Tell any Argentinian that an Asado is “basically a barbeque” and you are setting yourself up for raw humiliation. For this proud nation of meat-lovers, it is so much more. No one appreciates this sentiment more than Francis Mallmann, who is an expert in this field – literally.
Celebrity chef Mallman recently sat down with GQ and gave the lowdown on what it takes to become a king of the Asado. For the star of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, it is so much more than just grilling top quality meat (although that is a massive part of it). Preparing an Asado is like being the host of a show.
For Mallmann, being a good host requires a ton of patience and an ability to stay calm, even when you think everything’s going wrong. “You will go nowhere without that,” he said.
“It’s the beauty of saying, ‘I’m gonna do a barbecue for my friends, and I have the time, and I’m going to put my hours into this in a very nice way.’ Getting organized is very important.”
One of the key ingredients to Mallman’s recipe for success is organization: to make sure that everything you need is there, ready for you to start the show. “You make a list of everything you need, you take it out, and you put it on a nice table in the shade, and you start working from there on,” he said.
As for the quality of the ingredients, Mallmann believes that it’s better to have a small amount of good stuff than a lot of sub-par components. “Then, from there on, I think it would be – I would say wood and charcoal, use very good wood and charcoal,” he said.
One thing is for sure: Mallmann is very particular when it comes to his choice of wood. “I think, in America, oak is very good, but it has to be seasoned, meaning that it has to be very dry,” he said. “Then, use whatever pure hardwood charcoal you can find, but not the little briquettes.”
“Then, you know, the next question is if you’re cooking on a Weber with a lid on top, or you’re cooking on a grill. That makes a big difference. It’s not that one thing is better than another, but you have to decide what sort of equipment you’re going to have for your grilling.”