What is South American Wood Fired Barbecue?

The differences between Patagonian Argentine BBQ and other Wood Fired Grills. 

Diving into the distinctions between Patagonian Argentine BBQ and other wood-fired grills sheds light on their unique traits. Seeking clarity? You're in the right place. Wood-burning barbecues vary widely across the globe. California boasts its claim to fame with Santa Maria BBQ, cooking Tri-Tip over coastal red oak in an enclosed firebox, imparting a distinct smoky flavor that sets it apart. Meanwhile, Texas Smoked Barbecue stands tall with its beloved Smoked Brisket, smoked for hours to achieve that coveted smoke ring.

But how does Latin American barbecue, particularly in Argentina and Uruguay, differ despite their shared use of fire for roasting meat? The divergence lies in the process compared to Santa Maria and Texas BBQ. In Uruguay, one significant difference lies in the Brasero, akin to a charcoal chimney but utilizing wood instead of coals. This Brasero serves the sole purpose of creating embers.

To ignite the fire in the Brasero, a mix of cooking oil and newspaper is used. Care is taken not to overfill it, leaving air pockets for the fire to breathe. Once ignited, let it burn for 30-45 minutes until embers fall onto the split fire bricks. Once a substantial amount of embers is generated, slide them under the grill grate using an ember tool, preparing the grill for cooking. These embers ensure a consistent cooking temperature and offer a more forgiving cooking experience compared to direct flames.

Understanding the use of an ember maker leads to insights into why it's employed and its benefits. In Argentina, where a love for meat runs deep, the idea of smoke touching the meat is frowned upon. The Brasero significantly reduces the amount of overwhelming smoke that touches the meat, allowing the purest meat taste with subtle hints of smoke flavor. This cooking style, beloved by Asadors (grillmasters), is prevalent in households across the region, delivering a culinary experience that celebrates the essence of the meat without overpowering smoke. 

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