A traditional Brazilian cuisine in all social classes, the churrasco, which can be translated into barbeque, originated in Rio Grande do Sul (1868). It’s the most typical Brazilian “dish” (along with feijoada).
Beef, how we know it today, was introduced in the country by the Portuguese and the Spanish. There was no cattle native to Brazil before the first cows arrived in the Northeast and then the south of the country.
The difference between the Argentinian barbeque (parilla), the Brazilian and the Uruguayan, stems from the type of cattle, which is very different. The meat therefore has a different taste; just like the technique to cook and serve it is different.
Red meat is very affordable in Brazil, to the point where in 1940-1950, churrasco was still considered a food for the poor.
Churrasco, a pillar of Brazilian gastronomy
Men are normally in charge of the churrasco (as is the case in many countries). There are always different cuts of meat like the picanha (prime rib, the best part according to Brazilians), la maminha or the cupim. Beef is the main meat cooked at a churrasco but sometimes you can also find sausages, pork or chicken. However duck and rabbit is always excluded from the menu.
Churrasco has to be cooked with coal because of the taste that wood leaves on the meat. The churrasqueira (the electric barbecue) causes the churrasco to loose its charm. The meat is always served with farofa but also with rice, or salad…
Brazilians are born as churrasqueiro, learned in the right way to turn the picanha and to cook the sausage (never burn it FOR HEAVENS SAKE!)
Churrasco : a lively (convivial) event accompanied by Brazilian music
The music during a churrasco is usually sertanejo or samba, all depending on the guests. The drinks have always been beer and soda. Wine is starting to become more appreciated by Brazilians and might even rival beer in a few years.
Brazilians usually have a churrasco on the weekends because it takes a while to prepare it. In the meantime, they always enjoy eating a delicious grilled piece of meat in a restaurant during the week.
Their biggest complaint is when they don’t have enough meat, which is something that practically never happens. Brazilians will tell you “there’s only about 4 or 5 people invited, it won’t be anything big” just to find yourself sitting at a table with 25 other people a few hours later, with a never ending supply of meet.
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