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The Gaucho Way

Churrascaria (shur-hawz-car-ree-ah) is the Portuguese word for “barbecue.” While Kansas Citians are used to low-and-slow barbecue, Brazilians do a hot-and-fast style of cooking. Instead of rubs, Brazilians use sal grosso or coarse sea salt to season the meat. 

The brazilian states of Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul  are known for their gaucho “cowboy” culture. Those cowboy traditions led to a strong steak tradition.

Gauchos (gow-ooh-shows) typically wear bombachas (bom-baw-shuhs), a tapered pant similar to jodhpurs and fitted into knee-high boots. After a long day of herding cattle, the gauchos would cook salted meat on upright skewers next to an open flame.

While the gauchos waited for the meal to cook, they would enjoy chimarrao (shi-ma-hohn), a matte tea served in a hollow gourd and sipped through a metal straw. Chimarrao is a communal drink, passed between the gauchos, family and friends. The ritual of passing the chimarrao has become a Brazilian symbol of hospitality.

When churrasco is served at a rodizio-style restaurant, the meat is served tableside and carved from a long, sword-like skewer by passadors, or specialized steakhouse chefs. Each passador at Porto do Sul is responsible for cooking and serving a set of meats.

Brazilians butcher their meat to create different cuts. Porto do Sul features picanha (pee-con-yuh), a traditional cut of top sirloin that includes the fat cap. The piece is located in the rear of the steer so it is one of the most tender and delicious. We also offer filet mignon, bacon-wrapped filet, ribeye, top sirloin, bottom sirloin, sirloin with garlic, beef ribs, chicken drumsticks marinated in cognac and beer, chicken wrapped in bacon, pork sausage and lamb chops.

We like to say dining at Porto do Sul gives the diner a dinner -- and a show! Diners are invited to start their meal at the Harvest Table where 55 salads and hot dishes are on the buffet. Offerings include feijoada, a traditional black bean and pork stew that traces its creation to enslaved people who worked the country’s early plantations, collard greens, polenta sticks, a traditional food of Brazil’s Italian immigrants, and potato salad, as well as hearts of palm, jumbo asparagus, a healthy quinoa and edamame salad, homemade chicken soup, charcuterie items and gluten-free pão de queijo, a cheese bread made from tapioca flour and Parmesan cheese.

Edson and Leonice (leo-NEE-see) Ludwig grew up in rural farming communities in southern Brazil settled by the many German immigrants who settled in Brazil. They opened Porto do Sul in 2015 with the goal of putting a warm and welcoming face on traditional Brazilian-style hospitality!