Category Archives: Cow eating

Eating an entire cow (not in one sitting) part 10 – sweet breads, blood sausage (which is from a pig)


With less than a week left to go in Argentina, I realize there is no way I can do it.  I was very eager early on, but then as I ran out of the popular cuts and was left with lots of organs, I lost my appetite.   When faced with the choice at a restaurant – the best, most tender rib-eye steak you’ve ever had, or kidneys, it was not a hard choice.

I’m so not ruining this wine with something gross.

So, I continued to eat lots and lots of beef but stopped trying to eat all the parts.   I did recently add one new part of the cow to my list, and  a scary part of a pig.

First the pig, no it’s not a pig head.

Blood Sausage

I love sausage of all types. But, there is something disturbing to me about blood sausage, it’s not even the name or idea of blood sausage. It’s the color. Blood sausage is really dark, almost black. I think if it was bright red it wouldn’t be so disturbing.

these all look kind of gross

So when our friends Nati and Frankie came over for an asado (Argentinian barbecue) with blood sausage, I knew now was the time to try it.

Try it! All the cool people are eating it.

Jeff cooked it up and left it on the fire until it sort of split open.

Jeff: Is there really blood in it? Frankie: Yes, yes there is.
delicious!

And then I tried it. Here’s the thing, blood sausage is amazing!  It doesn’t taste like blood, it is soft and slightly sweet.   I’m not sure what it tastes like in other countries, but in Argentina, cooked over a wood fire, it’s incredible.

 

Mollejas

Mollejas are also known as sweetbreads or the thymus gland of a cow.    When our friend Leandro came over for an asado he brought all kinds of meat including mojellas.   One last  thing to add to my cow list.

 

I promise you, you will like them.


I have to admit, they didn’t look pretty raw.

Vegetarians – look away

He doused them with fresh squeezed lemon juice and salt.   Once on the grill they started to look better.

And then, when we actually ate them, they were really good.  The texture is a big weird, sort of spongy, but they taste great.

So, that’s it for the cow eating on this trip.   I plan to eat several more pieces of cow between now and when we go back to the US, but they will be my favorite cuts bife de chorizo and bife de lomo.   Not only will I not be eating an entire cow in one sitting, I won’t be eating an entire cow in one country. The rest of the parts will need to be eaten on other trips.

An asado in Mendoza

When our landlord talked to us Thursday night I heard, “blah blah blah BBQ blah blah blah Sunday.” Jeff, who actually speaks Spanish heard, “What are you doing Sunday, I’m having a BBQ, why don’t you come.” I can’t help but worry about everything.  What if he misunderstood?  What if she really said, “Hey, I’m having a BBQ on Sunday. Can you please bring your drying laundry inside and keep your obnoxious North American voices down.”

By the time Sunday rolled around I had almost convinced Jeff we weren’t invited. We lurked inside our apartment (which is in her backyard) while she set up tables, got the grill going, and brought out chairs.    This is where traveling is hard for me.  I’m adventurous enough to go to an Argentinian BBQ, but not confident enough to crash an Argentinian BBQ. Finally we migrated outside onto our porch and were quickly invited to sit down, introduced and cheek kissed by everyone.    Either we had been invited all along, or they were extremely welcoming to party crashers.

 

We sat down and were showered with food.   First it was chicken and salads. Next was ribs and chorizo sausage. Then came pork and more meat.       As food was ready off the grill it was like a meat auction.  Mario, the asador (griller) would take something off the grill, hold it up.  “Chorizo? Chorizo?”  Then if you wanted it you’d hold up your plate.  I tried to pace myself in order to have enough room to try everything.  It was all so good, it was hard not to just keep eating.

It’s funny how some things are the same and different. Watermelon for dessert seemed so North American to me. But then it was brought out “upside-down” to my USA eyes.

I was concerned that we would be served something really weird that I wouldn’t be able to eat.  But, the most unusual thing I saw was a glass of malbac wine, ice, and diet coke. My favorite part of the day was when they toasted with  “to family”   It made me miss my own family.  But, as I clinked glasses with our new Argentinian friends I was  thankful that they included us in their family for the afternoon.

After desert everyone broke into song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Viz2btwkXmI

 

Eating an entire cow (not in one sitting) part 9 – Rib cap and queperi?

