Texas vs. Argentina: THE BEEF OFF

Steak in Argentina

Mike’s amazing asado on the grill!

Steak in Argentina

Aren’t we just too damn cute? — Getting ready for the asado at Mike and Steph’s.

I’m from Texas – born n’ raised! Hell, I have a massive chest tattoo of the Lone Star, horseshoes, guns, smoke, and our state flower, the yellow rose.

If I know anything, it is beef. Yes, we live in Austin, home of the most vegetarians per capita in our grand ol’ state but it is just not something I can commit to – I NEED MEAT.

So let’s just say I was a bit skeptical when I arrived in Argentina. People raved around the world at how good the beef was.

And even though we were basically veggies due to our meager $50/day budget ($26 of which went to our rent), we did manage to save enough to splurge a bit while in Buenos Aires.

So introducing our contenders:

The #TeamBA Blogger Asado

Hosted by the awesome Mike of the Art of Backpacking, this Argentine-American wanted to show off his asado skills and invited us over along with a few other bloggers to see what everything was about.

Served: Vacio (healthy cut of meat from the chest of the cow), Morcilla (blood sausage), Chorizo (sausage), and Ribs.

Steak in Argentina

P.S. 3 bottles of wine is not enough for 6 bloggers.

 

Steak in Argentina

And this is what was left AFTER people served themselves.

Cost: Well, for us, a bottle of wine and a massive bowl of mac and cheese that I rocked (ask Stephanie, she called it for her and Mike to share after we left).

Meat in Argentina

I was in such a meat frenzy I apparently forgot to get pictures of everyone.. so umm.. this is Steph (@20stravel), Dave (@rtwdave), Mike is hiding in the back somewhere (@artofbackpackin), and other Stephanie is also.. somewhere(@thetravelchica).

Verdict: Mike is a damn fine griller. It is a shame he isn’t from Texas. He would make people proud. Charred yumminess on the outside, pink and warm on the inside – GREAT COMBO.

La Cabrera

Texas vs. Argentina

This little gem is freaking amazing. Check with them to find out when their 50% off 7-8pm slot is since it appears as though they do change their schedule to throw people off a bit. We went on a Monday and they had moved it to Tues-Thurs. Get there early! Like, 45 minutes early (and I DON’T mean Latin American TimE) and wait outside as the line can get a bit obscene very quickly.

Who has better steak, Texas or Argentina?

We’re so hungry, it is really hard to look excited. Shaun and our friend Kevin (who came to visit from the States!) await the steak.

 

Meat in Argentina

This is my starved and excited face though. ^^^

Served: Ojo de Bife (Rib Eye), Bife de Chorizo (both ordered RARE), bottle of Cafayate (GOOD!) – keep in mind that the chef suggests you share cuts of meat as they are massive. We were rockin’ 4 pounds (2 kilos) of meat between 3 people.

Food in Argentina

This wine rocked our face!

Cost: On 50% night the total cost of the bill came out to about $60USD for everything.

Argentine Steak

Ojo de Bife (R), Bife de Chorizo (L), and fixins – artichoke, mushrooms, quail eggs, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, squash, applesauce

Verdict: The service is amazing and they fill your wine glass for you (which made me feel fancy!). The ojo de bife won the best meat for the night hands down. Again, charred and flavorful on the outside, perfectly cooked on the inside and tender as all hell. The bife de chorizo, which normally is one of the best cuts, was sadly not up to par (maybe it was just a bad night for the cook?). Super chewy, and 25% fat (the Argentines LOVE their steak fat), it was unflavorful and disappointing. The sides made eating it much more bearable.

Siga La Vaca

Meat in Buenos Aires

While not the most upscale restaurant around, this all you can eat meat buffet is totally worth your time. Lets just say that you get an entire bottle of wine to yourself to help wash down this gluttonous event.

Steak off

P.S. 6 bottles of wine is enough for 6 people.

