“Where I’m From, We Eat…” Michael Pena

Where I’m From, We Eat


When going to Brazil, there’s always a barbecue at a family members house, friends house, wedding, or birthday. For as long as I can remember the “churrascos” always included “Picanha” or Culotte in english. I can already see it, our usual “churrasqueiro,” which is a word for a man who tends to barbecue, that my uncle hires scrunching up the meat into a horseshoe shape, spitting it, and then heavily sprinkling coarse salt onto the red meat. He then places the meat into a brick grill which could slightly resemble an outdoor pizza oven that has had wood burning for an hour or so. Every few minutes he would rotate the spits a few degrees so that the entire thing gets evenly cooked. Then after half an hour or so of this, he pulls the meat out of the grill, taps the end of the spit to remove excess sald, and stands it onto a wooden cutting board. At this point everyone that is sitting around at the party, enjoying a “Skol,” turn around and notice the churrasquiero just from the savory scent of the roasted meat. Then, all the churrasqueiro does is glide his knife across the meat, cutting off the out part of the picanha and serves it to the guest. My favorite side dish to accompany it is “Vinagrette” which is a salad of diced onions, tomatoes, olives, green bell peppers, and either lime vinegar or lime juice and white vinegar. This cold salad compliments the steaming and juicy slice of picanha which has a texture only a little tougher than top sirloin and gets it’s juicyness from the cap of fat that is kept on when cooking the picanha. When eating this meat, the fat from the meat perfectly coats your mouth and gives you the same feeling of any comfort food making it a perfect choice for any celebration and in my case it was a party my uncle threw for me and my mother’s visit to their home.

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