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Roast Picanha Dinner

Roast Picanha With Garlic Herb Butter and Baby Dutch Potatoes

‘Tis the season for comfort food. With the holidays fast approaching, traditional and family recipes have a special place at the table. In the US, we typically think of whole roast turkey, honey-cured ham, or perhaps the most decadent of all: prime rib with horseradish sauce.

Prime Rib vs Ribeye

“Prime rib” describes the entire rib roast portion, derived from the “primal rib” section of the cow. A prime rib roast can contain anywhere from two to twelve ribs.

By contrast, a ribeye refers to a portion that has been cut from the rib roast. In other words, prime rib and ribeye are from the exact same area of the cow, but the ribeye has been cut from the roast before being prepared. 

The key difference is how these cuts of beef are cooked. A ribeye, due to its large size, will need to be seared under high heat then finished low and slow to maintain its tenderness. A ribeye is best grilled or seared over high heat for a few minutes on each side. 

Picanha As a Substitute for Prime Rib

As we discuss prime rib and how it is prepared, we can’t help being reminded of another, less traditional (but no less delicious) cut of beef: the picanha. If you are looking for something truly special to serve this Holiday Season, why not try Brazil’s version of prime rib?

What is Picanha?

In the US, picanha is known as a rump cap or sirloin cap, since it is derived from the “rump” section of the cow. You may also find it under the names “rump cover” or “culotte steak.” In the States it is more common to find smaller cuts of the picanha in the form of loin or round steaks. 

As such, you may need to visit a specialty butcher or order picanha online. When purchasing your picanha, look for a dry cut (no visible liquid in the packaging) and a fat cap that is at least 1.5 cm in thickness. Your picanha should weigh between 2-3 lbs.

How to Cook Picanha

Picanha is traditionally cooked over a grill on high heat, but it does just as well when slow-roasted in the oven. It will, of course, have a different flavor profile: grilling produces a delicious smoky, almost-charred taste, while roasting in the oven brings out the truly succulent and beefy flavor. 

You will start by bringing your picanha to room temperature. Score the fat cap and season liberally with salt and pepper. Next you will sear the picanha to a crisp it while the oven preheats. Prepare a whipped emulsion of butter, fresh herbs, and minced garlic to top your finished dish.

Roast Picanha with Garlic Herb Butter and Baby Dutch Potatoes 

Ingredients:

*For the Roast Picanha and Potatoes

2.5 lbs picanha

4 cloves garlic

Olive Oil

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound yellow new potatoes/baby Dutch potatoes

 

*For the Garlic Herb Butter

2 sticks of softened butter

2 clove of finely minced garlic

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme

1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Trim the fat from your picanha to about 0.5 cm and let it sit at room temperature for one hour.
  2. Score the trimmed fat cap and rub salt and pepper all over the roast. 
  3. Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and preheat your oven for 400 degrees fahrenheit. 
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to your preheated skillet and brown the roast on all sides, approximately 2 minutes each side. 
  5. While the meat browns, prepare your roasting pan and potatoes. Line the pan with aluminum foil for easier clean up. Wash the baby potatoes and put them in the pan. Lightly toss with olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and kosher salt.
  6. When the roast is browned on all sides, put it in the same roasting pan as the potatoes. Clear a spot for the roast so the potatoes surround it as everything cooks. 
  7. Roast the picanha and potatoes until the potatoes are fork tender and the meat reaches an internal temperature of about 129 degrees (30-40 minutes). This will carry over to medium rare (135 degrees fahrenheit) as the meat rests. 
  8. Cover the roast and potatoes with foil and let the meat rest for fifteen minutes.
  9. While the meat rests, prepare your garlic herb butter:
  • In a stand mixer, add your chopped garlic and lemon juice. Let this sit for a few minutes. The acid in the lemon juice will “cook” your garlic and eliminate the bite of raw garlic.
  • Add in the butter, chopped herbs, salt, and black pepper (to taste). Blend using the whisk attachment to the butter is whipped until fluffy. 
  • You can serve the whipped butter immediately with your steaks or make it ahead of time. Roll it into a log shape using plastic wrap and then cut into disks to put on top of your dish. 

Slice your roast against the grain and top with herb butter. The butter will melt into the steak and roasted potatoes, making a truly flavorful and unforgettable meal. 

Give the Gift of Churrasco This Holiday Season

For the carnivore in your life, what could be better than a gift card to one of our 50+ Brazilian steakhouses across the US? We offer standard and digital options for your convenience. Go online today to purchase your card in time for the Holidays. 

If home cooking is more your style, we offer three curated butcher boxes with prime cuts of meat delivered to right your door. Pair your meat with bottles of select Dao Vineyard wines for the ultimate gift. 

Passion Fruit Caipirinha

Two Passion Fruit Caipirinhas side by side

The caipirinha is a favorite cocktail both in and outside of Brazil. The traditional drink calls for sugar, lime juice, and cachaca, a strong liquor distilled from fermented sugarcane. Cachaca is central to the food and drink scene of Brazil, where it has been produced for hundreds of years. 

