If you’ve ever eaten at a Brazilian restaurant…
then you are no doubt familiar with the term Churrascaria. But exactly what a churrascaria is could be a bit of a mystery to you. Put simply; a churrascaria is a place where meat is cooked in the churrasco style. Churrasco is a form of barbecue that is so common in Brazil that it’s hard to find a house without a churrascaria grill in the back yard. Large pieces of meat are skewered, seasoned with a select blend of spices, and then slowly roasted over an open fire — this slower method of cooking seals in the juices of the meat for a flavorful experience.
But that’s not the only thing that separates a churrascaria from a regular barbeque joint. Servers known as gauchos (link to the Gaucho post goes here) roam the restaurant with skewers of meat hot off the grill. When signaled, often by some form of a green and red sign on your table, the gauchos will come to your table and slice the meat for you. It is an all-you-can-eat style of serving that is known as rodizio.
Churrascarias also offer large salad bars with unique South American fare while their bars offer up refreshing caipirinhas. It’s a drink that’s been labeled the Brazilian margarita. Instead of tequila, the caipirinhas use cachaça, a liquor similar to rum. Also featured in this drink are fresh muddled fruits, like limes or strawberries, real cane sugar, and lots of ice. It’s a great beverage for a hot day.
Dining at a churrascaria is a truly unique experience.
Your server, the Gaucho
You may be wondering why the servers in a churrascaria are called gauchos?
Gauchos were skilled horsemen who closely resemble American cowboy. They have a rich history in the folklore of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.
Often while on the trail the gauchos would cook their meals over open fires.
These fireside meals have over the years evolved into the rotisserie like methods that the Churrascarias (link to the above blog post goes here) use to cook their meats.
The term gaucho is used as a tribute to those fearless men who helped shape parts of South America.