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Posts Tagged ‘#steak’

Brazil Express Grill Review, Schaumburg, IL


Brazil Express Grill ReviewBrazil Express Grill is a locally owned churrascaria (Brazilian style steak house). What’s a Brazilian style steak house?

Traditionally, servers come to your table with a variety of grilled meats on a skewer, and after ascertaining your interest, slice you off a piece.

Most often the meats are quality  cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and sausage.

And this can go on for as long until you want, or until you  fall into a “meat coma” with a smile on your face.

This whole meat fest takes place after trips (as many as you like) to an upmarket salad bar, with a variety of salads, including build your own components, as well as cheese, deli meats, soups and more.

The star of the show, meat wise, is a favorite cut of Brazilians, but rarely touted in the US – a cut of sirloin called Picanha.

Other cuts include filet mignon, bacon wrapped chicken, Portuguese sausage (a personal favorite).

You may have heard about other restaurants like this, there are a couple of small chains in the US, but even as a stand-alone mom and pop
operation, Brazil Express puts the big guys to shame, for a couple of reasons: 1) my experience at the bigger places has been that it
was difficult to get your meat selections prepared to your preferred ‘doneness’ level.

Not so at Brazil Express, they explicity ask you what your preference is when seated, and the meat skewers that are presented to you by servers are done to your preference. 2) As much as I like being served food the way I prefer it, I also prefer a great value, and a guest check at Brazil Express is going to clock in at a good 33 – 40% less than the chains, depending upon the time of day and day of the week. SWEET.

Should you have a hankering for Brazil style roasted meats, but no time to dawdle, Brazil Express has a very reasonable “per pound” take out price.

The restaurant is located in a strip mall on Roselle Road in Schaumburg, near a Jewel/Osco, south of Schaumburg Road, and just north of Wise
Road, about a half mile north of IL Rte 390 Tollway.

If the idea of perfectly prepared quality beef in endless quantities appeals to you, be sure to check out Brazil Expres Grill in suburban Chicago.  You’ll never go wrong supporting a locally owned and operated business.  (These are not my photos, but from the restaurant’s website, an unusual move for me, but I was too busy EATING!)

Hours and Prices


Brazil Express Grill Review

Server with skewer of deliciousness!


Brazil Express Grill Review

A bountiful salad bar awaits!

Brazil Express Churrasco Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Brazil Express Grill Review


Spoiler Alert: The World’s Worst “Steak”


If you’ve read my posts in the past, you know I seldom write a “bad” review.  While I may be dissatisfied with some aspect of a visit to a restaurant or with a product I try at home, I almost always try and find something redeeming about the experience.  Although many people would dispute what I am about to say, I do try and look for the positives in life.

I am generally not inclined to purchase food products that include on the label some form or fashion of the following words:  “may contain up to (or be enhanced with ) a XX % of ‘solution.’   The solution is usually a combination of brine (salt water) and flavorings, designed for two things: to increase the weight of a product at retail, and to act as a ‘marinade’ both for flavor and breaking down tough muscle meats.

You most frequently see it on processed (raw) chicken, and those ‘pork tenderloins’ that come in various flavors.  While I don’t object, largely, to flavor enhancement, I am not thrilled with what the brines do to the texture of the food.  In my opinion, the experience of chewing proteins that have been treated like this in no way resemble the texture of eating untreated beef, poultry, or pork.

One can easily see the appeal to food manufacturers and retailers , especially if 20 % of the weight you are paying for is salt water (at multiple dollars per pound).

It also allows manufacturers to take ‘grade b’ (my term) product and amp it up to resemble a premium product.  Clever.

The Great American Steak Company is a division of Green Bay based American Food Group, a marketing and distribution company that sells ‘fresh’ meat under a number of different labels.  It is part of Minnesota based Rosen’s Diversified, which claims to be the 5th largest beef processing company in the country, and is the Gopher State’s fifth largest privately held company, with revenues of $2.5 billion annually.  The company’s materials says that they process over four million pounds of beef daily and ship their product to over thirty countries.

Great American Steak Review As to the actual product.  The Great American Steak Company sells “bacon wrapped filet of beef” in single or double packaging (left);  you can find these around town for between $4 – $8, and occasionally some store will have them at $1.99 each.  (Considerably less than the price of hamburger, which should be a clue.)

