How Churrascarias Prepare Their Meats (Or How To Get It Done At Home, Too)
If you have ever been to churrascarias, such as Fogo de Chao or Rodizio Grill, you will immediately fall in love with the tender, juicy and delicious flavors of Brazilian meats including prime rib, filet mignon, and prime sirloin. You may even like the taste of chicken hearts with their chewy yet tender consistency and liver-like flavors.
Such are the pleasures of dining in a churrascaria that you will want to replicate the experience at home, sans the gauchos serving the diners huge skewers of meat obviously. Here are insights into how the likes of Fogo De Chao make their meats such a delightful food to enjoy until you cry out, “Uncle, I’m full!”
Keep the Seasonings Simple
You shouldn’t go crazy with the spice rubs, seasonings, and herbs when grilling meat the Brazilian way for several reasons. Keep in mind that the star of the show is the meat so letting its flavors come to the fore is a must, not to mention that the cowboys in the pampas of South America didn’t have the luxury of these things.
First, just season the meat with a simple combination of sea and rock salt. You can experiment with the amount of salt sprinkled on the meat usually according to your taste but don’t add to it any other spices like pepper or rub it with herbs.
Second, be sure to grill the meat at 1000°F, which is sufficiently high to get a great sear on the meat’s surface without overcooking it on the inside. Too high and you will get burned meat, too low and your meat will be undercooked.
Use Only the Best Cuts
Of course, the meat should be of the best quality! 100% Black Angus beef is considered to be the best with the best cuts being rib-eye and filet mignon. You may also use the cuts that Brazilians prefer including picanha (i.e., prime sirloin) and fraldinha (flank plus skirt combined), which your butcher can cut on your behalf. You should always go for the naturally tender cuts, which means cheaper cuts like chuck and round are best left for other uses.
Don’t be impatient about grilling the meats to perfection because, after all, perfection demands practice, perseverance and patience. Your best bet: Grill the meats in small batches instead of grilling virtually everything in one go.
And to add authenticity to your churrascaria-at-home experience, you should also serve cheese puffs, the Brazilian equivalent of the French gourgeres. But if all of these steps are just too much trouble in your busy schedule, then just head on to the nearest Fogo de Chao now!