The Cut Of Meat You Shouldn't Pass Up When Dining At A Brazilian Steakhouse

Eating at a Brazilian steakhouse is one of the most exciting (and delicious) dining experiences. The assortment of meats and sides is a beef lover's dream. However, to experience the full magnificence of these meat-filled restaurants, there are several things you should know beforehand: From the dishes you need to try to the serving style used and the etiquette expected. But most importantly, arm yourself with knowledge of the best Brazilian steaks, or else you'll miss out on the essence of the churrasco experience.

Now, most people are familiar with the popular picanha and know they don't want to miss it, so that's not what we're talking about here. The cut of meat you shouldn't pass up when dining at a Brazilian steakhouse is the fraldinha. This is arguably the second most-Brazilian steak you'll ever eat. Its name is derived from the Portuguese word fralda meaning flap or diaper, likely due to the steak's shape.

Fraldinha doesn't directly correspond with any one particular standard American cut of beef, so to help you understand what cut it is, know that it's sourced from the lower section of the cow near the hindquarters. It's part of what we know as the flank, part of the short loin, and part bottom sirloin. That's why many people call it the flank steak while others the bottom sirloin. All in all, fraldinha is a long, flat cut of steak with an exceptional beefy flavor.

Why fraldinha is a must-try at Brazilian steakhouses

Apart from the beefy flavor, one of the stand-out features of the fraldinha is its extensive marbling. This cut of beef is generally lean so you may think it's going to be too tough once cooked, but the distribution of fat between the muscle fibers makes it a very succulent, tender steak. Every bite you take is packed with juicy flavor without being overly fatty. To enhance the tenderness, the Brazilian chefs and servers know to cut this steak against the margin so the meat will more like melt in your mouth as you eat it.

Another factor that makes fraldinha so special is how it's prepared and served at the Brazilian steakhouse. The Brazilian style of cooking steak known as Churrasco refers to cooking the meats on large skewers over open flames. This is not only a sight to behold but also the intense direct heat results in a deliciously crusty exterior on the fraldinha with a tender and juicy pink core. So the next time you sit down at a Brazilian steakhouse, make sure to ask for fraldinha and enjoy a mouthwatering steak that's unlike the more common cuts you're used to.