“One of the first rules to fire is to not touch one another man built, and he doesn’t touch yours,” he said with a thick Argentinian accent, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt before breaking a handful of wood into small pieces.
Placing the kindling in the fire ring beneath some larger pieces of wood, he stepped back to retrieve a handful of dead grass and a matchbook to ignite the flame. Almost immediately, dad walks out of the house with a bottle of rubbing alcohol, dumping it on the wood before tossing a match for a quick burst of fire.
“That’s an old Indian trick that has been carried forward through many generations,” dad said proudly, twitching his salt and pepper mustache into a smile.
“Ay,” he answered, tipping his boina on his head and grinning back at dad.
Martin Otero, from Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Argentina, has been working on my family’s ranch this fall to expand his knowledge of the American beef industry while improving his English. The 26-year-old is a recent graduate from the National University of Río Cuarto, where he studied agricultural engineering. Otero’s family has a history of cattle ranching in the central region of Argentina, a legacy Otero would like to carry on.
During his time working with my family, Otero has shared with us his easygoing culture of fellowship, and with that his love for Argentine asado. The word, “asado,” which literally translates from Spanish to English as “roasted,” is the equivalent of an American backyard BBQ with friends and family, where thick cuts of meat and sausage are cooked over an open fire. For most Argentines, it is made on Sundays with family, and with friends during the week after soccer games and before going out to parties at night.