted by placing it next to a slow-burning fire. Gauchos favored cooking asado with the wood of the quebracho tree because it smokes very little. Asado, accompanied by maté tea, formed the basis of the gaucho diet; this technique is still used today. In Brazil, the cooking style is known as churrasco and in Peru it can take the form of pot roast.
Félix Coluccio, Diccionario folklórico argentino, vol. 1 (1964), pp. 27-28.
Richard W. Slatta, Gauchos and the Vanishing Frontier (1983), p. 76.
Assunção, Fernando O. Historia del gaucho: El gaucho, ser y quehacer. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claridad, 1999.
Foster, David William, Melissa Fitch Lockhart, and Darrell B. Lockhart. Culture and Customs of Argentina. West-port: Greenwood Press, 1998.
Mayo, Carlos A. Vivir en la frontera: La casa, la dieta, la pulpería, la escuela (1770–1870). Buenos Aires: Editorial Biblos, 2000.
Nogués, Jacinto P. El asado argentino. Buenos Aires: Imaginador, 2003.
Richard W. Slatta