Friday, January 2, 2009

2008, The year of the barbeque

2008 has been an exceptional year for many reasons. Hahn and I (Haas) spent the year living in Rio de Janeiro making a 2000m2 painting in Rio's most dangerous favela. During that time we experienced many memorable culinary moments, most of them at barbeques. We consumed thousands of kilos of meat and millions of liters of beer at these social events which Brazilians call a churrasco. Lets reflect on 2008, the year of the BBQ.
(By the way, this post was inspired by this song on the new years mixtape put together by my cousin Jesse and his wifey Yula.)
Wendy Rene - BBQ (right click download)

The Churraso is a social event where people, meat and beer come together. The preparations are very simple unless one chooses to marinate the meat which might take a bit more time. 
Hahn quickly acquired fame with his spicy marinated chicken inspired by Surinamese quisine, but people who know Hahn know he was a bbq fanatic even before going to Brazil. 
Other than that all you need is a good selection of meat and very cold beer.

The last is important because a Brazilian won't touch beer if its warmer than -4°C. 

The meat in brazil is very cheap and of excellent quality. One typically buys huge chunks of picanha (rump cap in English), exceptionally tender meat which I have never seen in Holland, lots of linguiça (sausage), with which you keep all the kids happy who tend to flock to your churrasco, drumette (chicken leg) and asa (chicken wing). Oops, I forgot to mention that coraçao (chicken heart) is very popular. 
Picanha is usually prepared with coarse grain salt beforehand. This can also be bought pre-mixed with spices.
The bbq itself is usually handmade. Most bbq's made of old oil drums, gas tanks or the drum of an old washing machine.
Above, an interesting local technique can be seen to prepare your fire, providing more oxygen with the use of an electrical fan. The thumbs up hand-sign is the most common gesture in Brazil which can turn an angry stare into a smile at all times and has got us out of trouble many times.
One more thing which I feel is crucial to the churrasco is the way of serving the food. Unlike in Europe or the U.S. where people wait in line for their burger, in Brazil the meat is cut into small savory pieces and handed out. In this way the guests don't have to get up away from their beer and pleasant conversation to fight for their food. 
A churrasco can make a great party.

Finally lets go back to some of those special churrasco moments.

Eventhough this was new years eve 2006-2007, these guys from Vigario Geral (favela in Rio) deserve honorable mention for frying a whole pig. Pigs run around freely in many favela's so you just need to catch one and kill it to throw a party like these guys.
Churrasco on our friend Don's boat.
This guy is Pitbull, or Valter Nogueira Filho, another churrasco superhero.

You might also wan't to check out this video we shot in 2007 for Bebel du Ghetto, the video revolves around a typical favela churrasco, this time in Cantagalo.


Brendan said...

So many delicious looking things in this post

Hector Herrera said...

hello, i am from colombia, i feel you are doing great things in brazil. I also do volunteer work in the favelas of Bogotá, maybe we can try something like that here in Colombia. Chao

Pussy G.™ said...

yummy..looks delicious
1-2-3- Bar-B-Q ! ;)
soulful greetz