One of the great things about our Salta apartment is that it comes with a parilla (Argentinian barbecue grill).   And, one of the great things about Jeff is he’s willing to be an asador (barbecuer).

The Argentinian grill looks sort of like a built in shelf under a chimney.   The giant rack comes with a crank, so you can adjust the height of the grill over the burning wood.

We’ve tried it several times.  For the first one, I started slicing veggies and salting the meat around 8:00pm.    It took slightly longer to light and cook the meat than intended. We sat down to dinner at 1:00am.

But, since that first attempt, Jeff has gotten quite adept with the grill.    Several things are different about our asadors (the name for the actual barbecue as well)  versus the traditional ones.    1. Number of people attending – traditional asadors have lots of people. Since we don’t know many people here, the largest one we had was attended by three people, Jeff, me and our friend Stephanie.

our first dinner guest

2. Order and kinds of meats – traditionally there is a specific order which starts with organs, then sausage, then meat.   The order in our asadors is  sausage, meat, chicken, veggies, usually more veggies than sausage, no organs at all.

3. The cook knows what he’s cooking.    Our method of obtaining the meat  is to go to our local butcher.   We always prepare ahead of time with a list of nicely translated words for cuts of beef.  But, we either loose the piece of paper, or get confused when the butcher starts talking fast.
I then say “parilla” several times and point to the case of meat.     The very nice and patient butcher cuts me several different cuts of meats.    We bring them home and look them up on google.   This last time we came home with what turns out to be  flank steak,  rib cap and something that was delicious, but no idea what cut of beef it was.   So, until I can find a definition for queperi or learn to pronounce it in a way that people can actually understand me,  the queperi portion of the cow will go uncolored.

what is queperi?

Eating an entire cow (not in one sitting) part 8 – T Bone and Short Ribs

There really isn’t much to report on the eating of a T Bone steak called – beef de costilla and short ribs called tira de asado. Both were delicious.

The thing I found most interesting the atmosphere in the parilla.  We went to a restaurant called El Viejo Jack. Not only is it highly recommended in guide books and on Trip Advisor, it’s also recommended by locals.

The restaurant itself was your basic local parilla with the most glaring fluoresent lights ever.   We’ve noticed this is pretty typical of local parillas.

could it have been any brighter?

It was funny to eat a delicious steak, drink a bottle of really good malbac, and have great attentive service all while feeling like we were in a doctor’s examining room.

It was in sharp contrast to a restaurant we had gone to the night before.

Jose Balcarse was also highly recommended by guidebooks.  It was also really good, but I don’t think there were any locals in the restaurant. Even the waitress, who spoke fluent English was from Uruguay.

this photo is directly off their website

One thing it did really well, besides the food was the ambiance.  The low lighting and exposed brick walls reminded me of restaurants back home.   The food at both places were amazing. One seemed really authentic, local and inexpensive.  The other – gourmet  and  touristy, but you didn’t feel like you were at the DMV.

You can really see the contrast in the below videos.

Video at parilla.

video at gourmet tourist restaurant.

Eating an entire cow (not in one sitting) part 7 – cow heart

We chose the restaurant Monumental for our next beef adventure.   We chose it for several reasons:  it’s near our apartment, has outdoor seating, looks like a castle.

I had planned to eat mollejas (sweat breads also known as glands) but the waiter was completely freaked out that I was ordering only sweatbreads for dinner.  He didn’t think this was an appropriate dinner. I didn’t either, but assumed they’d be inedible and I’d be going out for dinner #2 at McDonalds afterward.

He suggested corazon which is beef heart.   I was little apprehensive so we also ordered lots of wine, a “ensalada Americana,” a backup pork chop and I made sure Jeff was ordering a big enough steak that I could mooch off him if needed.

The heart really wasn’t that bad.  It sort of tasted like a weird cut of steak. Now the salad, on the other hand, was totally weird. Lots of corn and white stuff which was either the worst cheese in the world, or a strange vegetable.

My favorite part of dinner was observing the family next to us.  It was past 11:30pm and an entire family including a baby, toddler, and nanny were enjoying dinner.  At around 12:30am we had to go home, we were yawning, but the family was still on dessert.