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Meat Cuts in Argentina

Cutting your way through Argentine beef lingo

Las Cabras
The Gran Bife at Las Cabras in Palermo Hollywood. The steak is a Bife de Chorizo. Yup, its awesome.

Meat. Carne. Mmmmm…

Argentina is renowned for its high-quality, juicy, gigantic and cheap steaks. Unlike the beef lexicon in the United States, which prescribes a name for the cut followed by “steak,” Argentine beef idioms have one name for most items. To the English eye, some names may appear to overlap, sound nothing alike, or generally confuse the non-bilingual.

Although I applaud the brave traveler whose willing to order anything on the parrilla [1], or steakhouse, menu – “Bring me meat!” – you may want to do some reading before making the blindfolded menu choice. It could be the difference between a rib-eye steak and a cow’s testicle – some places, like the famed parrilla La Brigada in San Telmo [2], serve the entire animal. Nothing goes to waste in Argentina! So take off the blindfold, put on the reading glasses and take notes.

Typical Meat Cuts in Argentina

Asado pic
A classic asado – BBQ with a group of friends, family – with lots of Bife de Lomo

Here is a list of the more common cuts of meat you’ll come across in the average Buenos Aires steakhouse:

Some typical Argentine meat sandwiches, often sold at food carts and “hole in the wall” joints:

And what life would be worth living without a little salsa?:

Ordering Your Meat in Buenos Aires

At Argentine steakhouses and other restaurants/cafes [5], ordering food is said with direct language. For instance, it is not rude to say, “I want” (Yo quiero). Here are some examples on how to order a steak and to ask it to be cooked a certain way:

Choripan pic
When traveling to the Ecological Reserve in Puerto Madero, stop outside the reserve at one of the many parrilla stands for a choripan. They have plenty of condiments and for a small amount of cash, you will be stuffed.

If you’re craving more meat literature, here are some recommended reads. Saltshaker provides a list of meat cuts and the best places in Buenos Aires to find each one [6]. Asado Argentina offers a more comprehensive table of meat cuts [7], and Idle Words has a simply hilarious take on Argentine steak [8]!

Enjoy your beef on your next visit to Buenos Aires! Buen Provecho!

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3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Meat Cuts in Argentina"

#1 Comment By gary ball On July 15, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

Hola . PLease send more of the language course please , very good

Gracious , ciao

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#2 Comment By alan On December 12, 2013 @ 11:17 am

Thank you. But no list is complete without mention of the luscious cross cut ribs called “asado de tira” and tri-tip – “colita de cuadril”. Also best ordered jugoso, according to me!

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#3 Comment By Erin On March 12, 2017 @ 4:03 pm

This was truly helpful to me! I am always completely lost in an Argentine grocery store or carnicería, but no longer! Bookmarking this to come back to again and again. Your website is a truly fabulous resource, both for visitors and people on long-term stays, like me!

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