Sunday, September 26, 2010

BEEF CUTS - Maminha

Since the butcher's art varies from country to country, each culinary culture similarly varies from all others in the way meat animals are butchered and the way the carcass is divided into cuts of meat. We've already discussed this topic previously here on Flavors of Brazil, talking about the Brazilian beef cuts picanha and cupim. These cuts of meat do not correspond directly to the cuts familiar to American and Canadian customers, which differ in turn from the cuts found in a British butcher shop, which have no connection to the say beef is cut for a Parisian boucherie, etc. etc. etc. So this is one more post in a Flavors of Brazil series about the way Brazilians cut their meat, in particular their beef, in an attempt to allow recipes and techniques of Brazilian meat cooking, some of the best in the world, to be exported around the world.

One of the best-loved and most common cuts of beef in this meat-mad country is called maminha. In North American terms, it would be part of the round - in particular, part of what is called "bottom round." This means it is cut from the part of the animal that sits on top of the rear legs. In other words, the hips and rumps. In this chart of Brazilian beef cuts, maminha is number 15.

This cut is particularly suited to grilling on a churrasqueira (charcoal or gas grill) when cut into steaks, into roasts when it is left whole and to stews when it is cubed. It's a very versatile cut, and one of the leanest beef cuts available. One well-known Brazilian food guide calls maminha "a filé mignon for the grill" as it shares the leanness and tenderness of the filé, but is suited for grilling, unlike the more-expensive filé. The guide goes on to recommend that the cut be left whole for roasting, and that it only be sliced (always across the grain) after cooking, and that it never be cooked more that medium, as it will turn tough and fibrous when overcooked.

Any Brazilian recipe for maminha can successfully be made in North America by substituting "bottom round roast" for whole-cut roasting and cubed for stews, or "bottom round steak" for grilling.

12 comments:

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  2. Amazing! What a nice piece of information shared. I am the lover of meat and love to enjoy reading about the beef information. There is one more link which is regarding beef recipes. Thanks for share and keep it up.

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  3. Thanks so much for posting this! I'm in Rio right now and really missing tri-tip. The tri-tip Wikipedia page told me that in Brazil, it's called maminha. Tri-tip is very popular in Central California where I'm from. It's too bad that I already went to the store today. I wrote down some notes so that I can look for this cut the next time I go to the store.

    I've actually found a lot of your posts very helpful. They help me to learn more about local food. I'm learning all the names of them and you've been a big help! Kudos!

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