The Wagoner's Rice (Arroz de carreteiro)

In Brazil there are many folk stories surrounding this "gaúcho" culture dish. The history of this dish began when the coachmen (or “carreteiros”) making their transportation runs across the south of Brazil in coaches pulled by oxen (ox carts), cooked this dish in an iron pot and it became a tradition: it consisted in a mixture of minced beef jerky with rice. This was a practical and simple dish which one could prepare by himself.

Not having any refrigerator at hand of course, for those long trips salted dried beef was on every coachman’s daily menu, which, in Rio Grande do Sul, this meat is known as “charque” (prepared by charqueadas). This region of Brazil was a wild place back then, and coaches often did not have the luxury of stopping at Inns everyday. All stories around the Wagoner's rice revolve around the road to some degree. But, thinking beyond history, this recipe is delicious: to be served either as a main dish as an accompaniment.

In modern times, the gauchos (today, the people from the state of Rio Grande do Sul are referred to this way) sometimes prepare the rice with ground beef or barbecue leftovers and call it a "carreteiro" in reference to the original name "Arroz de carreteiro."

Yield: 4-6 servings
Rehydrate the meat: 24 hours
Total time:

The recipe for Carreteiro Rice

* 3 cups uncooked rice
* 4 tablespoon olive oil
* 2 and 1/2 lb. (1 kg.) beef jerky, dried meat
* 3 cloves garlic
* 1 and 1/2 Yellow onion
* Boiling water
* Salt, as desired


1) The day before, leave the dried meat in water in the refrigerator, changing the water several times. Best thing is to have it in water for 24 hours.

2) The next day, cook it until tender and chop or shred easily, reserve.

3) Seperately, fry garlic and onion in oil and when the onions are translucent, add the chopped or shredded dried beef.

4) Add the rice and fry well, stirring constantly. Seperately bring 6 cups of water to a boil, then pour the boiling water into the rice. Cover your pan and lower the heat; simmer until the rice is very tender and has absorbed all water.

When serving sprinkle some parlsey over the rice.

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