Argentine Asado in Somerset, July 2016
T’was from the edge of Exmoor Forest that I got the initial call from Dan – ‘I’m getting married in July, I have a herd of Aberdeen Angus, can you roast me a whole cow please?’
I happen to have cooked a fair few hog roasts, dug pit roasts and built various other Heath-Robinsonesque contraptions intended to re-create caveman style food but without any of the murderous dysentery that would have undoubtedly been a key feature of neanderthal social occasions.
As we were chatting about the pros & cons of trying to successfully roast a whole 300kg animal it became clear fairly early on that there weren’t actually any pros (except for the potential YouTube revenue to be gained from a napalmed cow with an hysteric bride in the background being comforted by 250 ravenous wedding guests). And an awful load of cons. So we talked ourselves into an asado. An asado basically being a whole animal, or at least a large portion of one, speared on a crucifix which is stuck in the ground in front of a fire and roasted. Allegedly this is what the gauchos of Argentina did to amuse themselves on those lonely evenings before Brokeback Mountain came out. So after whipping ourselves up into a meaty frenzy* (*see previous sentence) it was agreed that we’d do that & I’d see him on the day..
So after spending considerable time on the internet researching asado – I came up with a design. A 2.5m diameter steel ring upon which 6 8′ high crucifixes could be mounted – each of these could be angled and fixed at varying heights above the fire using either a handheld longhook or a mechanical winch (which looked way cooler). Each crucifix had 2 crossbars that could be slid up and down the length and then fixed to the main bar. So that was fine when the meat was resting on the metal over the fire but the trick was gonna be how to fix it when it came to spinning it around 180 and cooking the underside. For this I had 6 metal grids made and a bunch of vicious looking metal skewers – each about 3.5′ long with the idea being to thread the skewers through the grid, then the meat and back through the grid again, making sure the main bar was also affixed by the skewer.