 

Served: Morcilla, Chorizo, Vacio, Short Ribs, Bife de Chorizo, Chinchulines (intestine), a helping (or 2 – so kill me, I hadn’t seen a salad bar this stacked in MONTHS) of the salad bar, a bottle of wine per person (6 bottles), and french fries for the table.

Meat off

Picture by my friend Kevin Langendoen (the guy in the La Cabrera), Steph helps herself to the buffet!

Cost: ~$30USD per person for all the meat you can stuff into your face in one sitting

The Meat Off

Verdict: Everything was a wee bit overcooked but still delicious. Although, I think the bife de chorizo that Shaun and my friend Kevin got was so overcooked you could have thrown it and broken a window. The ribs were by far my favorite… and the chinchulines? Yeah, I’m still not a fan. There is just something about that pate-y paste in the middle that makes me gag. At least I tried. Two times.

Steak in Argentina

Happy Steph and Mike…

 

Steak in Argentina

Happy Dave!

Poor Shaun loved his wine so much that he drank his entire bottle before he even really ate anything (and he isn’t much of a drinker).

Here are some of his pictures while he was wandering outside woozy (and we couldn’t find him):

Steak in Argentina

Steak in Argentina

So overall verdict?

The quality of the meat is exactly the same. Nothing new there. Although, they have their cooking techniques down to a tee. While Texans have some mean BBQ down – dare I say it? – I think the Argentines may have us on how to grill a steak. Salt, perfect temperature – there is nothing else like it in the world.

29 Responses to “Texas vs. Argentina: THE BEEF OFF”

  1. Andrea May 2, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    I loved the parilla meals we had in Argentina, though I didn’t think most of the solely steak meals were anything that special. I couldn’t get enough of the morcilla though!

    • Erica May 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      @Andrea: I agree. The parillas all in all were better but La Cabrera BLEW MY MIND with the Ojo.

  2. John of Travel Rinse Repeat May 2, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    $30 for all you can eat meat? That’s pretty impressive. I don’t think I’d eat all day in anticipation of that.

    • Erica May 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      @John: I feared that cows would go into extinction after we were done with that place. I think Mike ate like 3 plates of food! We did eat meagerly that day. Although, a bottle of wine after not eating all day leads to silliness.

      • Greg May 4, 2012 at 10:38 am #

        and that right there is our key to cheap good night out.

        The real benefit is that you’re all wacky before dinner after you eat, you’re fine and therefore: no negative effects the next day. yay!

        (not that we’ve got this all thought out or anything)

        • Erica May 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

          Yeah, Shaun didn’t get that same benefit. He normally doesn’t drink so he was just as drunk even after his meal.

  3. The Travel Fool May 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    My god, turn in your BBQ pit and all cooking utensils immediately. You have obviously been away from the Great State for too long. There is hope for you if you act quick. First book a flight to Austin then head to San Marcos for some real beef, the next day head to the nearest true Texas Steak house. Not one of those chains that pretends. With a little help, and we are here for you, you can get this monkey off your back and regain your senses. Calling Argentine beef better is the equivalent of eating an enchilada in New York and thinking it is better than even the most modest Tex Mex restaurant. Like I said before we here for you we can help, all is not lost. Other than that good article. :)

    • Erica May 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      @The Travel Fool: We’re up here right now! Can’t really afford much meat at the moment but I’m dying for some good BBQ. Please keep in mind that I meant to say the STEAKS as a whole were cooked better. We rock the BBQ as a whole. I guess I should have clarified. They don’t do the other meats better than we do. I mean, how can you beat smoked brisket?!

  4. Janice May 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Awesome post. i love Argentinian beef. Their beef is so delicious.

