Brazilian BBQ

Grill Master Mateus Carlos Da Silva shares his tips for conquering the ’cue like a Brazilian.

Born and raised in Brazil, Mateus Carlos Da Silva was barbecuing by age 10 and honing his skills in the churrascarias of São Paulo by his late teens. Now heading up the grills at Touro Churrascaria in Richmond Hill, Ont., Da Silva waxes poetic on the food and cocktails of his homeland.


LCBO: Can you explain the Brazilian barbecue process?

Mateus Carlos Da Silva: At our restaurant, we grill 14 different cuts of meat on hardwood charcoal,  which the servers bring to the table, right on the skewers. We add only rock salt (a type of sea salt) to the meat before it’s barbecued, so you can taste the meat’s true flavour. For me, rock salt is the key to good Brazilian barbecue.


LCBO: Is there a particular cut of meat people should be looking for?

MCD: Our house specialty is a signature steak called picanha, which is part of the rump. You can ask for this cut at a butcher shop. When I make it at home, I take the whole cut, slice it an inch thick, add some sea salt and grill it very simply.


LCBO: So the simpler, the better?

MCD: Exactly. When you’re hosting a barbecue, it’s just a matter of having a few different kinds of meat for your guests and preparing them as simply as possible.


LCBO: What about the sauces?

MCD: Homemade chimichurri sauce always goes really well with lamb, and a barbecue sauce works nicely with pork loin and pork ribs. I usually don’t use any sauce with chicken or beef. But I like to offer a spicy sauce for people who like heat.


LCBO: How is Brazilian barbecue evolving?

MCD: The style of cooking hasn’t changed much over the years. But back home in Brazil, they’re expanding beyond red meat and adding salmon and white fish to the grill now too.


LCBO: What do you like to drink with your barbecue?

MCD: I always start with a Caipirinha, our traditional Brazilian drink. It’s a mix of Brazilian rum (cachaça), lime, a touch of sugar and lots of ice. It’s a great cocktail year-round, but especially good in summer.


LCBO: If you were going to Brazil tomorrow, what would you bring back?

MCD: Cachaça!





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