Summer Grilling, the Uruguayan Way

Uruguayan Grill ParrillaSome years ago (more than I care to admit), I lived for a few months in Punta del Este, Uruguay. It was there that I was introduced to the most glorious form of grilling meat – with firewood and warm embers. It helped that the meat was unparalleled in quality to anything I’ve had elsewhere (including Argentina!), but meat grilled this way has an unparalleled smokey flavor, even if it’s cooked only to medium rare.

Since my return I’ve thought about the Uruguayan grill, and wished that I owned one.  The system is simple and ingenious, with a raised “basket” on one side for burning firewood, and an adjustable leaning grill next to it for the meats. As the embers fall through the basket, you shovel them under the grill, piling one on top of the other for more heat.

My search for a grill had until recently been fruitless. But then I came upon NorCal Ovenworks, and found the mother load. Uruguayan AND Argentine grills are custom made by whoever is behind this brand, and they’re beautiful. They’re pricey, but if I had a backyard I’d say it’s worth the cost. After all, in the US they’re one-of-a-kind. It’s just a bummer you have to pay to get them shipped from California.

Check out the grills, for around $650, at NorCal Ovenworks. They don’t have any readily available, but word is they’ll have a few up over the next couple of months.