Original article published at TasteAtlas.
Churrasco is a Brazilian barbecue method where juicy pieces, slices, steaks, and chops of grilled beef, veal, lamb, pork, and chicken are placed on big skewers and grilled over wood fire. It started in the early 1800s when the Gauchos (European immigrants that settled in the Rio Grade do Sul area) would get together and start a fire, adding large portions of meat on skewers and slowly grilling the meat. In the restaurants, known as churrascarias, the skewers are paraded across the restaurant in a flashy manner, and the waiters circulate among the tables in order to show off the succulent meat to hungry diners. After the customers have chosen their preferred type of meat, it is sliced off the skewers to the dining plates. Also known as rodízio, the theme of this barbecue experience is all you can eat, so the customers should know to come with an empty stomach. Beef is the most popular option, although livers and hearts are especially rich and chewy. In Brazil, the meat will often be from the zebu, a succulent, lean breed of cattle. Churrasco starts with appetizers and a variety of salads offered from a big buffet, as a preview of things to come. The usual accompaniments for the meat include farofa grains, rice, fried potatoes, potato salad, steamed greens, black beans, onions, fried bananas and numerous chili-based sauces. After the big meal, it is typical to consume grilled pineapple slices, serving as a palate cleanser as well as a tasty dessert.