Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fire Roasted Potatoes and Chilies

The "meat on a stick" concept was developed by the Michelin 3-star chef "Ogg" when he impaled a side of stegosaurus on his spear and grilled it over the newest (at the time) Ron Popeil cooking device - FIRE.
The Brazilian version of "meat on a stick" is the impressive Churrascaria style restaurant where everything is served directly at your table from ginormous skewers. I first learned about these from Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue and I was intrigued by the concept. But Brazieros Churrascaria opened recently in Knoxville and Alexis and I were finally able to dine there last night.

The place was PACKED but surprisingly, we did not have to wait and got seated immediately right by the fire place on this cool night. The concept is simple. You pay one fixed price for the meal and there is no menu. You start with a high quality salad bar, probably the best I've seen in Knoxville. Then they bring divine cheese rolls (more like puffs, they are angelic) and 3 sides (plantains, fried polenta, and mashed potatoes). Next, each dinner has a little card like this:

When you flip it to green, the meat party starts. A constant barrage of chefs armed with skewers...actually more like SWORDS of 12 cuts of meats offer you service. They thinly slice off pieces of large cuts of meat and you use little tongs to pull it onto your plate. You can fend them off by flipping your card back to red until you're ready to eat again. I made it through 6 of the 12 offerings.

I will do a full review later with pictures after our next visit. But it was a meat eaters paradise and a very unique dining experience. Quite fun and first class service. It reminded me of the first time I ever ate at a teppanyaki style Japanese restaurant, a total departure of what you are used to.

So I woke up this morning and what was I craving? More Brazilian beef of course! So the menu is:

Beef Ribs with an Espresso/Chile Rub
Fire Roasted Potatoes & Chilies
Rotisserie Grilled Onions
Brazilian Cheese Bread
I've done beef ribs a kazillion times, so I won't detail it. I used Adam Perry Lang's method from BBQ25 (great book!) but to make it a little more South American, I substituted some of the loot I won from Marx Foods. I used Espresso sea salt (great beefy flavor) and ground up some dried aji and pasilla chilies.

Alexis made the Brazilian cheese bread came straight from Steph over at Plain Chicken. We didn't have tapioca flour and it definitely made a difference. Ours didn't puff up.

The rotisserie grilled onions are a Brazilian recipe from Planet Barbecue! How do I use a rotisserie on the Big Green Egg? It's simple. I roll out my old Brinkmann charcoal grill!

I spit roasted large sweet onions (roots, peels, and all) over a 3/4 chimney load of briquettes for an hour.

Then cut off the tops, brush off the loose skin, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. How easy is that?

Fire Roasted Potatoes and Chilies
Source: NibbleMeThis

3-4 large red bliss potatoes, peeled and diced into 1" pieces
1/4 cup oil (something with a high smoke point)
4 large cloves garlic - peeled but whole
1 dried aji chile pepper, reconstituted and diced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt

Parboil the potatoes for one minute. (I promise, it makes a difference.)

Preheat a cast iron dutch oven in indirect heat on grill (or oven) at 400-425f. Add the oil and wait 1-2 minutes.

Add the potatoes and garlic and season with salt and chili powder. Let cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.

Stir and allow to cook another 10 minutes.

Stir, add the chilies and cook 10 more minutes. (I put them in at the beginning, which was too long, they'll be better near the end.)

Garnish with chives.
Despite the cheese bread not "rising to the occasion" (again, bad substitution), it was an excellent late lunch or early dinner. The ribs had a nice mild heat and layered taste. The onions were tender and sweet. The potatoes were crispy on the outside but soft beneath the crust.

Have you ever eaten at a Brazilian steakhouse? What is your favorite "meat on a stick"?


  1. I got to eat at one of those places a few years ago with a friend of mine. I remember thinking they should just give me the whole skewer.

  2. I've heard about Churrascaria style restaurants but have unfortunately never eaten at one. Yet. I think my husband would probably think he died and went to heaven. Loved your review!