How Much Do Brazilians Love Cachaca?

Cachaca is the national spirit of Brazil and is heavily regulated. Brazil is the only country permitted to make the drink, which is usually 38-48 percent alcohol by  volume. It is estimated that Brazilians drink about 360,000,000 gallons of cachaca every year. Of the more than 1.3 billion litres produced annually, only about 1% is exported. Germany has the highest consumption rate of cachaca outside of brazil.

By these numbers, I think we can safely say that Brazilians really love their cachaca.

Where Does Cachaca Come From?

Cachaca production dates back to the early 16th century when Portuguese colonists began to transfer sugar production from the Madeira Islands to Brazil. 

Up to this point, a drink called aguardente de cana (“cane alcohol”) had been produced in Madeira using specialized stills. These stills were brought to Brazil, along with the first cuttings of sugar cane, in around 1532. The drink was renamed “cachaca.”

What Does Cachaca Taste Like?

The flavors of cachaca depend largely on how it was produced and if/how long it was aged. Cheaper versions can have a stronger, almost chemical-like taste. Young, small-batch cachaca is usually described as “earthy” or “grassy.” Aged versions will take on the flavors of their barrels and have more complicated notes, like spices, fruits, and grass. 

How is Cachaca Different from Rum?

Like rum, cachaca has an aged and unaged version. The branca or “white” cachaca is bottled immediately after distillation, although it can be aged according to the preference of the distiller. Cachaca branca is usually cheaper and not as smooth, which makes it the preferred choice for mixed drinks. 

Aged cachaca is known as amarala, or “yellow,”to reflect its golden color. For this reason it is also sometimes called ouro, meaning “gold.” Cachaca amarala is aged for at least three years and up to fifteen years. It has a smooth taste and is typically sipped neat.

Unlike rum, which is produced traditionally using the byproducts of sugar production (especially molasses), cachaca is produced from fresh, fermented sugar cane juice. However, there are certain rums that are produced using this technique as well. Rhum agricole, for example, is produced using fresh cane.

The distinction between rum and cachaca seems to be largely a cultural one. Until 2013, cachaca was referred to as “Brazilian Rum” in the United States because of its similarities in production, aging, and taste. In 2013, an agreement was signed to refer to the drink by its proper name and to describe cachaca as “a type of rum and a distinctly Brazilian product.”

How to Make Passion Fruit Juice Caipirinha

Like most cocktails, the caipirinha has many variations. The traditional lime juice and sugar can be substituted with nearly any fruit juice, but tropical juices like passionfruit are particularly good. 

Fresh Passion Fruit ready to go into this cocktail

Since passion fruit is native to Brazil and widely available at markets, it is the mixer of choice for caipirinha (after the standard lime juice). Mixed with sugar and strong cachaca, it makes for a beautiful and refreshing summer drink.

Luckily, it is not as difficult as it once was to find cachaca at your local liquor store. There are several great entry-level brands of cachaca to choose from, each with its own distinct flavor and price point. Most large liquor stores now carry at least one version of cachaca. It is also available online, where you can even purchase a handy caipirinha kit. 

In a pinch, you can use white rum. But it will not, technically, be a caipirinha anymore. It will be a caipirissima

Passion Fruit Caipirinha Recipe

Yield: about five 4-oz drinks

Ingredients:

8 fl oz white or silver cachaca

2 oz white sugar*

4 limes 

8 oz passion fruit juice (fresh or shelved)

Directions:

  1. Roll 3 of your limes back and forth a few times before cutting them into wedges. This helps the juice concentrate in the center. 
  2. Place the lime wedges and all of the sugar in a pitcher and muddle until the juice is released and the sugar is dissolved. Remove juiced limes.
  3. Pour the passion fruit juice and cachaca into the pitcher and stir to combine.
  4. Cut the last lime into slices and garnish 4-5 glasses filled with ice. Pour the caipirinha mixture over the ice and serve. If you are using fresh passion fruit, you can add the fruit itself as a garnish as well.

*You can adjust the amount of sugar depending on how sweet you like your drink. Also keep in mind that if you are using boxed passion fruit juice, it may already contain some amounts of sugar. 

Caipirinhas at Texas de Brazil

A chilled, refreshing caipirinha is the perfect complement to a delicious meal at Texas de Brazil. Visit one of our 50+ locations to try our signature cocktails and incomparable churrasco-style meats.

Christmas Dinner in Brazil

A Traditional Christmas meal in Brazil

Around the world, the Christmas holidays are a time to celebrate family, friends, and good food. Brazil is no exception. 

A family around the table for Christmas

At Christmas, Brazilians enjoy a vast array of traditional foods that reflect their unique blend of cultures and religion. In the US, Christmas Dinner is often served at midday on December 25th. In Brazil, the main meal is eaten late at night on Christmas Eve, and the festivities can last until the early morning. 

The table is laid out in much the same fashion as in America and Europe, with red and green as prominent colors, a Christmas tree or nativity scene in the background, and centerpieces decorated with holly berries. 

