What would you think if you were invited to a Summer barbecue that had nary a hot dog, hamburger, steak, chicken drumstick, or charred portobello mushroom cap in sight? You'd probably be surprised, as I was a few weeks ago, when I found myself at an idyllic midday cookout on T-Lazy-7 Ranch  in Aspen, CO. The open-flame affair, which was hosted by wine label Terrazas de los Andes , focused on the art of the asado, or Argentine tradition of barbecue. Everything, from the selection of meat cuts to the wood-fueled flame, was unlike any grilling I'd done before, yet nothing was too complicated to re-create at home. Keep reading for a glimpse of the South American grilling tradition and tips on how to re-create it yourself.
Sweetbreads, Chorizo, and More
Our asador, Terrazas de los Andes chef Manuel de Bandi, had an assortment of meats laid out on grates, like the mollejas (sweetbreads), chorizo sausage, and lomo (pork tenderloin) pictured here.
Rainbow of Ribs
Argentines love their ribs: this grillout featured pork and beef versions, both English-cut (separated from one another along the bone) and flanken-style (cut across several bones). Tender, fall-apart morcilla, or blood sausage, was wrapped in foil and placed alongside ribs on the grill.
Just Use Salt, Pepper, and Oil
Terrazas chef Manuel de Bandi — who had flown in all the way from the winery's kitchen in Mendoza, Argentina  — explained that there's no need for barbecue sauce or even spice rubs. The meat should just be seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
In Mendoza, de Bandi uses whatever wood is available and often uses pruned vines since there are thousands of acres' worth of them at the winery. The key is to use hardwood or hardwood chips, not big, soft logs: for this occasion, applewood from the closest hardware store served the purpose.
Never Grill Over an Open Flame
Don't let that open pit fire fool you: there was no cooking over any direct flames. Chef Manuel was the first to call this out: he burns pieces of wood down until they become small, whitish embers, then transfers them under the parrilla, or grill grates, to gently cook the meat.
Sweetbreads don't have to be battered and fried, like they're so often served in the states. Manuel's sweetbreads were some of the best I'd ever eaten, and I learned that they were simply tenderized in salt, pepper, olive oil, and lime juice the night before, then grilled to succulent perfection.
Something to Nibble on at the Fire
While guests watched the meat being cooked, they munched on these empanadas filled with chorizo, beef chuck, poblanos, raisins, eggs, and olives. Although empanadas are widespread in Argentina, everyone has a different opinion on how they should be made. Chef Manuel never uses cumin in his filling, while the rest of his cooks at the asado maintained that they do.
Rest, Then Slice Before Serving
After a bit of rest time, the grilled sweetbreads, chorizo sausages, and flank steak were sliced into manageable sections just before serving.
Serve Everything Family Style
The cornucopia of different pork and beef cuts was laid out casually on large platters and scattered on a table with vividly colored sides, inviting guests to help themselves.
Don't Go Overboard on the Dressings
Alongside the meats, Manuel served a flavorful citrus chimichurri, made with dried and fresh parsley, oregano, dill, lemon juice, and a bit of paprika for color. As guests sprang for it, he warned us against using too much, as the pungent garlic-and-herb emulsion can sometimes overwhelm the meat and wine.
Spreadable, steaming-hot links of morcilla, or blood sausage, were unwrapped at the table and served with a knife.
Wine Should Stand Up to the Food
When in doubt, pair the food with a wine from the region — in this case, grilled meats with a sturdy Malbec, like the 2009 Terrazas Reserva  served here.
South American Caprese Salad
Chef Manuel kept the side dishes light and fresh to counterbalance the massive amounts of meat. He offered a South American take on the caprese salad, made with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and cubes of smoked mozzarella.
Chef Manuel's "Baby" Salad
It's true: everything bite-size and miniature is cuter, as evidenced by Manuel's salad with baby wax potatoes, baby carrots, and pitted green olives.
Another colorful salad of eggplant, green and red bell pepper, red onions, and Summer squash, tossed together lightly with olive oil.
Stone fruit parfaits made for a fresh, bright end to the meal.