What Is A Churrasco?
Brazilian cuisine is hearty, delicious, and best served family-style – which many people in Miami may already be familiar with it. Churrasco, which means ‘barbecue,’ is commonplace in Brazil where meats, cheeses, and even pineapples are grilled on charcoal. Churrascarias can be found in the US as well, serving these skewered delights table-side in an all-you-can-eat fashion. If you’re missing the experience or have yet to try it, you can make your own churrasco feast at home.
The Star And Its Supporting Cast
Before choosing your proteins to grill, let us reintroduce some Portuguese into your vocabulary. Picanha is Brazil's most popular meat. It's tender and more flavorful compared to other options since the fat is rendered while it cooks. It comes from the sirloin part of the cow.
After assuring that your meat is well seasoned and marinated with salt, you can sear it on its slab and then roast it fat side up with the flame. While Picanha may be the star of the show, you can throw in other proteins such as chicken, fish, lamb, other cuts of beef, and Portuguese-style sausages called linguicas, as recommended by barbecue and grilling expert, Derrick Riches.
Although they will be cooked on skewers, it’s important to arrange the fattier cuts so they are towards the top rack. This allows their juices to be absorbed by the leaner pieces below. There’s something for everyone in a Brazilian churrasco and proteins can be segregated by kind so that everyone is happy. Just don’t forget the complementary sides to complete the meal.
Don’t Sleep On Staples
A supporting array of side dishes is essential to a Brazilian feast. As in many other countries, Brazilians love their rice. The popular website, 'We Know Rice', says that half of the world's population actually incorporates it into their daily meals.
Brazilians are one of the top consumers of this grain in the world. Arroz bianco, or white rice, is considered a go-to side dish in Brazil that goes with a number of meals. Brazilians kick it up a notch by sautéing their rice with some oil, onion, and garlic for a slightly nuanced flavor. You can even season it further by adding herbs like oregano or parsley. While rice is commonly served with Brazil’s national dish, Feijoada, a bean and meat stew, it is a welcomed addition to your churrasco feast. Some people may even feel that it won’t be complete without it!
Toppings And Sides Galore
If you want a sharp contrast to the charcoal taste of meat, Insider says to "prepare a Brazilian vinaigrette-like salsa called molha à campanha."
All it takes is a handful of ingredients which you likely have on hand: tomatoes, green and red peppers, onions, coriander, white vinegar, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Chop everything up and serve it as an optional topping for your proteins.
For some added crunch, farofa or toasted yuca flour is another famous condiment to sprinkle over everything. Black beans and fried plantains can be easily prepared if you want to do as the Brazilians do. To round out the heaviness of the meats, you can also grill other traditional Brazilian sides like pineapple and queijo coalho, a firm cheese which may be swapped with halloumi or other firm, grill-friendly cheeses as well.
Brazilian churrascos are fun, communal meals that get the whole family involved. You can even adjust your roster according to everyone’s preferences or whatever ingredients you have access to. Once you fire up that grill, the iterations are endless. Bom apetite!
If you want some information on the best cuts of meat suited for your feast, check out Meat N' Bone's FAQ page and the products right below my signature!
Written by Alyson Lei Asia
Exclusive for meatnbone.com