What Do Brazilians Eat for Christmas Dinner?

Main Entree

The central dish of Brazilian Christmas Dinner is typically a “chester,” a special variety of chicken that has been bred to have a high percentage of breast and thigh meat. Unlike the turkeys roasted in the US, chesters are sold in boneless, oval-shaped packages. They are roasted and carved like boneless honey ham. 

There is some mystery surrounding the origin of the chester, with theories ranging from it being a hybrid mutant chicken to it migrating every year to Brazil from the North Pole. Regardless of its origins, it is a staple of Brazilian Christmas, where it is declared universally delicious.

Christmas dinner usually includes a chester chicken in brazil.

A boneless chester chicken ready to be carved over a bed of fresh fruit.

In other regions, especially the coast, bacalhau is the star dish. This salted cod is soaked overnight then rolled into balls (“bolinhos”) for frying. The result is a flavorful, crunchy, and comforting fish croquette. 

Bolinhos de bacalhau, fried croquettes eaten for Brazilian Christmas.

Side Dishes

In the US, the foods we select have a great deal to do with the weather outside. Our Christmas is typically chilly, with hot and comforting foods eaten to mitigate the cold. In Brazil, however, the winter months are hot. December 25 is the middle of Summer for countries in the Southern Hemisphere, and the foods present at holiday meals reflect this.

The chester or bacalhau are often accompanied with fresh salads, dried fruit, and cold potato salads mixed with apples and raisins. Bowls of rice seasoned with garlic are a staple, as are ham and cheese plates, seasoned kale, and farofa-a mix of fried cassava flour and crispy bacon bits. 

Dessert

Americans typically eat pie for dessert at Christmas-pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and apple pie are the most common. In Brazil, the two most common desserts are panettone and rabanadas. Panettone is a nod to Brazil’s Italian heritage. It is sweet bread in a large muffin-shape with dried fruits or chocolate. These can be purchased pre-made in Brazilian supermarkets starting in November.

Rabanadas is the Brazilian version of pain perdu, or French Toast. Stale pieces of bread are soaked in milk and egg, seasoned with warming spices, and fried. 

Rabanadas, Brazilian French toast eaten for dessert on Christmas Eve.

German strudel may also be found, along with marzipan, bowls of refreshing, seasonal fruit. Mangoes, guava, pineapple, and cherries are favorites.

Beverages

Again, Christmastime is summertime for Brazilians. They tend to substitute our preferred drinks of mulled wine, spiked hot chocolate, and eggnog for more refreshing beverages. Cold beer and whiskey on ice are often served as the spirits of choice. Interestingly, caipirinhas are not often featured at Christmas dinner. They are reserved for more casual days at the beach. 

Experience Brazilian Culture and Cuisine

While Christmas is undoubtably more a celebration done at home, at Texas de Brazil, we cherish the opportunity to share more and more about the traditions of Brazil. Outside of Brazil, you can experience the unique flavors and hospitality of Brazil at one of Texas de Brazil’s 50+ locations. Go online to find the restaurant nearest you, or give the gift of churrasco with one of our hand-curated grill package options

 

Brazilian Mulled Wine Recipe (Quentão de Vinho)

Quentão de Vinho – A Brazilian Mulled Wine Recipe

In Brazil, mulled wine is known as Quentão, which translates to “big heat.” It is traditionally drunk during the Festas Juninas, Catholic celebrations of rural life that take place throughout the month of June. 

Festas de Juninas in Brazil

The Festas are a Christian adaptation of European Midsommer. Participants give thanks to Saint John for the summer rains and dress as stereotypical caipiras, or “country bumpkins.” Boys don large straw hats and painted freckles and girls wear pigtails and checkered dresses. 

There are many traditional games and dances, such as the quadrilha, which is similar to American square dance. The music of the forró players is central. It is an unmistakable sound, with an accordion at the center and the rhythm kept by a triangle and a bass drum called a zabumba. The lively beat is juxtaposed with vocals that express longing and nostalgia. 

Corn dishes are abundant at the Festas: sweet popcorn, corn coconut pudding (munguza doce), and fúba cakes made from cornmeal. And the traditional drink is the quentão, a warm mulled wine sweetened with cane sugar and flavored with earthy spices. 

In America, we tend to drink our spiced wine when the weather turns cold. The quentão is a perfect addition to the warming drinks we look forward to as Winter approaches. It is lighter than many of the European versions, which are often spiked with brandy or cognac. This makes it an ideal pairing with a savory end course, like a cheese board with aged parmesan and smoky prosciutto. 

The quentão is very simple to make. A few quality ingredients are all that is needed to make this spiced beverage. If you wish, you can boil the wine so that it is virtually alcohol-free. Otherwise, be sure to keep the heat on a simmer so you retain the alcohol content. 

