Parrilla Venezolana y Guasacaca

Parrilla Venezolana y Guasacaca Recipe | Five Senses Palate

Parrilla means grill in Spanish, it also refers to a party you throw with the purpose of grilling, and it also refers to the meat you are grilling. So basically Parrilla is a BBQ, right? The only difference is that when I am invited to a BBQ, I am not quite sure what I’ll be eating, burgers is the first thing that comes to mind. However, when I am invited to a parrilla I know exactly what to expect, there will be some carne asada for sure, Spanish chorizo, blood sausage, or Argentinian chorizo. For the accompaniments I could expect yuca, shredded salad, potato salad, or hallaquitas (corn flour base wrapped in corn leaves and boiled – not to be confused with tamales).

Having a parrilla just means hanging out with friends and family, grilling, drinking a beer or cocktail, and just having a good time. That’s why my plan for this 4th of July is as simple as that. Every year since I moved to Madison we’ve spent our Independence celebration in Milwaukee. Last year we celebrated in Madeleine Island while camping. This year will be the first time we are actually home and I want to keep it as simple as possible. My Wisconsin Whisk friends are having a Whisk Backyard Party and we are all sharing inspiring recipes for this weekend with the idea that you can have a whole range of recipes to make on the 4th of July. Check out their ideas at the bottom of this post.

The meat soaks in a marinade few hours before cooking, some people prefer not to do a marinade and just salt the steaks. For me, there is a special connection with my food, once the marinade hits the grill it starts to smell like something amazing is happening. I wish you could smell it too! To find Spanish chorizo and blood sausage I normally visit a local Latin store. Then there is a Venezuelan sauce we put on top of everything, for a parrilla is almost like one of those elements that gives meaning to your meal: Guasacaca. A sauce with an avocado base, cilantro, garlic, and vinegar.

Even though there are many different pieces that make an authentic Venezuelan Parrilla, for this post I am going to focus in the steak and I’ll be a good girl and share the recipe for guasacaca as well. I hope that it will give you enough motivation to make your own parrilla this holiday. So let’s get grilling!


For Carne Asada
2 lb. Flank Steak
3 garlic cloves
Half small sweet onion
2 sweet peppers
1 tablespoon white vinegar*
1/4 cup canola oil
Few fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt & pepper

For Guasacaca:
1 ripe avocado
Half small onion (the other half onion from the marinade)
2 garlic cloves
1 green bell pepper
1 cup cilantro (leaves and stems)
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (leaves only)
1/4 cup canola oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon white vinegar*
Salt & pepper

1 package Spanish chorizo
1 package blood sausage

*Venezuelan cuisine is not fancy at all, we use a lot of plain white vinegar for our recipes, feel free to substitute with wine vinegar.

Parrilla Venezolana y Guasacaca Recipe | Five Senses Palate

Make the marinade. Place the flank steak in a glass dish, big enough to fit the steak in one layer, preferably. In a blender add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the marinade over the steak, turn steak to coat, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours or up to overnight. Take the steak out of the fridge about half an hour before grilling. Heat the grill to medium heat, brush with oil. If you are cooking chorizo and blood sausage, place them in the grill and cook turning, until nicely charred and cooked through. Cook the steak for about 10 minutes, until nice and charred in the outside and medium on the inside. Rest the meat 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with chorizos and blood sausages, top with guasacaca.

Parrilla Venezolana y Guasacaca Recipe | Five Senses Palate

For the guasacaca:
Peel the avocado, onion and garlic. Place them in a blender. Cut and seed the bell pepper, add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend on high for a couple of minutes. It should turn into a medium thick paste. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve alongside parrilla. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out the Whisk Backyard Party recipes here:

Parrilla Venezolana y Guasacaca Recipe | Five Senses Palate

Parrilla Venezolana y Guasacaca Recipe | Five Senses Palate

Parrilla Venezolana y Guasacaca Recipe | Five Senses Palate

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