Traditional Carne de Sol from Restaurante Picuí Praia. one of the two best restaurants in João Pessoa specializing in Carne de Sol
Carne De Sol is a treasure from Northeastern Brazil. Imagine if Brisket and Beef Jerky had a baby… And you’ll have a good idea of this wonderful taste. I had the delight of eating this the first night I was in Brazil, and I fell in love with it immediately.
Carne De Sol’s history comes from the sertanejos (read: Brazilian Cowboys), who dried their meat in the sun and using salt – much like other cultures around the world. However, the process developed in Brazil involved shorter days and colder nights, drying the outside, while maintaining a moist and tender center.
While it is a common food in the Northeastern Region, it is easy to make, and has become popular around Brazil, so can be found in restaurants across the nation. It is hard to follow the exact traditional (now commercialized) drying process, but here is a simple recipe that approximates it:
- Buy 2 kg of Rump Roast (or whatever beef you prefer)
- Cut the meat into pieces no thicker than 3-4 cm (or about 1.5″)
- Place a very thick layer of salt on the bottom of a Tupperware container. Then place the meat inside and cover in another thick layer of salt on top (Essentially make a sandwich with salt instead of bread), and put in the fridge for one to two days. Check the meat every few hours, draining what we commonly refer to as the blood (Fun Fact: its not actually blood that drains from a steak), and replacing the salt that washed away. By doing this in the fridge, you preserve the moist center, while adding wonderful crisp and salty exterior.
- You will know it is done, when the meat changes colour from Red to Brown.
This meat can then be used as the beef in whatever other recipes you are following, to give it a Brazilian twist. IMPORTANT NOTE: you must still cook the meat to a high temperature before it is safe to eat. Salting the meat merely preserves it, this is not a replacement for cooking.
Here are some of the most of common dishes from Brazil containing Carne De Sol: (Hint: use Google Translate for recipes)