Brazilian Mulled Wine Recipe (Quentão de Vinho)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 liters of red wine* (two 750 ml bottles)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • 1 sliced orange
  • 1 sliced lime
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 peels of fresh ginger (or 2 tsp candied ginger)
  • Garnish: cinnamon sticks, orange peel, orange slices, or star anise

*Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon work well, try out DAOU vineyards for our selection of wines you can use at home.

Directions:

  1. Add your water and sugar to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. 
  2. When all of the sugar is dissolved, add your fruit and spices. Cover the pot and simmer on low for 30 minutes. 
  3. Add your wine and simmer while covered for an additional 10 minutes, until it is hot. 
  4. Strain the wine and serve in mugs with cinnamon sticks, star anise, or orange peel for garnish. 

 

*You can easily make this wine in a slow cooker. Add all your ingredients at once and cook on low until hot. Reduce heat to warm and serve as needed. 

Visit Texas de Brazil for More Traditional Recipes

Texas de Brazil has more than 50 locations across the United States and Overseas. Visit one of our churrascarias to experience our delicious and authentic Brazilian food and drink, like our famous picanha and a huge selection of side dishes.

 

Cooking Tomahawk Ribeye Steak At Home

The tomahawk ribeye is an impressive cut of meat. It is instantly recognizable by the extended, handle-like bone, which gives the cut its name. Cooking tomahawk steaks on a charcoal grill at home is relatively easy and makes for a delicious and eye-catching meal.

What Are Tomahawk Steaks?

The tomahawk is technically the same cut of beef as a ribeye. Both come from the rib area of the cow, but a tomahawk is specially trimmed to leave about 5 inches of rib bone intact. This method of trimming, called “Frenching,” is the same technique used to create a rack of lamb. 

Tomahawks are typically taken from the loin of the cow, which is composed of two muscles that run along the spine. It is the same cut used for t-bone steaks and porterhouse steaks. 

Where Does the Name Come From?

In the United States, the tomahawk steak can be traced back to the Texas Cattle Drives of the 1860s. Cowboys prepared steaks in this manner and found they resembled a Native American hatchet, or “tomahawk.”

Since the tomahawk is a distinctly American item, the steak is not called this in other parts of the world. In Australia and New Zealand, for example, the bone-in steak is simply called a “ribeye.” When the bone is removed, it is known as a Scotch fillet or Whiskey fillet. In Great Britain and France, it is most often referred to as a “côte de boeuf.” 

Is Tomahawk Steak Expensive? 

Yes, tomahawk ribeyes are one of the more expensive cuts of steak. A high quality, 40 oz tomahawk steak can cost about $100-considerably more than a boneless ribeye. 

Many chefs will tell you that the addition of the rib bone adds richness and complexity to the end flavor; and others will say the only difference it makes is in the final appearance. 

So, are tomahawk steaks really worth it?

The flavor and texture of the meat is certainly worthy of a higher price tag, but the true value of the tomahawk seems to lie in its “wow-factor” appearance. The tomahawk has become such a status symbol, in fact, that some individuals are shelling out as much as $2000 for a gold-leafed version offered by Chef Salt Bae in Britain. 

While the gold-leafed tomahawk might be taking things a little too far, we feel the long bone ribeye on its own is worthy of a special dinner. In the end, the extra cost of the tomahawk depends on your end goal: if you want taste AND pizzazz, a tomahawk checks all the boxes. 

How Do You Cook a Tomahawk Steak?

Tomahawk steaks are thick and generally weigh between 35 and 45 ounces. Because of their size, you may be tempted to cook your steak in the oven. While this is certainly an option, tomahawks are truly at their best when grilled on a charcoal grill.

Grilling tomahawks is actually quite easy. Salt and monitoring are all that is required.

If you do not have a charcoal grill, you can obtain a similar result by searing your steak in a cast iron pan on high heat. 

Tomahawk Grilling Steps

Allow your steaks to come to room temperature. Preheat your grill to high heat. Make sure it is clean and lightly oiled.

Meanwhile, season your tomahawk on all sides with a good amount of salt. Place the steak over direct heat and sear for a few minutes on each side. Move to indirect heat and cover. Flip the steak every few minutes and continue cooking until you reach an internal temperature of 135 degrees fahrenheit (medium rare).

Wrap your steak in aluminum foil and let it rest for fifteen minutes. Cut against the grain to serve.

What Should I Eat With My Tomahawk Steaks?

You will be surprised how buttery and flavorful this cut of meat is, seasoned only with a little salt. Complement its richness with a smoky Cabernet, roasted brussels sprouts, and garlic mashed potatoes

Where Can I Buy Tomahawk Steak?

Long bone ribeyes can be found in the butcher section of many grocery chains, or in specialty shops. For the highest quality tomahawk steaks, you can visit Texas de Brazil’s online butcher shop. We offer USDA Choice tomahawks and picanha, Australian rack of lamb, and other specialty cuts of meat. Order a curated box or a la carte today.

