Over the last few months, we have featured a few different cooking styles in our blog, including the traditional South African Braai, the British BBQ and we have even dedicated an entire article to building your own wood-fired pizza oven.
Today we will talk about an incredibly unique method of wood fired cooking; the traditional open flame Asado.
What is an Asado you may ask?
The Spanish word Asado refers to the technique and the social event of having or attending a barbecue in various South American countries, especially Argentina and Uruguay where it is also a traditional event.
An Asado usually consists of beef, pork, chicken, chorizo and morcilla sausages which are cooked on a grill called a parrilla, or an open fire (whereby the meat is skewered on a metal frame and is roasted by placing it next to a slow-burning fire). The meat is prepared by a person who is the assigned asador.
Usually, the asador begins by igniting his fire, which is often made of hardwood because it is very dense and smokes very little. Once the hot coals are ready, cooking can be done in two different methods:
al asador - a fire is made on the ground or in a fire pit and surrounded by metal crosses (asadores) that hold the entire carcass of an animal splayed open to receive the heat from the fire. In South Africa this is also known as a “Spit Braai.”
a la parrilla - a fire is made and after the embers have formed, a grill with the meat is placed over it.
Recently, Firemasters have started working together with a few specialist Asado grill manufacturers, collaborating on various installations on different projects across the UK. Our authentic Namibian hardwood is perfect for Asado due to its high density and low moisture content. Since we are officially into peak barbecue season, we thought it only fitting to share a bit about these wood-fired cooking gurus and what their various pieces of kit can do for you this summer!
Californian Grills is a Kent based company that designs and fabricates their barbecues based upon the Santa Maria style grills which originated in the Santa Maria Valley in central California (where co-founders Karen and Steve Bryant both lived for two years).
Traditionally, Santa Maria grills date back to the mid-1800s when the land was still owned by Mexico. Ranchers in the Santa Maria Valley would host feasts for the cowboys, family and friends, barbecuing meat over earthen pits filled with hot coals of dense hardwood.
Steve was raised in California and considers Santa Maria style barbecues as one of the greatest legacies from that era (and which have also become California’s signature style of cooking meat over fire).
Karen was raised in the Copperbelt, Zambia, and has a firm grasp of the South African “braai” as well as the benefits of cooking over premium Namibian hardwood.
You can learn more about their Santa Maria range on the Californian Grills website.
Fuegos is an authentic Argentina BBQ brand that has recently launched right here in the UK. The team specialise in handmade premium quality Barbecues and Grills. Their unique collection of grills ranges from their entry level IVAR Barbecue retailing at £500, all the way up to their world-famous RODEO PRO Barbecue with a much larger price tag of £4400. These are serious toys for serious Asado enthusiasts!
Firemasters works in collaboration with Fuegos UK in bringing premium quality hardwood to a premium Asado community in the UK.
You can learn more about their premium product range on their website.
Firemasters have been working together with Savage BBQ, recently installing a Fire Cage (aka “The Beast”) at a destination restaurant in Kent. The Three Mariners pub in Oare recently approached us to assist with their bespoke outdoor kitchen and built an entirely new menu around the open fire cooking methods of the traditional Asado. Firemasters consulted with and provided basic wood-fire training for the chefs at the restaurant and assisted with the configuration of their Fire Cage as well as the supply of premium Kameeldoring & Sekelbos hardwood for their grills and pizza ovens.
Our good friend (and skilled outdoor cook) Guy Truelock over at The Savanna Kitchen provided keen insight to the overall training process and even supplied Chef Darren and Chef Dan with some fantastic cuts of fresh Kentish venison which went down very well on the braai!
If you are looking for an authentic gastro pub in Kent, be sure to check out The Three Mariners.
For more information on the Fire Cage and other services by Savage BBQ click here.
We recently started working with Sizzle Grills founder David who has spent more than a decade in Argentina learning the true art of slow cooking meat over an open fire.
His sturdy parrilla barbecues are made of mild steel (which conducts heat far better than stainless steel) and manufactured locally in Kent with distribution across the UK and EU.
David also runs a unique Asado cookery course from two different picturesque locations in the Cornish Sticks that runs over a full day spent lighting fires and grilling animals on the ground – a truly primitive experience.
For more information on Sizzle Grills and the Asado cookery course please visit David’s website.
Somerset Grill Co.
The ‘Somerset Grill Company’ was started by brothers Ben and Tom, with the simple aim of designing and building high-quality, affordable Asado style grills and in the process converting people to the joys of Argentinian live-fire cooking.
The idea for ‘The Somerset Grill Company’ came about during Ben’s 10 years as a Navigation Officer in the British Merchant Navy. During his time onboard the 126m Motor Yacht Octopus, he learnt about live fire cooking in the shape of a custom-made Asado style Grill, rumoured to have cost around $30,000. Tasting the food from this grill blew Ben’s mind and after converting his brother Tom, an engineer, to the joys of ‘Asado’ cooking, the idea of ‘The Somerset Grill Company’ was born.
They set out to design an Asado grill that was in reach of all BBQ enthusiasts and would fit perfectly in anyone's garden, providing a variety of live-fire cooking methods. Three prototypes and many designs later, 'The Glastonbury Asado Grill' was born.
‘The Glastonbury Asado Grill’ provides you with the perfect live-fire Argentinian Grill experience and works best when cooking over Firemasters red-hot Namibian hardwood embers.
Click here to learn more about Somerset Grills and their exclusive 10% discount on pre-orders for this summer.
The mastery of fire is considered to be one of the most pivotal moments in the history of humankind, providing safety, warmth and a communal place for social interactions within the tribe.
If you haven’t already converted to cooking on authentic Namibian hardwood, then click here to begin your journey to becoming a Firemaster this summer!