Frango Churrasco, a key product for Avicasal

Tailor-made solution for Portuguese processor

Wineyard Portugal

Frango Churrasco is a key product for Avicasal and the company needed a dedicated processing line for this type of chicken meat. Plant manager Gabriel Gil and director Vitor Pinho discussed the project in close cooperation with Marel’s Regional Sales Director Marco Solleveld, to design a dedicated line with a big role for the Frango Churrasco.

Avicasal is a good example of a tailor-made project, which addresses primary and secondary processing at the same time. It fully meets the requirements and needs in each department. “We had great support from Marco Solleveld, who did a superb job analyzing our needs and finding the proper solutions together. We didn’t do a traditional upgrade. We touched several areas simultaneously, with the demands of our Portuguese market very much in mind,” says Vitor Pinho.

Avicasal overhauled the primary process by extending the scalder length, adding pluckers and replacing the rehanger with the TR-DE NT. Further down the line, a new Marel VC vent cutter and VO opening machine replaced the combined VOC, while a new inside/outside washer was also installed.


A twin-product cut-up process

After being air-chilled, whole products are rehung in the cut-up line, located in an adjacent building. Products are then individually weighed by a Marel SmartWeigher. The moment has now come to decide which products will be suitable for Frango Churrasco and what will happen to the remaining products. This intelligent selection process is done with the help of Innova PDS software. Avicasal installed a new ACM-NT cut-up line for processing both typical churrasco products and regular cut-up chicken parts simultaneously. First of all, the wing cutting module cuts non-churrasco products based on the weight measured by the SmartWeigher and calculated by Innova PDS. Other products bypass the module, as a Frango Churrasco is with wings.

A separate process for churrasco

Once selected for the churrasco line in the processing plant, products are conveyed on their ACM-NT carriers into a separate ‘churrasco room’. Here the ’churrasco module’ cuts open the breast from the front side, to flatten it for grilling. Products are then inspected thoroughly as the internal cavity should be top quality. Frango Churrasco is a popular, high quality product that should have a clean and neat presentation. Finally, churrasco chicken can be marinated or natural. Gabriel Gil adds, “Frango Churrasco is a key product for Avicasal. The way our processing line is designed now is completely custom-made. So far, Marel and Avicasal are front runners in creating a modern churrasco processing solution for the market. We’ve been studying this for quite a while and every time, we have reached a higher level.”

Marel and Avicasal are front runners in creating a modern churrasco processing solution.

Vitor Pinho
Director Avicasal

Churrasco Line Avicasal

Regular products

In the regular ACM-NT line, breast caps are cut and forwarded to a new AMF-i deboning system. Although Avicasal concentrates on whole grillers, breast fillets are also extremely popular in Portugal. The precise automated operations of Marel’s intelligent AMF-i produce them perfectly. Continuing in the cut-up line, the remaining back piece is cut by a spine cutter followed by a tail cutter, a JLR for traditional anatomic legs, a split leg cutter and a leg unloader. The remaining legs go to the drumstick cutter, where thighs are unloaded separately. Finally, the remaining drumsticks are unloaded. Avicasal also uses a Marel SmartLine Grader and an MCheck 2 in this line. Here, Avicasal grades all kinds of products, fillets, thighs and wings, producing fixed-weight trays for Portugal’s major retailers.

Frango Churrasco

Portugal is a unique country with many traditions and much gastronomy. The rest of the world is gradually discovering Portugal not only as a fantastic holiday destination but also for its cuisine. One of its specialties is the famous Frango Churrasco. It is a grilled chicken with wings and breast opened for simpler grilling and the application of special, traditional spices. This is how it gets its crispiness and spiciness both inside and out, a key feature of this highly popular quality product. Only light birds, regular broilers, of around 1 kilo [2.2 lb] eviscerated weight, are selected. They aren’t given any special feed but right from hatching are grown to become Frango Churrasco.


Tourist area

Marinated or natural, Frango Churrasco finds its way to all sorts of restaurants. In Portugal’s tourist areas such as the Algarve, famous specialized ‘churrascarias’ restaurants prepare chicken on the grill. It is then cut in pieces and served on a plate mostly garnished with special tasty Portuguese spices. Avicasal also sells its Churrasco products to supermarkets, so consumers can do their own grilling at home. Far from being a seasonal product, Frango Churrasco is eaten all the year through.

About Avicasal

Avicasal is located about 2 hours North of Lisbon and belongs to the Group Soja de Portugal. It is a vertical poultry integration with its own feed mills and breeding farms. In addition, the Group also has activities in pet food production.The Avicasal site is situated in a green valley, protected by the surrounding hills with a friendly microclimate, which is eminently suitable for chicken breeding. The Soja de Portugal Group has been in existence since 1943 and operates in the agri-food industry. It is present in three major sectors: animal nutrition, poultry meat and the collection, treatment and recovery of animal by-products. With companies such as Sorgal, Savinor and Avicasal, the group is one of the market leaders in the national market and also exports to various markets.

Company website:

Avicasal Frango Churrasco

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