Churrasco Recipe: Steakhouse Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Texas de Brazil inspired Steakhouse Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic mashed potatoes are a staple of the Brazilian steakhouse, and for good reason. They are pure comfort food, with a creamy texture and buttery, tangy flavor. This garlic mashed potato recipe uses buttermilk, parmesan cheese, and loads of garlic. We promise, this will be your go-to recipe for mashed potatoes, whatever the occasion. 

What Kind of Potatoes Should I Use?

You can use whatever potatoes you like: Yukon gold, russet, or red potatoes all do nicely. For this mashed potato recipe, we are using russet potatoes that have been peeled and boiled in salt water. 

We find russets work best if you’re going for a creamier texture. If you’d rather have a chunkier texture or leave the skins on your potatoes, you can try red or Yukons. The same steps in the recipe still apply. 

Can I Make a Dairy-Free Version?

Yes, you can substitute the parmesan cheese, butter, cream, and buttermilk in this recipe with equal amounts of dairy-free alternatives. Cashew-based cream cheese and soy-milk will work nicely and add a hint of nuttiness to mimic the parmesan. Miyoko’s also has an excellent dairy-free butter that melts just like the real thing. 

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is easy to make: simply mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup of your milk or cream. The percentage of milk fat does not matter. You can also do this with your non-dairy milk (see above).

If you do not have the above ingredients or simply prefer to leave out the buttermilk, you can substitute plain milk, half and half, or heavy cream in your steakhouse mashed potatoes. For added tang, use plain greek yogurt or sour cream thinned with water or milk.

Steakhouse Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20-30 minutes Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs russet potatoes 
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream or half and half
  • ¾ cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • Scallions for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Equipment:
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Potato Masher
  • Large stock pot
  • Small saucepan
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife

Directions:

  1. Peel your russet potatoes and cut them into 1-inch pieces. 
  2. Put the chopped potatoes into your stock pot and cover with enough water just so they are completely submerged. 
  3. Add the 2 tablespoons of sea salt to the potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they fall apart when speared with a fork (20-30 minutes).
  4. While your potatoes are cooking, heat a small saucepan over low heat. Melt one tablespoon of butter in the saucepan.
  5. Smash the garlic cloves and give them a rough chop. Put the rough-chopped garlic into the melted butter in the saucepan and simmer just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the cream or half and half to the saucepan and cook on medium until you see a light simmer, then remove from heat.
  7. Drain your potatoes and put them in a large, heat-safe bowl. Pre-mash them with your masher until you see an even texture. 
  8. Add in your buttermilk* and parmesan cheese and incorporate with the masher.
  9. Finally, add in the cream and garlic mixture and mash again. Mix until you reach a texture that is creamy but not overly smooth.
  10. Season with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  11. Let the potatoes cool for 5 minutes or so. They will thicken up during this time. 

*Why don’t we heat the buttermilk with the cream? Because buttermilk can curdle if it reaches a certain temperature. It’s best to add it separately.

That’s it! Serve your potatoes warm with diced scallions and a pat of butter on top. These are so creamy and flavorful you won’t even think about adding gravy. For a delicious meal, pair your homemade garlic mashed potatoes with seared picanha or flank steak with chimichurri sauce. 

Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Other Sides at Texas de Brazil

Visit one of 50+ locations to try our house-made garlic mashed potatoes and other delicious sides, like mushrooms in a red-wine marinade, lobster bisque, traditional feijoada black beans, and potatoes au gratin. 

Rio de Janeiro’s Most Famous Monument

Christ the Redeemer is World Renown

Rio de Janeiro has a large Catholic population dating back to the 16th century Portuguese colonists who brought the religion from Europe.  Certainly, Christ the Redeemer is a beloved icon among locals. Of the 13.5 million residents, more than 51% identify as practicing Catholics. 

It is perhaps not surprising, then, that the city’s most famous artwork is rooted in the Catholic faith. Known to Brazilians as “Cristo Redento,” the statue stands large and looming on a mountaintop, arms reaching out as if he were drawing the entire city into an embrace. 

The imposing statue can be seen anywhere in the city. This is intentional, since its original purpose was to instill a sense of piety among straying Catholics. Even the non-religious can’t help but feel the gaze of the enormous Redeemer as they go about their business. 

How Big Is the Christ the Redeemer Statue?

Built in the Art Deco style, the Redeemer is a masterpiece of sculpture and design. The statue weighs 635 metric tons and is 98 feet tall. The arms measure 92 feet in length, and the whole statue sits on top of a 26 foot pedestal. 

Where Is the Statue Located?

Christ the Redeemer sits on the summit of Corcovado Mountain, a 2300 ft peak located in Tijuca Forest National Park. The idea of placing a statue on this mountain was first proposed by a local priest, Pedro Maria Boss. He suggested building a monument there to honor Princess Isabel, the regent of Brazil. 

Father Pedro’s project was never approved and, in 1889, Brazil became a republic. The project was dismissed entirely to adhere to the separation of church and state. 

Why Was the Statue Built?

In 1921, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Rio again proposed that a monument be built on top of Mount Corcovado. Catholic citizens petitioned then-president Epitacio Pessoa to allow for the construction of a statue of Christ. The petition was granted and the first stone was symbolically laid on April 4, 1922. 

