Brazilian Barbecue Steakhouse
More than 400 years ago cattle ranching was introduced
to the Rio Grande do Sul region of Brazil. Cowboys, called Gauchos
herded these cattle, and like the cowboys of Texas created a new style
of cooking. They called it Churrasco, which is Brazilian Barbecue.
Though this style of Barbecue wasn't based on smoke like that of the
United States, it has all the traditions and elements of an American
Barbecue. Churrasco started in the 16th and 17th centuries and spread
throughout all of Brazil in the 1940's as the Gauchos spread across
Originally the standard formula for Brazilian style barbecue
was to coat meats in coarse salt. The meat would then sit for about
30 minutes to absorb the salt and then was placed over the fire. Later
a salt-water baste was used to keep meats moist during the cooking.
Beef was typically never seasoned. Poultry and lamb, however are spiced
with a rich marinade the night before cooking. Meats are places on
long sword-like skewers and cooked over an open fire. Now days with
the growing popularity of this style of grilling you can even buy
a churasco grill.
Churrasco is much more
than a way of cooking in Rio Grande do Sul it's a way of like. The
Barbecue capital of Brazil is the city of Nova Brescia which has
a statue of a man cooking barbecue in the central plaza. In the
1940's this city had a population of about 150,000. Since then the
population has dropped to about 30,000 due to the mass exodus of
people leaving to open Barbecue restaurants across Brazil.
The popularity of Brazilian Barbecue has
lead to the founding of dozens of restaurants, popping up all over
the world. If you get the chance I whole-heartedly recommend that
you give one a try. On the menu you will usually find prime rib,
linguica (a Portuguese sausage), lamb kebabs, chicken legs, fish
and a whole host of other dishes.
All meats are cooked on long skewers placed on racks
over the fire with fattier items placed on top so that the juices
will drip down and flavor the other cuts. When the meats are cooked
waiters carry the skewers around table to table carving off pieces
onto your plate. Without moving from your table you can experience
virtually unlimited dishes until your stomach fails you and it's
time to lumber home. This is truly a great dining experience.
You can experience this at home. Kebabs are one of
the easiest things to grill. And since the tradition is to place
only one kind of meat on each skewer the problem of different cooking
times is eliminated. The next time you have an army over
try a good Brazilian Barbecue.
Special thanks go to Ivar Panazzolo Jr. for help
with this article.
Ps: Brazilian Restaurants located on the
following areas: Miami Dade (Miami, North Miami, Miami Beach, Kendall,
Aventura,South Beach, Downtown Miami) Broward (Fort Lauderdale,
Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Pompano Beach) Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton
e West Palm Beach.Orlando e Tampa.