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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.

See alsoChurrasco; Gaucho.


Félix Coluccio, Diccionario folklórico argentino, vol. 1 (1964), pp. 27-28.

Richard W. Slatta, Gauchos and the Vanishing Frontier (1983), p. 76.

Additional Bibliography

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