While the exact reason for the statue is unknown, the predominant theory is that the Church felt its subjects were straying from their faith. A monumental figure of Christ that could be seen from anywhere in the city would be a not-too-subtle reminder of their duties to God.

Who Built It and When?

Christ the Redeemer’s design was initially conceived by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, whose sketches showed Christ holding a cross in one hand and the world in the other. This design was refined by Carlos Oswald, another Brazilian artist who is credited with the idea of having Christ’s arms outstretched. 

French sculptor Paul Landowski collaborated with da Silva Costa and Oswald on the statue and commissioned Gheorge Leonida of Romania to work on the details of the face and head. 

The massive size of the statue required that it be built on site. All materials and workers were transported via a small cog train that led to the summit. This was a complicated and expensive undertaking. The final cost of building the statue was around $250,000, which is the equivalent of over $3 million today. It was funded almost entirely through private donations to the Catholic Church.

The statue was completed on October 12, 1931. It has undergone periodic cleanings and renovations, the most recent of which was in 2010 after a lightning storm caused significant damage. 

What is Cristo Redentor Made Of?

The sculpture is built with reinforced concrete and decorated in a mosaic of soapstone, a metamorphic rock mined locally in Brazil. It is durable and easy to carve due to its high talc content. It is also heat tolerant, which is why it is sometimes used to line fireplaces. More often, it is used for things like countertops and flooring.

Who Can Visit the Statue?

Anyone is welcome to visit the monument. Tourists can get a better view using the escalators and panoramic elevators that have been added to spare visitors the 200-step climb to the top. 

Today, there is also a chapel consecrated in 2006 to Our Lady of Apparition-the patron saint of Rio. The chapel is located at the base of the Redeemer statue and is a popular venue for weddings and baptisms. 

More than a Sculpture

Close up of Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer has become a symbol not just of Rio de Janeiro but of the entire country of Brazil. The statue is a reminder of the omnipresence of the Church for millions of citizens, and a testament to Brazilian engineering and design. It remains the largest Art Deco sculpture in the world and draws thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year. 

Experience Brazilian Culture at Texas de Brazil

Outside of Brazil, one of the best ways to sample Brazilian culture is to visit one of our restaurants. We serve authentic Brazilian churrasco in the traditional gaucho way. Visit one of our 50+ locations for a dining experience unlike any other. 

You can also subscribe to our blog for more interesting articles on Brazilian culture, history, and cuisine. 

Brazilian Culture Spotlight: the Baianas de Acarajé

Bahia is a state located in the northern region of Brazil. It is famous for its tropical coastline, colonial history, and rich Afro-Brazilian culture.

A ubiquitous figure of the markets of Bahia is the baiana. These women, clad in traditional head scarves and flowing white skirts, are the purveyors of a delicious style of fritter called acarajé. The dish has its roots in West Africa and was brought to Bahia in the 19th century. Today, there are over 500 acaraje vendors in Salvador, Bahia’s coastal capital city. 

What Is Acarajé and How Is It Made?

Acarajé is a stuffed fritter that is sold and eaten as a street food in Bahia. If you want to make a traditional acarajé take a look; a blend of black eyed peas, salt, pepper, and onions makes the dough. This mixture is molded into a round disc and deep fried in red palm oil. The disc is split open, stuffed with shrimp, and topped with vatapá or caruru. These are spicy pastes made with various ingredients like okra, ground cashews, and coconut milk. This dish is often served with a fresh salad. 

Acarajé in all it's glory

Who Are the Baianas?

The Baianas are the descendents of slave women who sold their acarajés as a means of buying their own freedom or that of a family member. Later on, these women sold acarajé as a source of income. To this day, acarajes are prepared and sold exclusively by women who wear the traditional costume of their ancestors. 

The Traditional Dress of Baianas

Baianas are easily recognized by their traditional style of dress, which is a blend of African and European styles. The signature look features a headdress or cap, which is a nod to the region’s Afro-Islamic heritage. A billowing white lace bodice and anáguas, or petticoat, are wrapped in five meters of saia cloth to form an ample skirt. Under the skirt is the camizo, a pair of cotton pants. The finishing touch is plenty of brightly colored jewelry: stacked bangles, drop earrings, rings, and layers of beaded necklaces. 

The Baiana Religion

While the baianas can be seen sporting a variety of colors and patterns, many have maintained the traditional all-white costume. This is an homage to the deity of Obatala, a spirit of purity in the West African religion of Yoruba. In Bahia, Yoruba has been combined with aspects of Catholicism to become Condolé. Obatala has merged with Our Lord of Bonfim to become “Oxala,” and he acts as the Patron Saint of Bahia rather than a spirit. 

In addition to being a favorite local snack, acarajé is also given as an offering to the Candomblé saints and gods during religious festivals. 

Bainas de Acarajé are a National Treasure

The bainas and the acarajés they sell are an important symbol of Bahia’s African roots. The style of dress, ingredients in the dish, and ties to Candomblé are traditions that have been carefully maintained for many generations.

