15 Delicious Brazilian Meat Dishes
Brazil is one of the largest producers, exporters, and consumers of meat in the world. During properous times, every working person longs for the end of the week and the weekly Saturday churrascos (barbecue) cooked for friends and family. And when the country is in crisis and regular working people struggle to afford meat, the discontent grows so great that the government has to fix the situation, before the entire country comes to a halt.
Brazil has many creative recipes using ingredients that a lot of other countries would find strange, at the very least. But the result is always impressive and delicious. Here are some examples of Brazilian meat-based dishes so you will know what to expect if you come to visit!
The picanha is the favorite cut of meat for a great number of Brazilians. It is usually the star of the churrascos (barbecues). It is a cut from the rump of the cow, and is served without removing its fat cap.
It is normally seasoned simply with salt and has an incredible natural flavor when prepared correctly.
The juices of the melting fat cap give the picanha most of its flavor and tenderness. It is mostly served rare/medium-rare, but there are a few that prefer their picanha well-done.
Editor’s Note: Queijo Coalho, of the most popular Brazilian cheeses, is the favorite non-meat dish served at a Brazilian churrasco.
2. Carne de Panela (Pot Meat)
The Brazilian Carne de Panela is a very popular dish. It is a stew that typically is made using tougher cuts of meat that softened after a long cook. It is usually cooked in large quantities and can last for the entire week.
The stew can either be slow cooked in a regular pot or using a pressure cooker. A wide range of local ingredients are used, depending on the region you find yourself in. The most common are garlic, onions, carrots, multi-colored bell peppers, and potatoes.
3. Coração de Galinha (Chicken Heart Skewers)
Depending on where you come from, you either be pleasantly surprised or downright disgusted at the sight of a dozen grilled chicken hearts served on a stick. In Brazil, chicken hearts are really popular. In fact, Brazilians are so fond to this delicacy that of all the chickens the country produces, no chicken hearts are left for export.
They have a chewy consistency and a unique, slightly metallic taste and are weirdly addictive. A dedicated enthusiast can gobble up dozens of them with little to no difficulty.
4. Lingua de Boi (Beef Tongue)
Another dish that can shock people from other cultures is lingua de boi: cow’s tongue. It is a coveted cut of meat that is served as a main dish. Preparing a good tongue takes quite a bit of skill as you can easily overcook it, ruining its consistency.
When done right, it has a incredibly soft texture and a smooth flavor. The dish is cooked and served with a thick gravy made of white wine, bell peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olives, and basil.
5. Fígado (Beef Liver)
This is a dish made from cow’s liver. It has an extremely strong flavor and some people find it a bit bitter. You either love it or hate it; there are no in betweens. It might be a bit of an acquired taste, but many people believe they dislike the dish having tasted nothing but overcooked liver, that can indeed have a very bitter flavor.
In contrast, a well-prepared fried liver served with onions is not only highly nutritious but also an unforgettable experience for the senses being acidic, bitter, sweet, and metallic all in one bite.
6. Carne de Sol
Carne de sol is a heavily salted piece of beef that is left to cure for a couple days under the seering sun of the Brazilian sertão. It was originally a method of food preservation. It is a very similar process to how the Portuguese colonizers preserved their codfish and the technique was likely acquired that way.
The result is a meat with a strong, delicious taste and smooth texture. It is served with tropeiro beans, fried cassava, and coalho cheese.
7. Leitão a Pururuca
A traditional Brazilian dish that is usually associated with feasts, pururuca is a technique for cooking pork rind until it becomes a crunchy delicacy. The skin protects the tender meat of the pork while it is slow cooked for over 4 hours, when all the flavors mesh and the consistency is devine.
Now, the final step, the pururuca, is to pour boiling oil over the pig skin several times until a few bubbles start appearing. The result is an incredibly crunchy skin hiding an incredibly juicy meat and a memorable experience.
8. Vaca Atolada
Vaca atolada is a dish made using beef ribs and cassavas. Both are cooked in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes until they are soft. Not only is this dish delicious, it is easily made by anyone that knows how to use a pressure cooker. This makes it one of the favorite regular dishes for Brazilians all around the country.
9. Carneiro no Buraco (“Lamb in a Hole”)
A highly creative and delicious recipe, this “lamb in a hole” is so called because that is how it is cooked.
After leaving the lamb to rest for a couple hours so that the seasoning can do its work, the lamb is then wrapped in banana leaves and put inside a small hole, about 2 meters deep, on top of hot charcoal. The hole is then covered with wooden planks. After 4-6 hours of cooking, the lamb reaches the point of perfection.
The result is a smoked, extremely tender meat that is so delicious that in the region of Paraná, where the recipe comes from, there is even a festival to the dish, where many people take part in cooking the dish and then feast on the resulting delicacy together.
From the rear of the cow, the lagarto is known as one of the driest and leanest cuts. Its fibers are light red in color and there is little fat. The meat requires a long cooking time to make it soft and tender.
Recipes include different fillings for the meat that are cooked with it. Common fillings are bacon or sausages. The result is an incredible dish that possess two contrasting flavors. The light flavored lagarto cut with the strong flavored bacon and sausages provide an incredible experience in a single bite.
The feijoada is one of the most famous Brazilian dishes for a reason. Most Brazilian restaurants serve feijoada on Fridays and Saturdays. The dish consists of black beans cooked with plenty of cuts of pork and beef. It is usually served with rice, cabbage, and farofa, a Brazilian side dish made with fried cassava flour.
While it has a delicious flavor, there is another reason the dish is usually only served at the end of the working week. Digesting a well-made feijoada isn’t an easy task, and no one wants to work when full from it.
Barreado is a traditional dish originating from the southern region of Paraná. This recipe requires cooking for over 20 hours different cuts of meat inside a large clay pot until the meat completely dissolves into a thick broth that is seasoned with different peppers, onions, and garlic.
After the long cook, the broth is then mixed with cassava flour to the desired consistency. This dish is a perfect winter dinner; it not only warms you, it also packs an amazing flavor and fills you up.
13. Buchada de bode
Buchada is a dish that is greatly appreciated in the northeast region of Brazil. The ingredients might scare the less adventurous palates, but you shouldn’t dismiss it without trying it first! It is made by cooking various goat’s offal – liver, kidneys, lungs – inside the goat’s stomach!
It has a strong, incredibly fatty flavor that is unforgettable, if you are courageous enough to take a bite. Hopefully, you won’t be able to forget it in a good way.
14. Carne de Jacaré
A traditional recipe from the states that are part of the Pantanal ecosystem is alligator meat. Nowadays they are only farmed alligator is allowed to be sold; alligators can’t be hunted for ecological reasons.
It is served either grilled or fried and it has a smooth taste that reminds you of both fish and poultry. It can be served either as an appetizer or as a main dish and is seasoned with mild peppers, lemon, and paprika.
15. Costela no Fogo de Chão
The Costela no fogo de chão is a traditional recipe that has been a favorite since colonial days. It is a simple recipe, but that does not mean it is easy to prepare to perfection. It consists of a huge piece of a beef ribs drenched in large amounts of 80° proof cachaça and then slowly cooked over bonfire embers.
The cooking time and the distance between the meat and the fire needs to be precise to achieve the perfect consistency where the fats start to melt inside the meat. If well done, the result is mouthwatering.