Experiencing an Asado: Uruguay

Family and friends sit at an unassuming backyard table. Beer and wine are imbibed under the summer sun. Comfortable conversations, the family dog lazily looking for attention, and an appetizing smell own the scene.

It’s unspoken, but everyone is already relishing the asado (barbeque). Guests don’t arrive in hopes of scoring a quick bite – this is an entire afternoon, not to be rushed. No appointments are made for later in the day, no drop-in visitors stay for just a few minutes. There's no time limit.

A woodpile burns next to the grill; its red-hot embers are pulled under the meats to cook them slowly. In a picture of tranquility, waves of plates will appear later. The first are typically chorizo (sausage), followed by various cuts of heavenly Uruguayan meat.

An asado brings a guest into its world. Nothing else exists. No one's anxiously waiting for the next serving. No one's looking at his or her watch. This is a time to sit down, talk to friends and family, pet the dog, savor the moment, eat, and then eat some more.

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