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Argentine steak is now overrated (gasp)

Argentine steak is now overrated (gasp)

Old Mar 13, 17, 7:48 pm
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Argentine steak is now overrated (gasp)

This is hard for me to say, and I'm sure it won't sit well with many proud Argentines, but the beef you get in restaurants in Argentina these days isn't as good as it used to be. On a trip to Argentina this month, my wife and I kept ordering steak and kept saying "it's not as good as it used to be." Our first visit to Buenos Aires was 29-years ago.

There's apparently a reason for this. Economics. Today's Argentine cattle don't graze freely on the pampas before slaughter. Rather, they're fattened in feed lots -- just like USA cattle are. Which probably explains why Argentine beef now tastes a lot like US beef. While I hate to say it, the sub-$25 steak you get at a traditional Buenos Aires steak house might not be better than the steak you can get at a decent US chain restaurant, like Longhorn (audible gasp).

Folks who don't remember the old days (like pre-2000) will undoubtedly think Argentine beef is still quite good. And the cooking techniques in the restaurants tend to be excellent. I also don't know whether "luxury steak" meals -- like at a place like Cabanas Las Lilas -- is better than a $50 steak you can get in the USA. But if you're heading to Buenos Aires primarily to eat steak, maybe you should move onto Italian after a day or so.
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Old Mar 13, 17, 8:04 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Most of Today's Argentine cattle don't graze freely on the pampas before slaughter. Rather, they're fattened in feed lots -- just like USA cattle are.
I've "edited" your quote in bold. You see, you can still find great beef from the pampas. But you (or others) might have noticed that the dead cow recommendations from some of the regular posters have been limited / narrowed down to just a few places. The "good stuff" is still around, but it costs more, and you have to know where to go. Furthermore, the feed lot stuff doesn't cook the same way, so the old school parrillero, using his traditional cooking method, isn't going to make the best piece of feedlot beef.
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Old Mar 13, 17, 8:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
I've "edited" your quote in bold. You see, you can still find great beef from the pampas. But you (or others) might have noticed that the dead cow recommendations from some of the regular posters have been limited / narrowed down to just a few places. The "good stuff" is still around, but it costs more, and you have to know where to go.
Yeah, I don't doubt that, somewhere in BA at some price, there's a great steak to be had, but the problem now is that the relatively affordable BA steakhouses are only OK, not fantastic. I would suspect you're going to have to pay Morton's/Palm prices for "the good stuff," and I don't know if it will be better than Morton's or the Palm. Otherwise, a lot of the "regular" steakhouses in Buenos Aires get glowing reviews on sites like tripadvisor, but only have good but not great steak (at least if you know what the beef used to be like).
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Old Mar 13, 17, 8:54 pm
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I have to agree. I thought it was just me. The steaks in BA have been very disappointing the past few years.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 5:20 am
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I noticed that too - the steaks were mostly disappointing on my trip a couple of years ago, even in better places. Mrs LHRSFO and I agreed that we got better meat in our local Waitrose in London, let alone the local butcher. It tasted rather like US beef, I thought.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 8:19 am
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I still think a bife de chorizo cooked on the parrilla is decent although I always do them myself rather than pay over the odds for one in a restaurant. A lot of other cuts are very hit and miss especially when it comes to tenderness so if we have guests I prefer to throw a pork rib on the grill which is always good.
Feed lot beef is never going to be as good in quality as free range grass fed beef although there are other factors which don't help. I suspect they don't hang the carcasses here for any longer than they have to due to cost of refrigeration and space.

We sold a load of 200kg calves yesterday to a feed lot owner as they're the only ones buying. Our bull will run out of steam in a year or two and when that happens the herd will go and the land utilised for more soya,wheat and maize as that's where the money is. Instead of running about fields chasing cattle I can grab a cold beer take a seat and watch the cereal contractors do all the work.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 9:48 am
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Originally Posted by justforfun View Post
I have to agree. I thought it was just me. The steaks in BA have been very disappointing the past few years.
I am more likely these days to order piggy or the thing that followed Mary to school one day than beef when dining out.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 10:07 am
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To hear you Argentines ordering pork and lamb makes me sad.

HIDDY, your experience is exactly what I've heard, and that seems to be "the problem" with Argentine beef these days.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
To hear you Argentines ordering pork and lamb makes me sad.

HIDDY, your experience is exactly what I've heard, and that seems to be "the problem" with Argentine beef these days.
Most people here do still eat a lot of good dishes made with beef it's just not the big steaks tourists associate with the country. I make great tasting stews for instance.
As for lamb I'd love to eat lamb but it's very hard for me to get from butchers and restaurants where I live.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 11:58 am
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Its hard to get fresh lamb in the capital as well , Hiddy . Some decent frozen stuff is available from time to time but not often.

Have you offered mince'n'tatties to your guests?
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Old Mar 14, 17, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by malagajohn View Post

Have you offered mince'n'tatties to your guests?
Not yet but after successfully making a batch of tattie scones I have plans on making my own Lorne sausage. A buttered roll with a square of Lorne sausage topped off with a tattie scone and splash of HP Sauce will have them talking.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 1:07 pm
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I've read that "old fashioned" Argentine beef can now be found in Uruguay, where feedlot methods are still uncommon. But the practice is apparently growing there, too, so maybe the time to eat steak in Uruguay is now.

http://beef2live.com/story-uruguay-b...-2016-0-142887

I've only been to Uruguay once, and while my visit was pleasant enough, the country's attractions to visitors seemed modest. If you're in BA, though, is it worth going for a steak?
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Old Mar 14, 17, 2:03 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I've read that "old fashioned" Argentine beef can now be found in Uruguay, where feedlot methods are still uncommon. But the practice is apparently growing there, too, so maybe the time to eat steak in Uruguay is now.

http://beef2live.com/story-uruguay-b...-2016-0-142887

I've only been to Uruguay once, and while my visit was pleasant enough, the country's attractions to visitors seemed modest. If you're in BA, though, is it worth going for a steak?
I can buy beef from Uruguay close to home (in Berkeley) as well as other fine beef, from which the cow had a loving birthname and peaceful euthanasia, raised within 75 miles of home, nary a kernel of Monsantobayer (tm) in sight. No rush to return to Uruguay just for a steak. There are also plenty of restaurants nearby that will recite the cow's name and how the last rites were performed when you order.
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Old Mar 14, 17, 2:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
I am more likely these days to order piggy or the thing that followed Mary to school one day than beef when dining out.
You're forgetting the tasty rodent and assorted camelids we' consumed!
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Old Mar 14, 17, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by SoFlyOn View Post
You're forgetting the tasty rodent and assorted camelids we' consumed!
Those I did not order.
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