By Lindenberg Junior | English Edition: Jennifer Parker
The primitive barbecue has been important in the concept of what, today, we call community. Since then, the barbecue has crossed boundaries and reached the world. But only sixty years ago, initially with the name of “Espeto Corrido” or “spit run”, made way for the “Churrasco” or “Brazilian BBQ” in Southern Brazil. With a simple form of seasoning different meats only with rock salt, a pleasant style for the server and a unique format of “Rodizio”, the Brazilian BBQ restaurants or “Churrascarias” have improved over the years and turned into an unparalleled style of serving around the world.
Since the introduction of self-service and fast food “style”, decades ago by Americans, that any other “style” of serving and eating have reached the tremendous success as the “churrasco de rodizio”, a Brazilian creation. This new style is a mixing of an all kind meat serving show with an all-you-can-eat buffet format that was born in opposition to the fast food. It allows people, who working or on the street, or not able to go home to eat, to enjoy a more gourmet option, a more pleasant environment; and in most cases, spend less time from their arrival until the final bill. Instead pizza or a hamburger, the menu offers a buffet with many options that usually includes rice, beans, farofa (toasted yucca flour), bananas maduras and heart of palms, plus a variety of meats including chicken, beef, pork and sausage.
A particular difference is the fact that the client does not need to worry about the menu. The waiters, known as “smugglers”, mostly dressed in gaucho (people from the Rio Grande do Sul State) circulate the living room brandishing skewers of steak … and stopping at tables to cut according to the preference of customers.
The unique style of Brazilian “Steak Houses” became an export product. In the last ten years, it has spread around the world, especially in Japan and the U.S. One such popular is the chain “Fogo de Chao”, born in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, and with 5 more affiliates in Brazil and 16 in the U.S. The Sao Paulo’s churrascaria chain “Barbacoa”, instead focus their internationalization in U.S, focus their expansion goal in Japan.
The churracarias and “rodizio” style emerged in Brazil at the turn of the decade from 50 to 60. In the beginning, the Brazilian Steak Houses were located at the merges of highways and had preferred customers as truck drivers. There are several versions of where the first steak house was, but we definitely can affirm that was at least in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the land of the gauchos.
Only in the city of Sao Paulo, there are more than 70 churrascarias and the most famous and expensive are Barbacoa, Jardineira Grill and Vento Haragano. In U.S, only in Southern California there are more than 15 churrascarias. Among the biggest are, Green Field in Long Beach and Pasadena, Rei do Gado in San Diego, Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills and Downtown Los Angeles, and the pioneer By Brazil in Torrance. It’s important to mention a few restaurants that serve the traditional churrasco, but in the format of “paid by pound”. Among them we highlight the Pampas Grill in Culver City, inside the Farmers Market (Fairfax and Third Street) and in Burbank.~~~]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]in L.A.
With such diffusion, running the skewer became a style of serving and eating without parallel in the world. And perhaps the proof is the chicks that have arisen in recent years.