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Argentine Beef


beef argentina delicious

Even if you’ve never fancied beef before, anyone who has passed through Argentina is bound to find themselves hankering for a large hunk of meat. This Argentine meat-eating culture is to blame for many vegetarians who fall off the wagon while in the country. There is something about Argentine beef that lures the casual visitor with its rich, charcoal-brazed waft. It’s not uncommon for travelers to claim, without exaggeration, that they “ate and drank their way through Buenos Aires.”

One of the reasons Argentine beef tastes so good is because the free-range cattle feast on nutrient-filled pampas and organic grains. They are fed little to zero corn feed and are not pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones like their American and European cattle cousins, allowing for their transformations into thick, flavorful slabs of meat. While the cuts of steak would almost be worth chomping into raw, it is the way Argentines cook the beef that really makes it so flavorful. Only salt and sometimes lemon juice is added to the steak before it is thrown on the grill (a la parrilla). The meat is slowly cooked as so to retain the natural juices and flavors.

Unless you meet a local who invites you to a family barbecue, you’ll likely be seeking out restaurants on your own. Buenos Aires is filled with an abundance of five-star bistros and hole-in-the-wall parrilla joints. The finest cuts of beef generally have the highest price tags; however, since the Argentine peso took a dive in 2001, the price is still quite low. The most popular cut is bife de chorizo, a steak cut off the rib and equivalent to rump or sirloin. Unlike many other countries, cheaper cuts like shank and brisket are well-received by porteños. Called churrasco, these cuts are inexpensive, but full of flavor.

A grilled steak with a bottle of red wine only will cost you about $13. To indulge in a five-star meal worthy for a king, but economical enough for a backpacker, get to Buenos Aires as quickly as you can.

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28 Sep 2010

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