What’s The Skinny on Argentine Beef?

Friday, August 28, 2009


Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere, Matt!

As our fearless Expeditioner was kind enough to mention yesterday, my name is Hal and I’m currently calling Buenos Aires home. To be honest, it doesn’t feel quite like home yet, as I’ve only been in the BsAs a total of 6 nights so far. I’m still seeing everything through a traveler’s eyes, not a porteño’s.

From that perspective, I thought I’d tackle what perhaps is the most widespread rumor about Argentina — the steaks here are the best in the world. I’ve had plenty (I spent a month in Patagonia before arriving in the capital) and, though I wouldn’t call myself a meat-lover by any stretch, I can confirm that Argentine beef is top-notch.

But why? The answer, apparently, lies in what may be the most iconic geographical feature of the country: the pampas. These rolling grasslands covering more than 600,000 square kilometers of Argentina’s interior are perfect for one thing and one thing only — yup, cattle grazing. What that means is the vast majority of Argentine cattle are fed not in cramped, hormone-enriched feedlots but out on the open plains. Not surprisingly, happier and healthier cows make for tastier and healthier beef.

To top it off, local beef is cheap. Argentines pay just $1.65 per kg for their meat, compared to $2.86 in the U.S., according to a recent article in the People’s Daily Online. And remember, that’s for a product of much higher quality. Is it any wonder diners here put away a whopping 70 kg of beef per year?

So there you have the skinny on Argentine beef. Hungry?

* Photo by audrey_sel

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