Argentine grill masters fired up their spits Sunday for the fourth annual Federal Roast Championship in Buenos Aires.

Festival-goers gathered along the capital city's main drag to watch the action, celebrating the country's gastronomic culture as the best barbecue chef in the nation was crowned.

"For Argentines, the asado (barbecue) is the number one food, the national food," Carlos Lopez, director of the Argentine School of Grillers and one of the jurors of the contest, told AFP.

"Asados generate joy in people ... Asado means being with the family. In Argentina when we share an asado it is with the whole family. Asado means unity," Vanessa Sanchez, a 39-year-old bakery student who attended the event, told AFP.

According to city's tourism website, competitors representing all of Argentina's 23 provinces arranged kiosks up and down the July 9 Avenue, named for the country's day of independence.

Participants had prepared "different cuts of meat in front of a jury of experts who will choose the 2022 champion," the site said.

The competition was judged based on how the cooks executed their own specialized techniques for meat-grilling, a tradition common throughout southern South America.

Organizers named Natali Suarez from the central province of San Luis as winner. She declared herself "happy" to take first place among 24 competitors.