A few months ago, my friends and I embarked on a magical meat journey at Espetus, a Brazilian steakhouse (churrascaria). Taking a cue from Brazilian Gauchos - who would skewer meats and roast them over a large fire pit - churrascarias serve their clientele barbecued meat directly off of large sword-like skewers. In most places, the servers continue bringing meats until you've had your fill and in our case, we had a wheel that displayed green for more or red for stop. While there we ate at least seven different kinds of meat, including a delicious bbq'd tri-tip roast called picanha. If you can't find a churrascaria near you, I've got a recipe you can try at home, to check it out,
1 tri-tip roast (2-4 lbs.)
5-6 cloves garlic
1/2-3/4 cup coarse salt (0.5-0.75 cups)
1/4 cup olive oil
- Trim excess fat from the meat. There's one side that is mostly a large slab of fat; trim down to 1/8" approx.
- Mix salt and garlic together to make a paste, rub all over the meat. Add a little olive oil if the paste won't stick. Marinate the tri-tip several hours (2-3 at least), turning it over once an hour or so. Liquid should come out of the meat.
- Scrape most of the mixture off the roast, esp. the large chunks of salt. Don't worry about getting all of it, but try to get most of it off. Rub the meat with a little olive oil, and a little more garlic. Do NOT add pepper - it burns on the grill.
- Grill over very high (highest setting) heat. Do NOT turn over until the first side is nearly burnt, but the meat is still about 20-30 degrees F from being 'done'.
- Turn ONCE, cook until 'done' (rare using a meat thermometer). Take off heat and let sit for 5 minutes before carving.
- Carve perpendicular to the grain in 3/16"-1/4" slices (around 5mm). Try to catch the 'juice' for the serving plate. Serve warm or cold.