Better ways to meat up
IF BARBECUE was an Olympic sport Brazil would win a gold medal, chef Andre Felicio says.
Felicio, originally from Sao Paulo, runs the BRAZA Churrascaria chain of Brazilian barbecue restaurants across Sydney.
He says there is an art to getting the meat to taste just right, and it differs from the Australian method.
“The main difference is that there is no barbecue in Brazil without using wood and charcoal,” Felicio says.
“Barbecues in Australia are done a lot using gas barbecues. But I think this is slowly changing.
“On the other hand, the reason for having a barbecue is pretty much the same — to bring families and friends together.’’
Brazilian food and culture represents a mixture of native Indian, Portuguese and African flavours and barbecue is incredibly popular.
“Our barbecue is ‘the Brazilian way’ of living and celebrating,’’ Felicio says.
Felicio says his own love of barbecuing inspired him to write his first book, Braza.
Family barbecues were a regular event when he was growing up and he picked up tips from his mum and dad.
Felicio then took these skills into his own restaurants.
He offers advice in his book about creating your own authentic Brazilian churrascaria experience at home. Brazilian churrascaria simply means a Brazilian barbecue house.
Ideally the meat is skewered and rotated over heat — charcoal is what brings out the flavours in the meat, explains Felicio.
“Brazilian cooking is very simple but tasty. It uses lots of fresh ingredients.
“The most popular cut of meat is beef, the Rump Cap — the Picanha (which is a Brazilian national favourite.
“There is no Brazilian barbecue without Picanha.”
Braza features eighty recipes and covers how to build a charcoal brick BBQ, create the perfect fire and buy the best meat. It is now available in bookstores. RRP $45.
Chef Andre Felicio watches as meat cooks over a wood fire at Brazilian barbecue restaurant BRAZA Churrascaria in Darling Harbour. Picture: John Appleyard