The word churrascaria comes from churrasco, the Portuguese term for barbecue. Churrascaria restaurants are popular in Brazil, though they can be more than a little overwhelming for unsuspecting tourists. Diners can literally eat for hours, as passadores (special meat waiters) circle the tables carrying long rotisserie skewers called rodizios laden with grilled beef. The only way to stop the proceedings is to wave a small white flag or red disk, signaling to servers that you're finally full.
Today's Cook the Book recipe, excerpted from The Best Barbecue on Earth by Rick Browne, is for churrascaria marinated steaks with chile-lime sauce. The grills used at traditional churrascaria restaurants vary in size from eight-foot tall rotisserie racks, to enormous concrete pits where the meat is hung from steel rods, to simple earthen pits with wooden logs and wooden skewers. Don't quite have the space to accommodate such a massive barbecuing structure? Not to worry. Rick has adapted this recipe for home cooks and everyday backyard grills.
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- Yield:4 servings
- 5 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher or flake salt
- 2 white onions, chopped
- 12 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 (1/2 pound sirloin steaks, 1 1/2 inches thick)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
- 1/3 cup dry red wine
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup loosely packed coarsely chopped Italian parsley
Combine the jalapeños, 1 teaspoon of the salt, half the onions, and one-third of the garlic in a blender or food processor, and process until a paste is formed. You’ll have about 1/2 cup. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Place the steaks in a large baking dish. Mince the remaining onion and garlic. In a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, wine, minced onion and garlic, oregano, bay leaf, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Pour the marinade over the steaks, turning to coat each steak evenly. Cover and refrigerate, turning every couple of hours, for 4 to 6 hours.
Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to 450ºF. Make sure the grill rack is clean and oil it thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray.
Remove the jalapeño-onion-garlic sauce from the refrigerator and set aside to bring to room temperature.
Remove the steaks from the marinade and wipe off the excess. Transfer the steaks to the grill over direct heat, and cook for five to six minutes per side, to an internal temperature of 145ºF for medium-rare.
Place steaks on a heated platter, cover with foil, let stand for five minutes. Serve with the sauce.