According to historical facts, it was in the beginning of XVII century that the "gaúcho" way of making barbecue began in Rio Grande do Sul. Nowadays their typical way of cooking is spread out throughout the country and is internationally acknowledged. It is also synonymous with parties and getting together with family and friends.
The barbecue was invented probably by Amerindians whereby they used to roast meat outside on a fire with stones and a grill made from wood. It was in the Pampas region that barbecue found its niche in Brazil.
Beef cattle production has always been one of the main sources of wealth in Uruguay, Argentina and in southern Brazil, a region known as the Pampas. The very nature of working with beef animals required the herdsmen to be away from their homes for long periods of time.
The barbecue used to be the most practical way for these men to prepare their meals, because everything they needed was on hand: a good sharp knife, a fire made in a hole in the ground, a skewer made of wood, a generous piece of meat and coarse salt (by the way, the coarse salt is still used as a supplement in cattle diets). The meat used to be cut into small pieces and passed around and people would help themselves to however much they wanted, a tradition that led to the "rodízio", the Gaúcho method of barbecue.In Rio Grande do Sul state the "churrasco" is still very much a part of the Gaúcho culture. In the beginning the barbecue as we know it today was rare; there was no interest in commercializing the meat, only the skin and fat. In the whole country there are countless numbers of barbecue restaurants, known as "churrascarias", that provide large quantities of meats, salads, side dishes and desserts, all of excellent quality.
Today, Brazilian culture is being spread worldwide and leading this trend has been the establishment of Brazilian barbecue restaurants in many of the world's most famous cities. They have been very successful in countries such as United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, England, Macau, Singapore, China and Thailand, to name a few.
Source: Visit Serviço de Informação da Carne in Brazil