One of the most popular topics each year in ANSC 117, Texas Barbecue, is Brazilian barbecue. Dr. Flavio Ribeiro, Research Scientist, Animal Systems, College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, Prairie View A&M University, once again led the class. Flavio is a native of Brazil, and he enjoys teaching others about the culture of Brazilian barbecue through his lectures and his demonstrations of this great style of cooking. We are thankful that the came to class again this year.
Flavio begins the class with a lecture on Brazil, its population, geography, and culture. He describes the Brazilian cooking style where meat is cooked over coals/fires and where only coarse sea salt is used. The students gain a great perspective on Brazil and its food, and when they get to sample the great cooking that Flavio does, it helps to reinforce his message to them.
One of the key items of his lecture is the description of the cuts of beef used for Brazilian barbecue with what they are called in Brazil and the U.S. Below is a table that he presented showing these terms. The most recognized cut for Brazilian barbecue is the picanha, which is the sirloin cap or culotte in the U.S.
Brazilian cuts of beef
|Brazilian cut||English name|
|Picanha -- The "Brazilian Sirloin"||Culotte or sirloin cap muscle (M. biceps femoris)|
|Cupim||Hump or M. rhomboideus|
|Costela||Ribs -- chuck short ribs|
|Fraldinha||Flank and skirt|
|Fraldao||Bottom sirloin butt flap|
Preparing the skewers
Flavio used four cuts of meat for his cooking demonstration: picanha, beef chuck short ribs, beef sirloin flap, and lamb sirloin chops. He had the students come up to the front of the classroom to show how to place the cuts on the skewers.
Preparing the Brazilian grill
When Flavio arrived, he worked with Brogan, Eric, Ray, and Davey to set up the cinder-block pit. We used about 40 cinder blocks to set this grill up outside of the Rosenthal Meat Center.
Once the grill was set up, charcoal was lit so that it could serve to start the oak logs to cook the meat with.
As already stated, the picanha is the symbol of Brazilian barbecue, and Flavio showed the students how to cut it, place it on the skewer, apply the coarse sea salt to it, serve the cooked slices of it before applying salt again and putting the skewer back on the fire. This process is repeated until the picanha is completely cut up and served.
Beef chuck short ribs
The beef short ribs are cooked over the direct flames with the bone-side down. The bone side of the short ribs becomes quite charred and black, but the ribs are very delicious.
Flavio brought vacuum packaged humps with him to prepare for the class. His style of cooking these includes applying the coarse sea salt to them, searing the outside of them over the flames, trimming the charred exteriors, and repeating this two or three times before he began serving the hump to everyone. Here are some photos of this process.
Serving the Brazilian meat
Once ready, Flavio slices the cooked portion off of the meat and serves it to the students. They can take the meat and dip it into the vinaigrette and simply eat with their hands.
The vinaigrette is a mixture of bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes that are diced and covered with olive oil with a little coarse sea salt and some apple cider vinegar.
The meat was served way past the end of class, and it was safe to say that everyone enjoyed the great feast that is Brazilian barbecue. Thanks to Flavio again for serving such great food to us, and we look forward to preparing these tasty dishes to our guests now that we know these secrets to great Brazilian barbecue.