I’ve read dozens of blog posts about barbecue and the art of cooking various types of meat with the heat produced by a wooden fire or with the use of charcoal. I’ve even written a few lines myself on this subject (see From the heart, “Churrasco” – the Brazilian BBQ and Parrillada in Uruguay). Nevertheless, nothing prepared me for what I saw last Sunday – a gigantic BBQ made with around 1,500 pounds of ribs by my friend Tito. Yes, that’s right, 1,500 pounds of ribs, not to mention the additional 100 pounds of various other cuts and sausages.
This BBQ, or “churrasco de chão” in Portuguese, is a typical “gaucho” preparation, and can be found throughout the pampas region, from Southern Brazil to Southern Argentina (where it’s known as “asado”). Whole ribs ( or “rib windows” as they are called in this area of Brazil), each one weighting around 20 pounds, are placed in vertical iron spikes which are then stuck into the ground at a certain distance from a huge open air fire.
The only seasoning employed was coarse sea salt, and around 25 pounds of it were consumed.
The fire was lit around 7:00 a.m. and the meat started to cook around one hour later, when the 5 cubic meters of wood had already produced a nice amount of charcoal.
Just before serving, around 4 hours later, the salt was beaten off the meat and the “windows” cut into small pieces by skilful “gauchos”.
I should mention that I don’t recommend you to try this at home, unless you can guarantee that: (1) You have a huge enough garden where you can set tables for around 1,000 people, (2) The process is going to be coordinated by a professional who makes a living preparing food for the crowds, like my friend Tito.
Watch a video of the event on YouTube.