In 2004, the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) certified “acarajés as prepared by bainas” as a national treasure. Acknowledging not just the dish but the manner in which it is prepared underscores the value and impact of Bahia’s Afro-Brazilian culture. 

Visit Texas de Brazil for Traditional Brazilian Dishes

Texas de Brazil prioritizes authenticity in all of our dishes. Our servers are trained in traditional gaucho style and hospitality, and each of our dishes is carefully researched and prepared. From a perfectly seared picanha to a savory moqueca stew, we aim to give our guests a true taste of Brazil. Visit one of our 50+ locations for your next dining out occasion. 

What is Picanha, Brazil’s Favorite Cut of Beef?

Picanha, Brazil’s favorite cut of beef, has been a favorite in Brazil for years as an affordable yet flavorful cut of meat, especially when prepared in the traditional churrasco style. In the US, it is still relatively unknown outside of the Brazilian Steakhouse. But its unique flavor, ease of preparation, and affordability make it worthy of further exploration.

What Part of the Cow Does Picanha Come From?

The picanha cut of beef comes from an area on the rump of the cow above a fat cap.
Butchers map of the cow

In the US, the picanha cut is known as a rump cap or sirloin cap. It may also be called a rump cover or “culotte steak.” It is not common to find this cut of meat in stateside grocery stores, where it is typically broken down into smaller cuts of meat like loin or round steaks.

This is unfortunate, because the complete picanha is a delectable, juicy cut of meat. When prepared properly, it has a taste and texture similar to sirloin: buttery, flavorful, and lean. 

Where Can I Find Picanha in the US?

As mentioned above, it is unusual to find picanha in American grocery stores, even high end ones. Outside of Brazilian steakhouses like Texas de Brazil, you will need to visit a specialty butcher to request a picanha or picanha steaks. (unless you check our e-shop) It will be well worth the extra effort to find Picanha, Brazil’s Favorite Cut of Beef. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a choice cut of picanha:

  • Fat Cap Thickness: you will want a fat cap that is at least 1.5 cm thick
  • Weight: generally speaking, smaller cuts of picanha are better, since they are less likely to contain other cuts of meat that are tougher. Aim for a cut that is 2-3 lbs in weight. 


Dryness: there should not be much liquid coming from the picanha once it has been butchered. It should be a dry cut of meat with most of the fat in the fat cap, not visibly running through the beef.

Raw Pichana ready to season on a board

How Do You Cook Picanha?

At Texas de Brazil, we keep it simple: our picanha is seasoned with sea salt and spit grilled to medium rare perfection. No other seasoning is needed to bring out the flavors of this beef, which is sliced thick with the fat cap intact. 


When cooking at home, you can prepare it in a similar way on a backyard grill. Allow your picanha to come to room temperature and pat dry. Slice the picanha into four or so thick cuts, ensuring you are cutting with the grain*. Season both sides with sea salt or kosher salt. 

Make sure your grill grate is clean and oil it using a paper towel soaked in olive oil or lard. Preheat to about 250 degrees fahrenheit. Arrange the steaks away from direct heat on the outside edges of the grill. Close the hood and cook the steaks for about six minutes per side. 

Once the steaks have cooked on both sides over indirect heat, move them to the center of the grill and sear on each side for a few minutes until the internal temperature reads 130 degrees fahrenheit (medium rare). 

*This may sound unusual. The steaks are cut with the grain initially because they will ultimately be carved into smaller portions against the grain for optimal tenderness. 

Do I Have to Use a Grill to Cook Picanha?

No, there are various methods you can use to cook picanha, including pan searing and oven roasting. 

Pan searing is best used for individual steaks, while oven roasting is better for a whole cut of picanha. Whatever method you use, you will want to ensure you do not overcook your picanha, as it can become tough. 

Pan Searing

Heat an oiled skillet to medium high heat. Season both sides of your picanha steaks with a little sea salt. Sear each side for 1-2 minutes until a nice crust has formed. Remove the steaks and lower the heat to medium. Return the steaks and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes per side, or until you reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees fahrenheit. 

Oven Roasting

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Score the fat cap of your whole picanha and season with sea salt or kosher salt. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Sear the picanha fat side down (do not put any additional oil) until it is crisp. 

Place the seared roast and drippings into an oven safe pan. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 125 degrees Fahrenheit (the heat will carry over to 130-135 degrees while resting). 

Allow the picanha roast to rest for fifteen minutes, then slice against the grain. 


What Do You Eat With Picanha?

Picanha is a bold, flavorful beef dish. As such, it pairs well with virtually any accompaniment, from a crisp salad to garlic mashed potatoes. At Texas de Brazil, we recommend a side of our potatoes au gratin, Brazilian black beans, or a helping of potato salad with a little crispy bacon. Pair it with a glass of Texas de Brazil Private Label Cabernet Sauvignon and a slice of Brazilian cheesecake for a truly indulgent experience.

