You might also hear the term used to describe the style of barbecue cooking techniques or Asado may be the name used to describe a dinner where barbecue meat is going to be the main element.
Grilling food is a traditional style of cooking that the people of Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil all enjoy. While many foods can be cooked over an open fire the term Asado typically refers to grilled and barbecued beef.
The outdoor grills are called parillas in South American countries and a Uruguay asado is one of the favorite events at family reunions, parties and other celebrations. Asado combined with offal is quite popular and you will also find that BBQ short ribs asado de tira has become a favorite dish on many restaurant menus.
In Uruguay barbecues can be very casual or extremely formal. At a restaurant there will be one person who will act as the official asador or parrillero. This individual will handle the major cooking duties that are related to the grilling and barbecued meats.
At most homes the atmosphere is more relaxed and there may be several people who assist at the parilla. In either situation the focus will always be on perfectly prepared Uruguay food.
Campfires, high-tech grills or open fire-pits can all be used to cook beef carne asado, fish and chicken pollo asado or pork asado de puerco at an asado being hosted in Uruguay. The grilling of the meat is a slow process and it is important that smoke be kept at a minimum.
Uruguay chefs insist on maintaining the integrity of the meat and the purity of the flavors.
Often you will find that the parilla has been designed to cook an entire animal's carcass at one time. asado de puerco, carne asado or pollo asado can be used but for many native Uruguayans it is barbecued beef that is the star of any successful asado.
Embutidos sausages, chinchulines, morcillas and mollejas are among the traditional fare you might expect to be served at most Uruguay asados. Chorizos, peppery sauces and crusty breads are popular appetizer offerings.
In addition to the first-round appetiters you can expect to be served salad, bread grilled veggies verdurajo and fresh fruit for dessert.
Uruguay Wines, beers and fruit drinks are also included for guests to enjoy.
The traditional accompaniments for some of the grilled meats at an asado include Chimichurri sauce or perhaps a salsa criolla.
However these sauces are not often added to beef, but are well loved when added to offal or sausages.
If you are planning to travel to Uruguay you will want to experience Uruguay asado at least once. Almost all of the local restaurants will offer a delicious version of this unique food.