The most southern Brazilian state is Rio Grande do Sul, the larger part of which, as well as parts of Uruguay and Argentina, is covered by the pampas. From these flat lands, with a vegetation which favours cattle raising, comes some of the best meat in the world.
Using this wonderful meat, the “gauchos”, designation of the South American cowboys as well as residents of the Rio Grande do Sul state, developed a particular way to prepare BBQ, here called “churrasco”: plenty of meat, coarse sea salt as condiment and wood or charcoal fire. If you season the meat with anything different from salt, or if you don’t use wood or charcoal, you can’t call that a “churrasco”. And this is not a matter of opinion, it’s the law. And when I say the law, I mean it. This whole thing is so important in Rio Grande do Sul that it has found its place in the state legislation (State Law RS no. 11,929/2003).
The Brazilian “churrasco” is equivalent to the “parrillada” in Uruguay and Argentina, also prepared by “gauchos”.
One of the most common beef cuts employed are ribs, which are slowly grilled, at times for more than 6 hours, resulting in a very, very tender meat that almost detaches itself from the bone. Nevertheless, due to high fat content, the meat remains juicy and tasty. You can see here a young fellow preparing “picanha” (rump steak, I believe), another common cut (notice the fat and the amount of salt used).
Well, ribs are what I had for dinner last night over Renan’s house, a very nice friend who remembered me when he decided to prepare some “churrasco”.
Hope Renan keeps remembering me for quite a long time.