Argentine Chefs Dream Up A Luxury Kobe Sausage
Hot dog-loving Argentines even have a high-class sausage made entirely of tender Kobe beef, to be enjoyed without a thought for its price.
BUENOS AIRES — Argentines love sausage. They love them in a bun, as in the classic choripán, the local hot dog, or grilled at barbecues alongside its "other half," the blood sausage, or morcilla. And while the sausage is part of the day-to-day fare in this haven of carnivores, fancy sausages containing prime beef are also available, at up to five times the price.
The standard chorizo criollo — or typical sausage mix of the southernmost part of South America — has beef and pork with a good 25-30% fat content, and is flavored with white wine and spice, and sometimes with red pepper and crushed chiles. Its upmarket cousin is all beef — and not just any kind, but Kobe beef, one of the most expensive in the world.
Kobe beef, made from the Wagyu cow breed, is Japanese and loved for its juicy tenderness and marbled texture. It arrived in Argentina 25 years ago, thanks to Luis Barcos, a vet and beef production specialist. That is when Argentines came to know of such exquisite cuts as the Wagyu ribeye steak, a prized item at any high-level barbecue.
The premium sausages are a product jointly created two years ago by Juan Ignacio Barcos of Barcos and Sons, and César (Wilson) Sagario of Corte Charcutería. They're made in limited numbers for buyers and for one restaurant in Buenos Aires, Madre Rojas. Wagyu beef has soft fat that melts at low temperatures to soften the cut. That is why "it has such a particular texture and is so easy to chew," says César Sagario.
The premium sausages are produced on a small scale, with selected, high-quality ingredients.
The nation's favorite food
The premium sausages are flavored à l'italienne, with pepper, sweet peppers and fennel seeds, giving it a faintly anise-like taste.
"Cheap sausage generally has portions of pork, beef and some binding element like flour, to stretch it out. That's why, when you find a sausage that is 100% quality beef, like a tenderloin meatball, it'll be more expensive, especially if in addition, it's handmade," explains Barcos.
It would be sacrilege to split it.
"This means the sausages are produced on a small scale, with selected, high-quality ingredients and no additives, coloring or any fillings. They're also tied by hand," he adds.
What's the best way of preparing the delicacy? Grilled is best, but like any sausage, for no more than 30 minutes. You do not want it overcooked, burned or have the skin burst, and "as this chorizo is perfectly balanced, it would be sacrilege to split it."
Of course, it's still a sausage and we're allowed to enjoy it as Argentines always have, tucked into two pieces of bread and moistened with chimichurri dressing. It is quite simply, a superlative expression of one of our nation's favorite foods.
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