¡Churrasco! Padushi’s Grilling Secrets Revealed

4 Jan

My dad makes amazing churrasco and I have FINALLY got the recipe measured and on paper. This is a dish that our friends request constantly. I take it with me in the marinade to other people’s houses to grill. It is a recipe that many have hounded me for; one that I have long sought; in short – some of the best effing grilled steak you will ever eat.

It’s not like he was hiding it, but it is not until now that I have an actual recipe to share. I have had to watch him very closely many times to get it right….

Before I reveal his secrets, however, I must clarify what “churrasco” means to me.

Churrasco is a famous Argentinean and/or Brazilian cut of beef  – although the Argentineans and the Brazilians don’t necessarily agree on which cut of meat it is. For the Argentineans, at least, it seems that any thinly sliced grilled beef can be called churrasco (and feel free to weigh in on what you think churrasco is).

In Puerto Rico, however, churrasco is always skirt steak, a cut off the top of the ribs, just behind the front legs of the steer. It is fatty, which makes for great grilling, but is also muscular, which makes for more flavor. It should be cut with the grain for greatest tenderness. It is my all time favorite cut of meat, and my dad’s salty and herb-y version, with a hint of sweetness, is my all time favorite marinade. Churrasco is often marinated in Puerto Rican tradition (not that my dad is Puerto Rican, but that is another story; his name is Pedro and that is all the boricua street-cred you need right now).

Churrasco in Puerto Rico is often served with a chimichurri – a raw onion-y, green sauce – but  that is superfluous here. In fact, I find all side dishes superfluous when it comes to my dad’s churrasco. Do some potatoes if you must; I am sticking with the meat.

If you can’t get skirt steak, flank steak or hanger (flap) steak are worthy substitutes. In all cases, look for a lot of marbling; you want the fat for the grill.

Pedro’s Famous Churrasco

(this recipe is per pound and can be multiplied as you see fit)

1 lb churrasco (skirt steak)

Two cloves garlic, roughly chopped

¼ tsp coarse salt

10 whole black peppercorns

¼ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp ground coriander

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sugar (light brown preferred)

Rinse and pat dry churrasco. (If cooking right away, heat your grill to quite hot)

Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, grind garlic and salt until beginning to get mushy. Add peppercorns and continue to grind. Add in coriander and oregano and mix. Add olive oil and sugar and mash to a pulp.

Massage churrasco with pulp. If you have time, marinate for a couple of hours in the fridge, either in a covered bowl or freezer bag. If you are freezing for later, freeze in a freezer bag and thaw completely before grilling.

Lay churrasco on a hot grill for five minutes on each side. You can play around with folding the pointier, skinnier ends under or over the fatter sections. Ideally, you will have well-done ends and rare centers.

Let rest for five minutes (or not), slice along the grain and serve.


8 Responses to “¡Churrasco! Padushi’s Grilling Secrets Revealed”

  1. Val September 7, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    Used this recipe this weekend. Truly easy & pure perfection! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy September 8, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

      Thanks so much for the feedback. And for reminding me that it has been too long since I made churrasco!

  2. Carlos E. Garcia February 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    About Pedro’s recipe, I guess its secret is the sugar. Because other than sugar the Puerto Rican marinade is the same. I do it all the time in California – love the cut’s flavor. I’ll try the sugar next time. Thank you – Love your web – Tku.

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy February 17, 2012 at 3:19 am #

      Thanks for the kind words…I agree; it’s the sugar that adds that special something…texture AND taste! Gracias!!!!

  3. saucycooks January 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my mouth! I stalked a young man from the Phillipines who made the most delicious Churrasco Steak, which he spelled Chimichurri, for a month after Thanksgiving to get his recipe. Not for the grill off!!! Cheers!


  4. Karen January 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    One of my all time favorite recipes, especially when I used to eat it at Los Ranchos in Miami when we lived there. I would only order the “baby” portion but it was huge and delicious. I cook it on the grill when we are in Maine for the summer. I have to buy the meat in New Hampshire, freeze it and then take it to Maine when we open the cottage for the summer. It is definitely worth the extra trouble.

  5. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide January 5, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    This looks amazing. That meat looks incredibly tender and cooked to perfection.


  1. Arroz con pollo clásico (Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice, traditional and epic) « Hot, Cheap & Easy - September 21, 2012

    […] frittata, this one with potato and leek); hanger steak – in the style of Pedro’s Famous Churrasco; grilled shrimp; Leandro’s couscous with pesto; and a few more things that I can’t […]

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