  3. I've never eaten at a Brazilian steakhouse, but I can see that is definitely in my future.

  4. There's a reason why meat on a stick has transcended time and spice and multiple dimensions. And that's because it's damn good. And those fire roasted potatoes sound like the kind of stick to your ribs goodness that a girl could get used to. If only she had a grill.

  5. Jeez, I'd eat myself to death at a churrascaria. At this point in life my desire for food is undimmed, but I wouldn't be able to get my money's worth - those places are not cheap! Eat on!

  6. Great idea to do the Brazilian steakhouse experience at home. For us folks in the boonies who live an afternoon's drive from the closest Brazilian steakhouse, this is inspiration.

    Love that rotisserie onion idea too! Now if I only had the rotisserie...

  7. We have a Brazillian restaurant here but I have never tried it but I will after reading this post.

    This meal is screaming my name... I especially love the onions.

  8. That is a fabulous Brazilian version of a meat eaters paradise. The whole sweet onions on a skewer, I am going to remember that one. I like it.

    I have never been to a Brazilian restaurant-I have heard about them, and my husband who has enjoyed it, thought he did and went to heaven. :-)

    Stay warm. I know it's cold.


  9. Wow, that restaurant sound really awesome! I've never even heard of a Brazilian steak house...but I definitely want to visit one...and eat day! I like any meat on a stick...nom, nom. Your dinner looks delectable :D

  10. Bev and I ate at a Brazilian steakhouse many years ago in Aruba - I'd never heard of them before then. I don't remember my favorite meat but I learned to not let them suck me in to eating salad, bread, or sides - save all the room for meat. Your rib meal looks super good, especially the fried taters - I could eat them every day.

  11. I've never ate at one but I want to now! It sounds incredible. And so does your inspired meal! Loving on those potatoes and cheese bread!

  12. There was a meat party and no one invited me??? :) I have never been to a Brazilian steakhouse before...looks like I need to find one!!
    The potatoes look delicious!

  13. A Brazilian steakhouse opened here about a year ago and it gets raves from everyone. I need to go.

  14. This is men's food that a girl loves to eat.

  15. I've got to stop reading you before my morning walk...instead of heading out into the cold rain I want to go to the kitchen and stuff my face! I've tried to think of the perfect time to read your blog...but really, there isn't a time of day that reading you wouldn't make me just have that effect! xo, Nan

  16. My first date with hubby thirteen years ago in Dallas was a Brazilian steak house...gosh, I attached the all you can eat palms and artichoke hearts- since I already believed in taking down the cow. A single mom could never afford the extra's, so I would have to say anything with some char and a side of the extra's! Heh!

  17. Yeah, I'm thinking we don't have one of those Brazilian places 'round these parts, but ... gimme some of that on that there plate please!

    Have a great week!

  18. I love Brazilian bbq! I don't think I could pick a favorite though, too much good stuff. Speaking of which, those ribs look amazing. I haven't done beef ribs yet, it's something I really want to try.

  19. Wow, I try to limit my red meat intake, so I'm not sure I'd get my monies worth from a Brazilian steakhouse - but I'd save up for some espresso and chile rubbed ribs like these. Beautiful, Chris! And those potatoes and onions look perfect, especially with all the chilies and roasted business.

  20. I would love to have a meal at your house! Between your skill on the grill and Alexis baking up bread, it would be heaven! I have never been to a Brazilian steakhouse before, there is not one in our town. I go to Denver at least every other month and I know they have them there. After reading your post, I will be going to a Brazilian steakhouse soon!

  21. "The "meat on a stick" concept was developed by the Michelin 3-star chef "Ogg" when he impaled a side of stegosaurus on his spear and grilled it over the newest (at the time) Ron Popeil cooking device - FIRE."

    That made diet coke come out my nose! LOL

    No, I haven't eaten at a Brazilian Grill, and it's pure laziness as I believe that we have one here in Portland. I've had several friends rave about it and, after reading this (and seeing those pictures) I'm even more motivated to go!

    Everything about this post was awesome!



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