  5. Audrey | That Backpacker May 3, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    So cool that you guys all got to meet up! This post officially made me hungry. Having been raised in Argentina, I was spoiled when it comes to meat, and you just can’t get beef like that where I am now in Korea. They keep serving me the fat! LOL 😀

    • Erica May 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Luckily I’ve been able to meet a few of these guys multiple times. They have been my on the road family. <3

  6. Greg May 4, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Texas vs. Argentina meat throw-down? wow, I feel like there would only be one way to truly settle this…MTV celebrity deathmatch (this was, in truth, the first thing that came to mind). and holy COW you are admitting Texas defeat!? I was positive that was genetically impossible for you people! Besides, did you try the fried meat sushi!? Texas has that you know and it’s only fair to compare apples to apples…or…well, rump to rump? wow, this just got awkward.

    Side question, how do all the bloggers except for us seem to meet up in real life? Is there some secret social booking network we are unaware of?

    • Erica May 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

      @Greg: Until I taste otherwise, I’ll concede defeat on the steak front.

  7. Priscila May 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Erica, probably you were not told, but you can order your beef “jugoso” (juicy, almost raw in fact), “a punto” that means before it is too cooked, or “bien cocido” (overcooked, as you said). If you don’t let them know, they will give you whatever they want, specially overcooked (the safe side so you don’t think it needs more cooking). Maybe next time :)

    • Erica May 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      @Priscila: We did order jugoso at La Cabrera! As for Siga La Vaca, you don’t really temp. You just grab what was on the grill. 😛

  8. Stephanie - The Travel Chica May 5, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Mike’s asado was soooo good! I was very impressed.

    I agree that the Argentines know how to cook a steak without fancy marinades and sauces. I’m sure the quality of the meat doesn’t hurt either.

    • Erica May 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      @Steph: Seriously YUMMY!

  9. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) May 5, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Even as a vegetarian, this post was still fascinating. I lived in BA for a year and NEVER had a bite of steak! I guess it must be good if it even holds up to Texas cow :)

    • Erica May 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      @Leslie: >.< More power to you! I couldn't do it (even though it is a billion times cheaper).

  10. Denise May 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    The state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet. Just sayin’

    • Erica May 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      @Denise: You are absolutely right. I guess I just oversimplified it being that the background of yellow rose is legend-based and it is of culturally important significance based in history.

      • Denise May 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

        I agree the “Yellow Rose” is and was a very important historical and controversial figure. But heaven forbid anyone in Texas give a woman, let alone a Mulatta, her due.

  11. Kieu ~ GQ trippin May 10, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    We obviously didn’t get the memo on 50% night at La Cabrera – we came during peak late hour. But the wait was totally worth it! We had to order a bottle of Malbec with ours but I love your 6 bottle for 6 person. The wine is pretty awesome in BsAs. Great post!

    • Erica May 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      We didn’t know about La Cabrera before – the 50% off thing is what drew us there initially and we definitely were not disappointed.

  12. Tom @ Waegook Tom January 13, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    Ermahgerd! How on earth did I manage to miss this post before?!? When I did my RTW trip last year and was contemplating where to go in South America, I was trying to decide between Colombia and Argentina. Argentina’s main pro? BEEF. And now I’m making it my next South American country to head to…

    • Erica January 23, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

      HAHA! I have so much on freaking Latin America and so many more that were never posted.

  13. Randell August 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Wooohooo! It is not a good idea at all to read a blog about food when you are in the middle of a workday. These photos made me really crave for some good steak. We’re planning a trip to Texas and this sure do gives me an idea what to do.

  14. Jimi December 22, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Two things:

    You went to eh restaurants. Not horrible but not the best either.

    As far as overlooked, as Americans you’ll get it a little more cooked than you ask for because of how often Americans used to send it back due to undercooking. You have to really get the waiters attention and emphasize you want it reall jugoso. Not “blue” (the euro raw way), but very jugoso and you would have gotten meat cooked superlatively.

  15. Lucas December 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

    really nice, but it is a shame you were only able to eat in buenos aires, becuase in the interior of the country is where you find the best meat like in Cordoba or Santa fe

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