Asados are a quintessential example of a simple Chilean meal that lets the food do most of the cooking. An asado or parrillada, which means a roast or barbecue, is a typical meal to have at family gatherings. However, unlike American style grilling which places a great emphasis on sauces and seasonings, Chileans let the meat speak for itself. Seasoning is minimal; some coarse salt is rubbed thoroughly onto the raw meat and then cooked over a wood fire. The cuts of meat are also very different from the ones you might see at a tailgate party; there usually aren't any spare ribs or T-bones. The preferred cuts are skirt steaks which, although they tend to be a bit tougher than other cuts, are prized for their flavor.


Other than that, Chileans consider virtually every part of the cow to be fair game. Intestines, thymus-glands (also called "sweetbreads") and a sausage made of coagulated blood called a prieta, or "dark one." In English it is referred to as a blood sausage. It is also not uncommon for seafood to be grilled along with the beef. A snack that is commonly eaten while waiting for the meat to finish, is choripan. The name is a combination of two words: the first half of chorizo, the spanish word for sausage and pan, the word for bread. It is exactly what one might expect and another example of minimal human involvement. Just get a sausage, stick it in a piece of baguette and enjoy. While I was doing just that, my grandmother insisted I try some of her homemade mayonnaise with it. As peculiar a thing that might seem to make at home, I put a dollop of it on my choripan anyway and was blown away. The velvety creaminess and rich - almost sweet - flavor has since made it very difficult for me to ever eat Hellman's again.