A churrascaria is a place where meat is is cooked in Churrasco style, which translates roughly from the Portuguese for ‘barbecue’. Distinctly a South American style rotisserie, it owes its origins to the fireside roasts of the gaúchos of southern Brazil traditionally from the Pampa region, centuries ago.
In modern restaurants rodízio service is typically offered. Passadores (meat waiters) come to the table with knives and a skewer, on which are speared various kinds of meat, be it beef, pork, filet mignon, lamb, chicken, duck, ham (and pineapple), sausage, fish, or any other sort of local cut of meat. A common cut of beef top sirloin cap is known as “picanha”, this is the pride and joy of Brazil churrasco.There are literally thousands of Churrascarias in Rio de Janeiro, and millions in Brazil because the meat is so good and plentiful, that they grill any time, anywhere, and always somewhere, at any given time, night or day. Brazilian’s love churrascaria! and for good reason, however it’s important to point out how different the style of grilling is, compared to North American Bar-B-Que.
The custom in Brazil has it that; the more tender morsels of meat you can serve during the session. When I say session, I mean session, as the idea is to stretch the “buffet of carne” (and lots of appies, cheese and veggies) to last as many hours as possible, by eating a wide-variety of perfectly prepared cuts from a dozen or more, specially prepared meats. The style is to eat slow, taste by taste, punctuated by shots of cachaca and cold beer.
The best Churraso experience is the intimate private back-yard, friends and family affair, poolside, on a beach surrounded by rainforest, under the shade of palm fronds, on a blazing-hot summer day. Boa vida! (good life).
There are famous brands in the “food-world” like Sushi and Chinese but now Churrascaria has arrived in a big way, on a global scale. I’ve eaten at Fogo de Chao in Dallas as well as Sao Paul, and Pocao Restaurante in both Miami and Rio de Janeiro, in all cases the food and the service was outstanding and all guests had a fabulous unique dinning experience. Also, these brands and style of fine dining is served in Europe, Dubai, and China. However, one of my favorite brands in Brazil, and certainly worth a mention, is Barbacoa Restaurant and having said that, I will divulge my absolute favorite eating establishment in the world; Baby Beef Rubaiyat. Bon apetite!