Argentines master the grill. Their barbecues or 'asados' are legendary and go back to the earliest cowboys or 'gauchos' cooking fests with the very same premium cattle they bred in the South American plains. Cooking with fire is deeply entwined with Argentine culture, and now it’s a synonym of good times with friends and family.
This is not just throwing meat over burning embers; it’s an art form composed of many elements. Short ribs (asado de tira), NY strips (bife de chorizo), tri-tip steaks (cuadril), skirt steaks (entraña), and sweetbreads (mollejas) are only a few of the country’s specialties. Sausages and offal are also fundamental.
Bread and sauces like chimichurri round up the ‘asado’ experience, but there’s an element that takes the whole evening by the fire to another level — provoleta cheese.
What is provoleta?
Provoleta is an Argentine variation of the classic Italian provolone cheese. Both fall in the category of pulled curd cheese (pasta filata), where cheese makers knead and stretch the cheese to achieve a firm texture that makes it perfect for the grill.
Italian immigrants arriving in the country since the 19th century developed the provoleta, and it was recognized as a national cheese in the 1950s. It soon earned a place in the hearts of the grill-lovin’ Argentines that found in the cheese the perfect companion for their charcoal-grilled meat extravaganzas.
How to cook provoleta?
You can find this cheese as small-sized disks of 4 to 6 inches in diameter and 1-2 inch width and can serve it at the beginning of the asado. What makes provoleta great is its ability to withstand the grill’s high temperatures as it softens but never melts through the griddle.
Melt your cheese on an iron skillet or directly over the flame, and top it with oregano, chili pepper flakes or chimichurri sauce for a decadent flavor and a coating mouthfeel. The unctuous cheese is heartwarming and satisfying, and don’t think for a second it plays the second violin. It’s up there with the stars of the show, the prime meats, and the juicy sausages completing the set for a meal hard to forget.
You can also find provoleta prepared with olives, oregano, basil, bell peppers, and the more typical lean and smoked varieties; they’re all delicious, and fabulous vegetarian options to make your grilling game more inclusive.
Have you ever grilled cheese?
If you love grilling, barbecuing, or smoking meat, then the provoleta is for you. Both grill enthusiasts and pro grill masters can enjoy melting a little cheese on the grill to get everyone’s appetite going. There’s no mistake here, the provoleta was created to be kissed by fire, and no get-together by the grill is complete without it.
Get yourself a few wheels of provoleta and see if the Argentine cheese works for you. Don’t forget to browse our other grilling tips, grill reviews, recipes, and other resources for grill lovers, all inspired in the masterful Argentine grilling experience. Let’s make this community grow!