Steak at Cafe San Juan

Argentinean Asado 102: How do you like your steak?

eat, know, speak 30 comments

In May, we posted on the art of the Argentinean asado. Today we’ll look at how you can get your steak cooked to your liking. One would think that here in the land of exquisite meat, a simple medium, medium rare, or well done would do the trick. If only that were the case.

I find that Argentines typically overcook meat. Most people order their steak a punto (which should mean medium), but it comes out bien cocida (well done).

Image Courtesy of Asado Argentina

Image Courtesy of Asado Argentina

I like my steak medium rare. Argentine friends have told me to ask for it jugoso (literally meaning juicy which sounds so much better than medium rare). The problem is that there is really no consensus here in Argentina about what the terms mean. When ordering jugoso, I’ve been served anything from rare to well done.

Image Courtesy of Asado ArgentinaImage Courtesy of Asado Argentina

A few months back, I went to a little-known restaurant I’d been to before with a group of friends. The first time I ate there (back in October when it first opened), I had an amazing risotto with rabbit and vanilla. Strange combination. That’s why I ordered it and it was delicious. Everyone else I was with also raved about what they ordered. So when I had visitors of the sort that want to experience the food and wine here more than anything else, I thought this place would impress them. Wrong.

Three of us ordered medium-rare tenderloins. The waiter and I had this discussion (below), which truthfully should have told me that we shouldn’t order steaks.

Spanish version:

“¿Y que coccíon querés?”

“Jugoso, por favor.”

“Sangrante entonces.”

“No, jugoso. Entre sangrante y a punto.”

English version:

“And how would you like it cooked?”

“Medium rare, please.”


“No, medium rare. Between bloody and well done.”

One steak came out medium rare. The other two were medium well to well. Imagine, one chef prepares three steaks all ordered jugoso in three different levels of doneness.

The meat here really is amazing, so if you’re like me, you will want it cooked the way you like.

Image Courtesy of Asado Argentina

Image Courtesy of Asado Argentina

If your Spanish is strong enough, you might want to try describing how you want it prepared instead of using the terms for doneness. Here are some suggestions.

  1. rarerojo intenso y sangrante en el centro
  2. medium rarerosado con y bien jugoso
  3. mediuma punto pero todavia jugoso
  4. well donebien cocida

We’d like to thank Asado Argentina for giving us permission to use these beautiful photos. Buen Provecho!

5 Comments To This Article… add one

  • santelmoloft

    July 4, 2008, 4:25 pm Reply

    Hey Mandy, you have to come try out my juicer. This week has been beets, carrots, fennel, and parsley. I feel so healthy I ate it with chocolate so I wouldn’t totally shock my body.

    And Jackson the 1/4 Japanese world citizen…we’ll start counting the days with you. Oh and no worries, you won’t be tempted here with fish. It’s sort of hard to come by good fish. But sushi places are everywhere.

    Cheers guys!

  • Jackson Bliss

    July 4, 2008, 7:30 am Reply

    We’ll be there in a few weeks actually, and yes, we definitely have to go to Bio–all of us. Even my friend the tattoo artist here in Chicago, who doesn’t strike me as the veggie type, was like “you gotta go to Bio man. I went there twice while I was in Buenos Aires.” A propósito, I miss fish so much I could cry (I’m a 1/4 Japanese).

  • stilllifeinbuenosaires

    July 4, 2008, 3:34 am Reply

    Mozo–Las verduras jugosas por favor. 😉

  • santelmoloft

    July 3, 2008, 3:57 pm Reply

    Yea, I thought of you and Mandy over there at Still Life when I wrote this one. Not the thing a vegetarian wants to wake up to. Morning coffee, read blogs, big steak front and center.

    At home I’m a fish and vegetables person whose first appliance was a mega juicer. So, Bio… that’s one of my favorite places in all of BA. It’ll be nice to have people to go with. One more month, right?

  • Jackson Bliss

    July 3, 2008, 8:11 am Reply

    No offense, but I think that looks gross. For some reason, seeing all the fat and the cartilage makes me not feel carnivorous at all–but then again, soy vegetariano. Anyway, when mad cow disease hits the continent, I hope you’ll all join me for brunch at Bio!

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