7 Essential Truths For Brazil On The Grill

These 7 Essential Truths For Brazil On The Grill are what separates our backyard grilling from the Land of Samba and Sun. Here’s what you need to know.

1Brazilians butcher their meats differently

These Brazilian cuts result in some of the tastiest meats to ever be kissed by flame.  Many Brazilian cuts are like what we buy: Filet Mignon (Filet Mignon), Flank Steak (Fraldinha) and Tenderloin (Contrafile). Others, including Brazil’s prized Picanha can be ordered online or cut fresh as roasts or steaks by a good Butcher. A Brazilian Steakhouse can serve up to 20 different cuts of meat, but you’ll need only two or three to make your ‘Brazil On The Grill’ experience complete.

2The supporting cast

Chicken (thighs, drumsticks, breasts wrapped in bacon), Pork Loin, good linguica sausages, Pineapple with cinnamon, salads (greens, potato), Brazilian cheese breads plus rice and beans will make for an impressive weekend menu.

And no, we didn’t forget the music, the Cachaça, Guaraná and beer.

3Brazilian meats love real-wood charcoal

One of the 7 Essential Truths For Brazil On The Grill is ‘elemental’: For the best flavors, ditch the gas and briquettes for real-wood, lump charcoal. It’s not a deal-breaker, but the difference can be remarkable and… authentic.

4Garlic and salt

This simple rub is Brazil’s answer to BBQ sauces. Peeled and cut garlic goes into your pestle with a generous amount of salt, then use the mortar to create a paste. Apply the rub at least an hour before grilling, overnight is even better.

Want to go old school? Marinade your meats in lime juice for several hours before the garlic and salt rub. Or forego the garlic with a rock salt rub. Any of these will enhance your taste buds while letting the natural flavor of these various meat cuts shine through.

5High heat, long skewers and rotisseries

This is where things get interesting.

We love our grills from inexpensive to fancy, but Brazilians kick it up a notch with a purpose-built Churrasqueira (sure-az-CARE-dah). In its simplest form, it’s a Brazilian grill with a rack to hold 4-6 long skewers for various meats.  

From there, add an electric rotisserie motor to turn the skewers and a second, elevated rack to move your skewers away from the high heat when needed.

Many Brazilian homes have permanent, chimney-topped brick Churrasqueiras in their back yards, complete with a covered eating area, sinks, fridges, a kiln (for making wood charcoal) and pizza oven, too.

Whatever your set up, knowing how Brazilians approach their grilling will help you with yours, too. In fact, everything you grill will turn out better once you’ve learned about Brazil On the Grill!

6Basting, yes. Saucing, no.

We love great sauces on chicken and ribs, but not when we’re grilling Brazilian. Fact is, BBQ sauces were invented to cover up the taste of lesser meats, not enhance their natural flavor. So when grilling that perfect Picanha, use a salt-water baste to keep the meat moist.  Great for veggies, too!

7Invest in a good carving board, knife and fork

Okay, so we’ve covered the 7 Essential Truths For Brazil On The Grill by saving the best for last.

For Brazilians, grilling is a social gathering waiting to happen. Your job as Churrasqueiro (Master Griller) is to not only grill your meats but also to serve them up on a stout, wooden carving board, sliced in bite-sized pieces to your friends and family who have gathered round the grill. Mix in the music and a caipirinha or a cold Brazilian chope and you have an instant party!