A few days ago, I along with a few friends of mine put together a bit of a mountain experience. We put on an asado. For those unfamiliar, an asado is a South American barbecuing technique. The event that put this whole thing in motion was the birthday of Josh’s business partner. Jeremy, Josh’s brother, decided we were going to try to slow cook a lamb over the course of seven to ten hours and we all knew we wanted to do it in the mountains.
Michaella and Chris had scouted out some camp sites a few weeks ago when we were wandering around the mountains looking for a good spot. It needed to be a good place to do some grilling and needed the best view possible. It also had to comfortably and safely fit 15-20 people. They found a place that was perfect, but it had a few pretty big catches. There was no cell reception. It was also a spot impossible to get to with most cars.
To solve the first problem, we used some inexpensive walkie talkies we happened to already have. We set one up in the “parking lot.” It was the best place for guests to park when they arrived and was accessible with just about any car. We tied some glow sticks and a flashing red light to the walkie talkie and attached it next to a sign int he parking lot to make it easier to spot.
The guests’ experience
We messaged guests with a google maps pin and some directions. Most of what we were up to was kept a secret. All they knew was that they needed to show up at a certain time, find the walkie talkie and say hello. They were also made aware of the lack of cell reception.
When they used the walkie talkie, Josh would respond with “How many people?” The radio reception was pretty spotty so he only asked the most relevant question. Once he had an answer, I would pick them up in my jeep and take them on a pretty fun ride to the grill site. And by pretty fun, I mean crazy slushy snow trails, huge pools of water, rocky trails with boulders all over the place, and an amazing view that appears as we go up over a ridge to the grill site. Oh, and I had the doors and roof off most of the day for added effect. 🙂 I was told by multiple people during the ride that they felt like they were in a “real life Indiana Jones ride” which should tell you a little about the ride. It was also a perfect opportunity to show my sister the new Jeep. I only got her a little muddy.
Most of them showed up between 5 and 7 PM. This was perfect as they were just in time for a wonderful sunset. They also got to enjoy hanging out and relaxing near the fire as we kept attending to the fire and the lamb.
Once it was ready, we diced up the lamb and chowed down. It was fantastic! We followed it with birthday cake, smores, and singing! We hung out late into the night. As it got later, I slowly (well I wasn’t going that slow) shuttled people out until it was just a few of us and a good pile of gleaming coals.
Before any of that happened, though, we were up on the mountain building the fire around 9:00 AM. We started the fire as soon as possible so we could get the lamb going around noon. The day before, Josh and Jeremy had commisioned a super cool old metal worker to fabricate a Mad Max cross for us to roast the lamb on. None of us had done anything like this, so we weren’t ready to gamble the lamb on a cross we would make ourselves. We also weren’t sure of the legality of cutting down a live tree (needs to be live or the wood would burn).
I did some help butchering the lamb (which just required a cut along the inside of the spine so we could splay it out flat and cook evenly over the fire. Then we wired it up and the fun began.
Jeremy used a salt water mix to season the lamb while it roasted and we all contributed to keeping the fire going to generate the necessary coals to roast the lamb. We spent the next several hours focused on making sure the fire was constantly generating good coals and that the coals for the lamb was the proper temperature with even heat. You’re going to have to ask Jeremy how he knew it was done, but he definitely knew. The skin was crispy and the rest was absolutely wonderfully roasted.
I think we’ll be doing something like this again in the future so look out for a super cryptic last-minute message. It could end up being an interesting night.