3 BBQ beef cuts that Brazilians do best

There's nothing wrong with your classic T-bone, filet mignon or sirloin. But you're missing out on the unique flavours in other parts of a cow. "We're seeing a resurgence of interest in the craft of butchery," says Sasha Conlan, founder of The Barbie Girls, a local web-to-door delivery service of fresh produce. "People are discovering for themselves that there is more to a cow than steaks and a tail."

Our recent visit to Carnivore, a Brazilian barbecue restaurant, reminded us who really knows beef and fire.

See, Brazilian butchers carve up a cow's rump differently. While they enjoy most parts of their fine cattle, the most famous and flavourful is the cut called picanha, which actually comes from the sirloin that usually gets sliced into steaks.

In Brazil, this slab - also known as rump cap - is cut into three thick pieces, with the layer of fat left on top and threaded onto sword-like skewers in a C shape, explains Carnivore's chef, Juliano Alves Lacerda. The meat is seasoned only with sea salt and cooked to medium rare over flames, such that the fat seeps down and blends with the salt. And then the swords are taken off the fire, and the chef cuts thin slices of the meat onto each diner's plate. You bet it tastes good.

A serving of rump will provide you with iron, which is needed for healthy blood and zinc (essential for sperm production and a strong immune system). So call up your fellow carnivores and sink your teeth in one of these beefy Brazilian beauties.

Try this: Picanha

"I don't recommend sauces with rump," says Juliano. "There are already 'four tastes' in your mouth: fibre, blood, fat and salt. It's complete."

Try this: Cupim

This comes from the hump of the zebu cattle. "It's for people who don't like rare beef," Juliano offers. "It's soft and tender, with no blood and juice, and leaves a comfortable sensation in the mouth."

Try this: Alcatra

"In Australia, this is known as rump, topside in the US, topside loin in the UK," Juliano explains. In any case, cows work hard to move this delicious muscle, resulting in the leanest beef cut that's perfect for barbecues and your own muscles.


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