What is a Parrilla Grill?

This image shows BBQ Parilla Grills

Parrilla grills are starting to become more commonplace in Australian backyards, but what exactly is a parrilla grill?


The literal translation of the term Parrilla is “grill” - the actual open-fire hearth and metal V grates where the meat is cooked. In its most basic form, a parrilla is any metal or iron grill grate situated over a heat source of hot coals or wood embers. This is similar to how some people refer to a “grill” just as the metal grid that you put the meat on, whereas other people refer to a grill as the entire BBQ set up including the grill, charcoal box etc


This image show a Deluxe Parrilla BBQ Grill with Firebricks

In Australia, the term Parilla is typically used to describe a charcoal BBQ with an adjustable grill that allows the BBQer to control the cook. The height of the grill plate is adjustable over the fire by an overhead assembly and a crank wheel on the side that is used to adjust the height the grill sits over the fire. Either side of the grill will be supported by a wire that is attached to an overhead rod.


This image shows the Argentinian Parrilla Grill-60 x 44cm


The rod is attached to a crank wheel and when that crank wheel is turned, it either wraps the wire around the overhead rod to pull the grill up away from the fire, or it unravels the wire from around the overhead rod to lower it closer to the fire. The crank wheel can be stopped in multiple positions to stop the grill at the ideal height.

This image shows rod is attached to a crank wheel of Argentinian Parilla Grill



You may have also heard Parillas referred to as Santa Maria Grills, Asado Grills or Argentinian Grills. While technically there are some differences between these grills, they are mostly used interchangeably in Australia. 


The most common cuts of meat to cook on a Parrilla grill are different cuts of beef. Asado ribs, various cuts of steak and sausages. Having a large adjustable height cooking area allows you to set up your fire to have hot zones and cold zones and have ultimate control of the cooking temperature. Typically, meat cooked on a Parrilla grill is cooked at a lower temperature for an extended period. The grill is usually set at a much further distance from the fire than what most of us would be used to when cooking on a kettle BBQ or other forms of charcoal BBQ. 


This image shows meat cooked on Grill


One of my favourite features of parrilla grills is the ability to easily top up the fuel source during the cooking process. To add more wood to the fire, all you need to do is crank the height of the grill high enough to be able to shovel some more burning coals or wood in underneath.


This image shows Argentinian Asado Parilla Grill 120 x 44cm


Once you’ve topped up the fuel, you can just as easily lower the grill back down. Similarly, it’s easy to be able to move the fire around using a charcoal rake. Most charcoal BBQs don’t have this type easy height adjustment so to add more wood or move the fire around, you need to take the whole grill off the BBQ with the food on it, add/move the wood, and then put the grill back on. 


This image shows Argentinian Asado Parilla Grill 120 x 44cm


Another great feature of a Parilla grill is the shape of the grill. The V shape of the metal grills allow the fat and oil from the meat to channel down the V and into a small drip tray. This differs from a more traditional charcoal BBQ where the fat and oil drips through the rungs of the grill and onto the fire that causes flare ups.


This image shows The V shape of the metal grills allow the fat and oil from the meat to channel down


Parrillas come in all different shapes and sizes. For home use, you’ll typically find either freestanding Parrillas or the grill and crank system that can be built into an existing bricked area. For commercial use, they are often mounted on large trailers where the bed of the trailer is the charcoal box.Imagine how much meat you can cook on a parrilla covering the area of a large trailer! 

Check out our range of Parilla Grills






by: Michael Wilkie