Greenhorn’s Guide to Dining at a Churrascaria

Getting inside a Brazilian grill restaurant – known as “churrascaria” in the Brazilian language – can be intimidating because the place just seems like a beehive of activity.

At Rodizio Grill, for example, the servers (i.e., passadors) go around the dining area with their long sword-like skewers filled with tender, juicy and delicious grilled foods while diners choose their food from the skewers.

Many will also say that the dining experience at a churrascaria can be expensive. But when you come to think about the superior food quality and quantity of the grilled food, as well as the uniqueness of the experience, you are getting great value for your money!

Start with AppetizersStart with Appetizers  -

The essence of a churrascaria dining experience is in taking delight in a feast of generous portions of a wide variety of grilled meats from meats, sausages, and even vegetables.

These food items are grilled on a long skewer over a rodizio, a rotating rack, above mild heat for lengthy periods. The result: Tender, juicy and flavorful meat that you cannot seem to have enough of.

Your feast starts as soon as you come into the dining room by stopping in the in-house bar for an aperitif to kick-start your appetite.

Ask for a caipirinha, a refreshing cocktail of Brazilian lime chunks, ice, sugar, and cachaca, a cane spirit; be sure to crush the lime with the muddler stick before stirring in sugar to suit your taste.

Add a plate of appetizer or a salad item but leave a generous room in your stomach for the main course.

Feast on Meats

Typically, the Brazilians favor generous sprinklings of salt over the meat to bring out its true flavors – no herbs, no seasonings, and no marinades.

You can choose from virtually all types of cuts from cows, chicken, lamb, and pork with their names presented in Portuguese. You need not worry as you can always ask the passadors about them, such as:

  • Picanha – rump from a special cattle breed, the pride of a Brazilian grill
  • Fraldinha – flank steak
  • Costela – short rib
  • Maminha de alcatra – sirloin
  • Bife com alho – beef with garlic
  • Chuleta – T-bone steak
  • Assado – flanken-cut short-ribs
  • Miolo da paleta – beef loin center
  • Entrecote – contra-filet

You can also ask for coração (chicken heart); linguiça (pork sausage); and presunto (dry-cured ham); as well as peixe (fish) and camarão (shrimp) for healthier options.

Your all-meat bonanza can be balanced by a buffet of mashed or roasted potatoes, feijoada, and vegetables.

Category: Eat Smart