Monday, August 20, 2012

A Chilean BBQ

We had a fantastic weekend!

Our Saturday started out with my boys heading back up to the slopes for some time in the fresh powder. They had a fantastic time!

They couldn't stop talking about how perfect of a day it was. The sun was shining, the powder was soft. Andrew taught Alex how to plow and he had a great time spraying his dad with snow.

They stopped at the delicious Kabob place again for lunch. Several of our friends were heading up to Valle Nevado and they were hoping to make a connection with them, but they weren't able to. They didn't seem too disappointed, the day was absolutely perfect for them.

They arrived home just in enough time to shower and head over to our first ever Chilean BBQ. Ignacio invited us and the Smith family over, but due to small children, and the length of the Chilean get-togethers, we opted to have it at the Smith's home so they could put their little ones to bed. Ignacio brought the grill and all the supplies. We were in charge of sweets and the Smith's had some yummy guacamole for us to snack on while the grill got started. 

I have to tell you - this Chilean grilling event (and it is an event) is delicious. I gained a full kilo that night. Not kidding one bit. I weighed myself. Greg said he gained a kilo too, so it wasn't just me.

The "parrilla" or grill is a metal barel cut in half lengthwise with legs. They use those huge natural chunks of charcoal and get it started without lighter fluid. They use a plank of wood to fan the coals and move things around as needed. Apparently, your ability to fan the coals enough to get a flame directly correlates to your manhood. :)

Here is the only photo from the night: Greg, Ignacio and his son, Gabriel. One of Ignacio's daughters is seated in the background. Such a great family!

Once the coals were ready, the chorizo (short fat sausages) went on. When they were ready, the choripanes (the hotdog bun type fresh bread) were sliced in half (like a hotdog bun) and placed cut side down on the grill for a moment to toast. They were then passed out to everyone as we stood around the grill. You top it with ketchup and OHMYGOSH is that divine! 

Next the pork and chicken went on. The only seasoning used on the meat is salt. ONLY SALT. They wouldn't dream of putting on anything else. But honestly, they don't need to. The secret I am told is the timing of the salt addition. Once the meat begins to get juicy, you flip it. It is at that point - and only then - that you add the salt. Otherwise, it would dry out the meat. 

Grilling Chilean style is an art. Ignacio moved the pieces of meat around the grill in a delicate dance; from the intense heat to the outer edges and back again, rotating and turning. He'd declare a piece finished by slicing off an end and passing it out to someone to try. I was seriously full after the sausage. Add all the little samples of meat while it was cooking, and I was stuffed before it was time to sit down for dinner! 

In a truly traditional Chilean BBQ, families stand around the grill eating as they go. No plates required. But we added our gringo twist and sat at the table for the meal at the end of the marathon grilling. As the meat finished cooking, it was placed into a clay pot. I wish I had taken a photo of this little clay contraption. It is essentially a large clay bowl with legs that you add a few charcoals to. They another clay bowl fits on top of that creating a place to put your meat. There is a lid that tops it and this little handmade clay creation keeps your meat warm while the rest of it cooks. Ingenious! We'll be making the journey to the clay area of Chile (only 2 hours from here) to get our own little clay treasurers soon. It was too cool. I need one of those little guys at home. 

It was a great night. I don't speak spanish and Ignacio's family doesn't speak english - but we managed. We made plans to get together again (the wives) so that I can teach them to make cinnamon rolls. Apparently that is one gringo dish that every Chilean loves :) 

We've been invited to a different family's home next Sunday for another Chilean BBQ. I can't wait! 

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