ChimichurriMemorial Day is this weekend, the barbecue season officially starts, and lots of folks will be firing up the grill. We are big fans of BBQ in the Pence family: Texas Style, Memphis Style, Carolina Style, Teriyaki, Dry Rub, Wet Mop. It’s all good. My husband’s take on what constitutes great BBQ however is a bit off the beaten path.

After graduating from college, my better half spent several years in the Peace Corps in Uruguay where they take their BBQ seriously. Throughout Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil what we call BBQ they call Asado. For some, it is more than a traditional style of cooking; it is a religious experience. Add in the fact that some of the worlds best beef is comes from that region, and you have a recipe for some mind-blowingly good eatin’.

Asado is prepared on an open outdoor grill called a parilla. Grilling is one of the favorite events at family reunions, parties and other celebrations. And it will often include more than just the usual cuts of meat: from nose to tail and everything in between. My husband’s favorite? BBQ short ribs known as asado de tira.

As a rule, Uruguayan chefs in charge of the Asado prefer to maintain the integrity and the flavor of the meats they prepare, and refuse to place them in heavy sauces or marinades. Just salt and pepper baby! Once it’s off the grill though is when, in my mind, the good stuff happens. Can you say Chimmichurri?

You will find this condiment everywhere you find grilled meats in South America. Though the ingredients may change depending on locality, the basics will always be the same: olive oil, parsley and oregano. Chimmichurri has become somewhat trendy in recent years to the point that there are a number of bottled options available. Not all of them are good, and because of this most people are turned off by it. The best bottled Chimmichurri I have found is from Goucho Ranch and we carry it in our marinade section in front of the meat counter.

If you really want to know what Chimmichurri should taste like, try the recipe below. This one comes courtesy of the book Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by award winning Argentine chef Francis Mallman. If you want to make your grilling adventure even more authentic, try grilling one of the Estancia Uruguayan Rib eyes or New York steaks that we carry in our meat department.

No matter what you choose to grill or not grill, I wish you all a great Memorial Day and would like to send out a big THANK YOU to those who gave us the freedom to enjoy it!

Happy Memorial Day!  

From Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallman

From gaucho campfires to society weddings, you can always find chimichurri in Argentina. The basics- olive oil, parsley, and oregano- never vary but the rest is up to the ingenuity of the chef and local tradition. Chimichurri changes from town to town. Sometimes I worry that since the world has discovered it, it will get “gourmet-ized” until it’s unrecognizable. At a Latin American-themed James Beard Award evening in New York City, I couldn’t believe what some of the chefs had done with it: mango, strawberries, mint! I was so sad, I wanted to crawl inside my oven. Invention is fine, but you have to stay true to the original idea. My variation on the theme is fresh herbs instead of dried, which is what the gauchos use.

1 Makes about 2 cups

For the Salmuera
1 cup water
1 tablespoon coarse salt

1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

To make the salmuera, bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the salt and stir until it dissolves. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Mince the garlic very fine and put in a medium bowl. Mince the parsley and oregano and add to the garlic, along with the red pepper flakes. Whisk in the red wine vinegar and then the olive oil. Whisk in the
salmuera. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid, and keep in the refrigerator.

Chimichurri is best prepared at least 1 day in advance, so that the flavors have a chance to blend.The chimichurri can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 to 3 weeks.


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