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Cooking Cowboys

In anticipation of the barbecues to come this weekend, I thought I’d post Connie McCabe’s Saveur piece, The Capital of Beef about the Argentine Pampa.  Watching guachos Vicente Monte and José María Gallardo prepare a roast, she writes:

When the fire is nothing but glowing ash, Monte retrieves his saddlebag and pulls out a plastic bag of salt and three loosely wrapped pieces of beef. Placing one thick steak and two narrow strips of meaty ribs on the burnished leather, he seasons the flesh with salt, threads it all onto the skewer,and perches it on the supports near the heat.

The beef sizzles and sweats, and fat beads up on the surface and drips to the ground. Occasionally the skewer is turned. When Gallardo believes the meat to be sufficiently seared on the outside and properly cooked on the inside, he pulls off a strip and slices between the bones. Then he cuts off chunks of the steak, balances the pieces on the blade of his knife, and passes them around. The meat, juicy and chewy with a crisp, salty crust, is intoxicating, everything a proper steak should be. This is roasted meat in its purest form.

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