Saturday, October 13, 2007


La Carne

In Spanish, carne means meat and, in Uruguay, meat means beef. We ate many great meals in Uruguay, particularly carne cooked on the parrilla. At restaurants and at friends' homes, the beef was invariably delicious but when we tried to cook beef ourselves, we had trouble. I'd buy some nice looking steaks at the supermarket and they'd be too tough to eat because, despite how good they looked, they were really stew meat.

Eventually, I learned the names of several common cuts of meat. For a good steak, entrecot was a reliable choice. Picaña was another good steak: more expensive and more tender. Other cuts like colita de cuadril and asado need slower cooking and some cuts, like matambre, need to be boiled until tender.

At lunch one day, I found I wasn't the only one confused by beef names. By chance, I was seated next to a table of tourists from Spain who asked the waiter, "What is the colita de cuadril". Even before he responded, I knew his answer would be, "Es un tipo de carne." ["It's a type of meat."]

Here are some online resources that can help. Asado Argentina has a good post on Cuts of Beef for the Parrilla and the Cooking Diva includes photos and a video from her visit to a butcher shop in Buenos Aires. For excruciating detail, compare the Uruguay National Meat Institute's Meat Handbook (in English) to their Spanish version,Catálogo de Cortes.

update: Frigorifico Tacuarembó has a much easier to use illustration showing beef cuts in Spanish and English

Labels: ,

La Otra just ain't the same without you Chuck....

Awww, who am I kidding!? It's exactly the same! Sure was good last night!

But, we do miss you...

How about doing some consumer tests between your carne experiences here and some restaurants in the states, now that you know the difference!
In my travels around the midwest before classes started, I was surprised by the number of new steakhouses. Every commercial strip seemed to have a Longhorn Steakhouse, Logans Roadhouse, Texas Corral, Lonestar Steakhouse, or Golden Corral franchise. They all seem pretty generic.

Anyway, we ate at one recently and the prices were high and the quality low compared to a Uruguayan parilla. Not that you can't buy good steaks here, it's just that the prices are going to be even higher than at these chain restaurants.

We've had better results grilling at home.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?