We have been hit by a heat wave in the UK for the past few weeks and so many of us will have barbecued. So we thought we’d take a look at barbecuing elsewhere in the world. In Brazil, churrasco is the term for a barbecue which originated in southern Brazil. It uses a variety of meats, pork, sausage and chicken which may be cooked on a purpose-built “churrasqueira”, a barbecue grill, often with supports for spits or skewers. Portable “churrasqueiras” are similar to those used to prepare the Argentine, Chilean, Paraguayan and Uruguayan versions of a BBQ, the asado, The meat is either cooked on large metal or wood skewers resting on a support or stuck into the ground and roasted with the embers of charcoal (wood is also used, especially in the State of Rio Grande do Sul).
The Nicaraguans were the first immigrant group to introduce the term churrasck to the United States in Miami, Florida, as early as the 1950s, for them, rather than meaning the BBQ itself, it yrefers to a thin steak prepared grilled and served with a traditional chimichurri sauce, a macerated parsley, garlic, peppers, and olive oil sauce. In Argentina and Uruguay a churrasco refers to any boneless cut of beef that is sliced slightly thin as a steak and grilled over hot coals or on a very hot skillet. Gauchos would have grilled churrasco as part of their asado, now the national dish of both countries, served with salad and fried or mashed potatoes, and sometimes a fried egg.
In Puerto Rico it always refers to skirt steak, cooked on a barbecue grill. With a sprinkling of sea salt and served with a guava rum sauce. In Ecuador churrasco is a staple food of the Coast Region, specially Guayaquil. The dish’s main ingredient is the grilled steak that is seasoned with chimichurri and served with plantains, white rice, French fries, a fried egg, and slices of avocado. In Guatemala, churrasco is often eaten at family gatherings and on festive occasions. It is usually served with chirmol, a red sauce containing chopped tomatoes and onions, and accompanied by corn, guacamole, grilled potatoes, stewed black beans, rice and tortillas. In Chile, churrasco refers to a thin cut of steak which is grilled and served in a -sometimes warmed- local bun (called “marraqueta”), usually accompanied with tomato, avocado and mayonnaise.
Here in Europe, in Portugal, Frango de Churrasco with piri piri (a kind of salty roasted chicken cooked on the churrasqueira, spiced with hot red chili sauce). Portuguese churrasco and chicken dishes are very popular in countries with Portuguese communities, such as Canada, Australia, the United States, Venezuela and South Africa. In Galicia, churrasco refers almost exclusively to grilled pork or beef spare-ribs. Galicians who emigrated to America in the 20th century took with them the recipe for churrasco.
And, of course, let’s not forget the Australians, who are famed for their ‘barbies’. Babies are almost a way of life in Australia; it is certainly one of the most popular ways of cooking. So much so that there is a website in Australia called AussieBarbie.com.
- 4 medium rib eye steaks
- A large pinch of dried oregano
- A large pinch of ground cumin
- A pinch of coarse sea salt
- A pinch of coarse black pepper
- 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 spring onions very finely chopped
- 1 bottle of beer 330ml
- 100 ml of Worcestershire sauce
- A dash of umami
Using sharp knife, lightly score the steaks in a criss cross pattern then place them in glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle steaks on both sides with oregano and cumin and generous amount of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle olive oil over both sides of steaks, massaging the oil and spices into meat for at least 10 minutes. This tenderised them. Add the chopped spring onions, beer, and Worcestershire sauce. Make sure both sides of each steak are coated. Cover and place in the fridge at least 4 hours, turning the steaks occasionally. For the best results leave them in the fridge for 24 hours. Take the steaks out of the fridge at least an hour before putting them on the BBQ, light the BBQ and wait until the coals are white before cooking the steaks to your own personal taste. Allow the steaks to rest then slice them and place them on a serving platter. We are serving our steaks with a delicious hot sauce today called Aji Sauce.
- 6 roughly chopped jalapeño chillies, deseeded
- 2 large spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 finely chopped shallots
- A large handful of coriander, chopped
- 4 tbsp of red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp of fresh lime juice
- A large pinch of salt
- A large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Place all the ingredients in the food processor and blitz. Adjust the seasoning to taste and then pour over the steak and serve.