It’s funny, I actually had these a few months ago and said largely favorable things.   I don’t think I was drunk, but the same package, purchased recently, cannot be the same product I had months ago.

This was inedible.  Period.  I cooked two, using different prep methods, and neither were satisfactory.  Not only are the lacking in any kind of ‘real’ beef taste,  the tactile experience is akin to chewing on a rubber ball.  Really.

These ‘steaks’ are made by a production subsidiary of Great American / Rosen, called Skylark Meats, in Omaha (pictured below).  On Skylark’s website, they claim to be “America’s largest producer of sliced liver.”  I’m not sure that’s much of a distinction, how many people even eat liver anymore (felines excepted).   Their puff piece goes on to say they furnish premium beef cuts to some of “America’s finest restaurants,” but hopefully these beef filets are not included and I haven’t fallen prey to paying restaurant prices for the “filets” in the past.

The content label lists the primary element as “Beef Chuck Tender” and the packaging further says “hand trimmed.”  “Up to a 20% solution” is also on the label, with an asterisk, but there is no further reference to the asterisk on the packaging.

Other ingredients include some of the MSG substitutes food companies are using these days, including “torula yeast.”  You probably don’t want to click on that link and read about that product.

In short, this product is absolutely awful.  I’m pretty confident that some future generations won’t ever get to eat “real food,”  and this kind of manufacturing is the harbinger of those times.

While one can’t be sure, it is implied from the packaging this is a single cut of muscle, as opposed to a pressed, chopped, and form piece of meat. (Have you seen those hundreds of identical steaks on restaurant buffets?  Wow. What technology.).

In searching the internet for news about Great American, Rosen, and Skylark, it appears that Skylark is also a manufacturer of the steaks one might purchase at a tent in a parking lot, or off a door to door truck.  Have you heard those pitches?  What a scream!  “Yes ma’am, I was supposed to deliver this to your neighbor, but they aren’t home, so I’m willing to sell you this 20 pound box of steaks for half price…” LOL.

You get what you pay for.  Even at $1.99 for 5 ounces of “beef,”  I feel like I overpaid.   I’ll be reluctant to try any other products from any of Rosen’s operating companies.

I fully realize that at four million pounds of production a day, this 5 ounce steak represents .0000001 % of  their  production, if my math is correct.  Nevertheless, I wish they’d try and make it more palatable in general.  Or ship it off to one of those 32 countries they export to.


Great American Steak Review

Skylark Meats Plant,  Omaha








great american steak company





Juicy Savings on Steak (Guest Post)


Nothing satisfies like a thick, juicy steak, but as we’re cutting our budgets, sometimes it’s the first luxury to go. Here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be. You can find grocery store savings on all kinds of food, including steak. And these cooking tips will help you to make a frugal feast on a less expensive cut of meat.

Soak it in something savory:

  • Any cut of meat can be improved if you marinate it for a long time. There are many “recession recipes” that involve a combination of meat, time, and cheap cola. The marination tenderizes the inexpensive cut of meat, and if you can grill it that adds an extra layer of flavor. It’s all in the details, and it’s not always about how much you spend.

Tenderize it:

  • The website Livestrong suggests hammering your steak with a meat mallet to make it more tender, but warns that you can’t hammer too hard or your steak will fall apart.
  • Stewing is also a good option. You sear the meat first, and then cook it with broth and veggies. A cheaper cut of meat may take some extra time to cook, but it will provide just as much flavor as a fancy one without emptying your bank account.

Cut it properly and cook it to maximize flavor:

  • Esquire Magazine talked to some butchers to find out the tastiest ways to prepare some common inexpensive cuts of meat. Cuts like shoulder steak and Bistec Norteno taste best when sliced thinly.
  • Most cheap cuts of meat work well when prepared with a high heat method like pan searing, but brisket is best cooked slowly on low heat. If you cook them correctly, these are all delicious cuts of meat at a good value.

You shouldn’t have to remove steak from your lifestyle. As we all cut back our budgets, it’s good to have meals that make us feel like kings on a shoestring. You can trim your costs without feeling deprived, and that’s something we can all feel good about.

Additional Resources:

  • Need some extra inspiration? The folks over at Divine Health from the Inside Out have posted this decadent but frugal recipe for sirloin steak with a balsamic reduction. It’s just as good as rib eye, so you’ll save on cost but not enjoyment.

(Editorial content furnished by Coupon Cravings).

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