This Was The Biggest Barbecue In World History

Asado, a specific style of South American barbecue, calls for beef covered with chimichurri sauce and cooked on a grill (via The Manual). According to a BBC article, this form of barbecue is particularly popular in Argentina; in fact, the city of La Pampa won the honors of placement in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011 for the biggest barbecue, grilling about 10.1 tons of beef. The Manual reports that each Argentine consumes about 125.6 pounds of beef annually, second only to Uruguay.

Perhaps it is not a complete surprise then that the town of Minas, Uruguay, beat Argentina's previous record in 2017 during an event that resulted in about 11.45 tons of grilled beef. Around 200 barbecuers congregated in a town park and set up fires made from a total of about 66 tons of wood for the competition, which lasted 14 hours, according to the BBC.

Barbecue isn't just about competition

Perhaps Uruguay, which the BBC noted has more than three times more cattle than it does people and is one of the largest exporters of beef, was so excited about the record not necessarily because of their obvious barbecue prowess, but because of the rivalry with Argentina. The rivalry is so strong, in fact, that one Uruguayan barbecuer told a reporter, "All this is not about the Guinness record, it's about beating the Argentines."

Despite the opposition, asado is popular in both Uruguay and Argentina because of social tradition. "[Barbecue] act[s] as a social linchpin, as one of the most strongly rooted customs and as a symbol of friendship. No one, or nearly no one, prepares a barbecue for themselves alone. The barbecue is a reason to meet, an excuse for a get-together," Global Voices stated in a translation.

So, what was done with all the delicious barbecued beef grilled up at the competition? Why, it was eaten, of course. Stemming from the tradition of the community barbecue, thousands of onlookers from Minas attended the event for a chance to chow down on some of Uruguay's best barbecue. Plates of meat were accompanied by bread and Russian salad, the latter of which the cooking crew also prepared about 8,800 pounds. Each plate sold for just over $5 (via BBC).