 

Keto Friendly Options at Texas de Brazil

I’m Looking for Keto Friendly Options when Eating Out.

The Ketogenic Diet, also known as “Keto” for short, has grown in popularity over the years as an effective way to lose weight without feeling overly hungry. The diet focuses on a high fat, low carbohydrate approach, with most meals centered around meat and low starch vegetables.While the diet may not be for everyone, anecdotal evidence is high to support its effectiveness in many individuals.

How Does the Keto Diet Work?

Typically, your liver relies on carbohydrates as a source of energy. Carbohydrates are found in foods like bread, sugary fruits, and starchy vegetables. The liver breaks down the carbohydrates in these foods into glucose, a currency of energy which can then be used to power functions within the body’s cells. 

The idea behind the ketogenic diet is that, after a period of severely reduced carbohydrate intake, the liver will look to fat stores as a source of energy in place of glucose. It will begin to convert these fat stores into another form of usable energy, known as “ketones.” 

When the liver runs out of carbs to convert and begins breaking down fat stores into ketones, the body is in a state of “ketosis.” It is the goal of individuals on the keto diet to maintain a state of ketosis so that the liver is continually breaking down fat. 

What Can I Eat at a Brazilian Steak House if I Am On Keto?

It can be difficult to maintain a diet when eating out, especially at an all-you-can eat restaurant! Fortunately, Brazilian steakhouses like Texas de Brazil offer an amazing array of options that are keto-friendly and satisfying. They are also so delicious you will probably forget you are on a diet in the first place.

Individuals aiming for 2000 calories per day on a ketogenic diet should be getting 5-10% from carbohydrates, 10-20% from protein, and 70-80% from fats. This amounts to about 165 g of fat, 75 g of protein, and 40 g of carbohydrates for the day. 

The following are some examples of tasty combinations you can enjoy at Texas de Brazil while adhering to your keto diet plan. Keep in mind that you will hit your protein goal pretty quickly at a steakhouse, so you may want to opt for higher fat vegetarian options for your other meals during the day. 

Keto Meal Ideas at Texas de Brazil

Meal #1

 

Food Item Serving Size Nutrition Information*
Flank Steak 2 pieces Calories: 260
Fat: 16 g
Net Carbs: 0 g
Protein: 28 g
Brazilian Sausage 1 piece Calories: 170
Fat: 14 g
Net Carbs: 1 g
Protein: 9 g
Chicken Salad 1.5 servings Calories: 300
Fat: 25.5 g
Net Carbs: 3 g
Protein: 15 g
Steamed Asparagus 5 pieces Calories: 25
Fat: 0 g
Net Carbs: 1 g
Protein: 0 g
Sautéed Mushrooms 5 pieces Calories: 25
Fat: 1.5 g
Net Carbs: 2 g
Protein: 1 g

Total calories: 780

Total fat: 57 g

Net carbs: 6 g

Net protein: 53

Meal #2

 

Food Item Serving Size Nutrition Information*
Barbecued Pork Ribs 3 pieces Calories: 360
Fat: 26 g
Net Carbs: 3 g
Protein: 18 g
Picanha 1 piece Calories: 120
Fat: 5 g
Net Carbs: 0 g
Protein: 16 g
Buffalo Mozzarella 2 pieces Calories: 220
Fat: 20 g
Net Carbs: 0 g
Protein: 14 g
Fresh Sliced Tomatoes 5 pieces Calories: 25
Fat: 0 g
Net Carbs: 5 g
Protein: 0 g
Tabouleh 0.5 cup Calories: 140
Fat: 14 g
Net Carbs: 4 g
Protein: 2 g

Total calories: 865

Total fat: 65 g

Net carbs: 12 g

Total protein: 50 g

Meal #3

 

Food Item Serving Size Nutrition Information*
Lobster Bisque ¾ cup (6 oz) Calories: 360
Fat: 34 g
Net Carbs: 8 g
Protein: 4 g
Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon 1 piece (2 oz) Calories: 150
Fat: 9 g
Net Carbs: 0 g
Protein: 17 g
Lamb Chops 2 pieces (4 oz) Calories: 280
Fat: 20 g
Net Carbs: 0 g
Protein: 22 g
Steamed Asparagus 5 pieces Calories: 25
Fat: 0 g
Net Carbs: 1 g
Protein: 0 g
Grilled Provolone 2 slices Calories: 80
Fat: 7 g
Net Carbs: 0 g
Protein: 4 g

Total Calories: 895

Total Fat: 63 g

Net Carbs: 9 g

Total Protein: 47 g

 

*Nutrition information calculated using Nutrionix.com database.

Texas de Brazil Is Delicious and Keto-Friendly

This is by no means a comprehensive list of keto-friendly foods at Texas de Brazil or any other churrascaria. Feel free to mix and match based on your dietary requirements and tastes.Our bacon-wrapped chicken, for example, is keto friendly and delicious, as is our parmesan crusted pork loin. For more information on our menu and to prepare for your next visit, click here.

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