The History of Gauchos and Brazilian Cuisine

When you visit a Brazilian steakhouse, you may encounter a gaucho. While gauchos today may be slightly different from their ancestors, the culture and influence of gauchos can be seen in areas and restaurants all over the world. Renowned and admired, gauchos have influenced the way people eat and enjoy meat for centuries.

Gaucho Beginnings

Tracing back to the 15th century, gauchos were popular figures in South American life. When European settlers came to the area, they discovered vast lands that had yet to be settled. Instead of working towards development and industrialization as many other settlers did, these men fell in love with the land, livestock, and deep Brazilian roots. These men moved at a slower pace, concerning themselves with farming and caring for the abundant beauty Brazil had to offer. Because of this, gauchos formed their own type of culture, which remains unique today.

The Relationship Between a Gaucho and Meat

Gauchos worked the land, riding horses and herding livestock over vast areas of land. Much like the American cowboys, gauchos spent most of their time on horses and were rarely at home. Because of the nature of their work, their diets consisted mainly of meat. But a gaucho typically prepared their meat differently their American cowboy brothers. Brazilian gauchos roasted and barbequed their meats over an open flame, creating a delicious cuisine that has stood the test of time. Whether it’s beef, pork, poultry, mutton, or fish, a gaucho typically used a unique style of barbecuing their meat that is still used today, called churrasco.

Gaucho Appearance and Characteristics

A gaucho’s attire, attitude, behaviors, and values were unique to that lifestyle. Traditionally, a gaucho had distinctive attire characterized by wide trousers, a poncho, comfortable boots, and a flat hat with a chin strap. These items of clothing were beneficial to their duties and lifestyle, though they became romanticized and culturally-defining through the years.

Because of their work, a gaucho is usually regarded as skilled horsemen. Training for this type of work would begin at early childhood and by adulthood, gauchos could ride horses better than most people in the world. It was a solitary lifestyle, where gauchos relied heavily on each other for companionship. The only form of entertainment they had was the songs, stories, and dances they created along the way that can still be heard and seen today.

Today’s Gaucho

South America today may be much more industrialized than it was centuries ago, but the gaucho culture lives on; especially in the world of cuisine. Gauchos can still be found herding livestock and caring for their South America land. The unique way in which they dress, express themselves, and cook their meat can be seen in restaurants and Brazilian steakhouses all over the world. Gauchos today still use the traditional, churrasco style of cooking their meats; creating a unique and popular cuisine that’s both healthy and delicious. The same integrity, complexity, and remarkable culture can be experienced both in South America itself and in Brazilian steakhouses all over the globe.

Want to see a gaucho in action? Contact Rio de Brazil today to make a reservation.