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All About Asado, Argentina’s Iconic Wood-Grilled Beef

Photography: Tara Donne / Food Styling: Chris Lanier / Prop Styling: Christina Lane

It might be summer in Argentina right now, but a hearty beef parrillada (or mixed grill) is the country’s favorite meal year-round. Along with Uruguay, Argentina consumes the most beef per capita of any country in the world, usually around 100 lbs. a year per person, depending on your source.

“In Argentina, asado is a tradition whose rituals, mysteries and lore rival any organized religion,” says John Manion, the Brazil-raised chef-owner of Chicago’s El Che Steakhouse & Bar, which interprets asado for U.S. diners. “It harkens back to the gauchos raising cattle on the pampa, and it permeates nearly every facet of society.”