The summer I taught in Paraguay, there was a young lady in class who was from Brasil. (Notice how I suavely spelled it Brasil instead of Brazil.  It’s almost like I know something.) She was from southern Brasil.

The summer I taught in Paraguay, there was a young lady in class who was from Brasil. (Notice how I suavely spelled it Brasil instead of Brazil.  It’s almost like I know something.) She was from southern Brasil.

Her hair was blond and her skin was the color of sugar. I don’t mean she was an albino; in South America, the sugar is not bleached, so that it’s color is more like our brown sugar, but not quite as dark.  If I just say that her skin was the color of brown sugar, some nuance is lost and I don’t get to bring you up to date on South American sugar.

Anyway, during the regular year, she studies at KU, so I asked her if she ever made it over to Kansas City for barbecue.  (Hey, I don’t know what you talk beautiful girls about, but I stick to barbecue.)

In her reply, she had a little bit of an attitude.

“If the meat is good,” she said, “you don’t have to put sauce on it.”

Well everyone is entitled the her own opinion and people tend to have strong opinions about meat, one way or the other.  We have a growing number of people who avoid meat for reasons of conscience, for example.
There are also those who do so for reasons of health. Some avoid it for reasons of religion. This can be done seasonally as certain Christians do during Lent or there are some who avoid it all together.

In fact, there is Biblical evidence that God created Man to be a vegetarian.  I believe--and I may be wrong so I want you Bible scholars to correct me--that it was only after the time of Noah that God gave man explicit permission to eat meat.

For my part, I say this: hurray for Noah.

I love meat.  Chicken, pork, beef--it is all good stuff.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t always have to have it.  I can make a meal out on beans, cornbread, and fried potatoes.  Give me some cucumbers in vinegar for the beans and some ketchup for the potatoes
and I’ll think I’m in high cotton.

But none of this negates the fact that I love meat.

On Sundays when I was a boy, my momma would stick a roast in the oven before we headed off to church and dad would stay at home to keep an eye on it.  It was a deal he made with Momma.  He’d wash the dishes and keep an eye on the roast if he didn’t have to listen to the preacher.  This is what we call win-win thinking on his part.

Steak, by way of contrast, was almost unknown at our house. I am talking about real steak versus chicken fried steak.  Momma actually treated steak and chicken fried steak the same way.  Roll the meat in flour and fry it in grease.  We didn’t know about charcoal steak until my Uncle Jack taught us about it.

This is to say that grilling steak over charcoal is not in my DNA the same way frying it is, but over the last twenty-five years or so I’ve been making progress.  Until a few years ago, I put the meat on the grill and cooked it until it stopped shrinking.  This was a method I’d learned in grad school at OSU from some majors in veterinary medicine.  Folks who’ve had Parasitology tend to like their meat crunchy. We were never bothered with intestinal parasites when I cooked this way; that is the one good thing I can say about this method.

I continued in this way until my daughters were old enough to use the Internet and find me some recipes.  They have pulled me toward marinades.

In the meantime, I’ve also discovered the bacon-wrapped fillets they sell at Beck and Hill. I pop them on the grill and cook them first on one side and then on the other until I’m not afraid of the bacon. This might not be the best way, but it works for me.

There are others who are more skilled, and, even though I am a proud, patriotic American, I will have to admit that the folks from Brazil--oops, Brasil-- have me beat.  They cook their meat in the churrasco style.  My family tried it out in a churrascaria, i.e. a Brazilian Steakhouse, in Asuncion, Paraguay.

I will not go into loving detail of the well turned-out young men carrying skewers of meat from table to table and slicing off choice portions.  I will not wax eloquent over the Argentinian wine they kept bringing around.  That part is a little fuzzy.  What I will say is that if all of the world leaders could sit down together in one of these place there would be world peace. They would probably just let Brasil run the world.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Pittsburg State University. He is on Lipitor.