Churrasco Brasileiro is More Than a Mouth-Watering Meal, It is a Work of Art

BY: 
Susanne Ramírez de Arellano
 | March 30, 2023

Credit: Nuestro Stories

The churrasco Brasileiro is a feast of roasted meats strung together like rosary beads on skewers or a spit. A delicious cornucopia of flavors charbroiled to perfection on a churrasqueria; it cooks at the level of art. 

Or, to put it in the simplest of terms, churrasco is a mixed grill of savory meats cooked on a rotisserie.

Some believe, although it was never proven, that the word churrasco comes from the Spanish word socarrat, which signifies to singe or burn. Imagine the burnt, crispy layer at the bottom of a paella pan (also known in the Caribbean as “el pegaito”) and you get the image.  

Many countries vie for the title of the best in charbroiled meat – the Argentines and Chileans with their cuts cooked a la parrilla or quincho, or the barbecue parties in the United States. 

But the Churrasco Brasileiro, which originated in southern Brazil, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, is in a class all its own. 

Read more: Tortas Mexicanas Are More Than a Mexican Hamburger – They Are a Way of Life

All about the ‘Churrasco Brasileiro’

It started in the 16th century. Spanish conquistadors introduced cattle and horses to the fertile lowland plains, an area known as the Pampas, which included Rio Grande do Sul.  

Over time, many of these animals escaped or were released into the wild, resulting in vast herds running free. Frontiersmen, now known as gauchos, followed, making a living from herding cattle to market.  

The gaucho ate large quantities of beef. Being simple people, the gauchos cut the meat into pieces, or split it in half, gave it flavor with a seasoning of rock salt, skewered them, and cooked them over hot smoldering timbers until caramelized and crispy.

You start with a cut of meat called picanha, a cut of beef taken from the top of the rump – also known as rump cover, rump cap, sirloin cap, or even culotte steak. The cut has a deep covering of fat. 

The churrasco is central to Brazilian culture. Sitting down to a lovely churrasco meal with family and friends – indoors or outdoors – is a joyous celebration. 

You can enjoy it yourself too!

Recipe

Here are the ingredients:

  • 2-pound tri-tip, trimmed of excess fat
  • ½ C rock salt
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 3-ounce jar pimientos, chopped
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • Sprinkle rock salt over the surface of the tri-tip and then wrap it in plastic wrap. Allow the meat to marinate for 30 minutes. Dice tomatoes and onions and mix with the remaining ingredients. Then cover it and put it in the refrigerator for at least one hour or up to 24 hours. 
  • Prepare the grill and cook, turning the meat over after 10 minutes – this is for medium-rare temperature. Now shake the rock salt from the meat, and leave it to rest for 5 minutes. 
  • Now comes the good part – thinly slice, top with the sauce of your choice, and enjoy!  

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