Monday, September 03, 2007

Churrasco - Brazilian Barbecue

I made some great tasting churrasco (pronounced shoe-hoss-koo) for Labor Day. It was the best tasting steak I've ever eaten and very simple to make.
According to Wikipedia, a churrasco is a Brazilian term for barbecue and this traditional style of preparing beef appears to be popular in Argentina also. The kind of meat varies and the methods of preparation have slight variations, but churrasco is also widely known throughout Latin America.

The basic gaucho recipe consists of salt, garlic, and water used to baste steak filets. In some countries skirt steak, flank steak, and tenderloin beef are used. The meat is skewered and cooked directly over fire and is turned periodically to prevent burning. After the meat starts to brown it's basted with the salt and garlic mixture. This is typically at least a two hour process.

It's difficult to prepare real churrasco on a kettle grill because the meat is placed too close to the fire. A churrasqueira is a purpose built grill that is often used to prepare churrasco in the back yard. For those a little more ambitious and who want to prepare large quantitites of churrasco for a restaurant or catering operation, JR Manufacturing has a large model that looks promising and has some nice pictures too.

For personal use Fogazzo offers a smaller model that is perfect for backyard use. By the way, Fogazzo also offers some nice looking pre-cast materials that will help you build your own outdoor oven, even if you're not a brick mason.


WhiteTrashBBQ said...

That looks like some great eating.

Take a look at this blog post about the Harlem BBQ Block party.

They took the churuasquiera to a whole new level.

Unknown said...

I live and grill in Brazil. Traditional churrasco has nothing to do with garlic or water, but you got the salt right. Coat a dry piece of beef (a larger cut, like a picanha from the sirloin region,or a maminha aka tri-tip) with rock salt (or prefereably Brazilian coarse sea salt) and grill. Grill high first to seal, then lower to finish. Knock off the salt, slice and serve. That is real churrasco. The rest is someone's creativity that has nothing to do with traditional churrasco( not that anything is wrong with that...) Good grilling - Tchau

Anonymous said...

If you want to get down with some brazilian style churrasco bbq, I started importing all manner of the equipment so you can get started, including an inexpensive grill for doing skewers of picanha etc. Instead of spending 2k you can do it for $2-300. The website is Happy bbqing and listen to what the lady said about the salt, it makes all the difference.