Churrasco means different things in different countries.
Churrasco is a Spanish and Portuguese term generally referring to beef or grilled meat. The use of this term varies across Latin America but is the name of a primary dish in the countries of Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua.
Brazilians were the first to raise
cattle in South America, imported from Cape
Verde to São Paulo in the 1530s. Churrasco (pronounced shoo-RAS-koo) or
Brazilian barbecue was the traditional staple food of the gaúchos or
cowboys of Southern Brazil for centuries before it spread to Rio de
Janeiro and São Paulo. It has become very fashionable and there are
excellent churrascarias (restaurants specializing in Brazilian barbecue)
all over Brazil and around the world. These are called churrascaria de
rodízio because waiters move from table to table bringing different types
of meats on skewers from which they slice portions onto your plate.
It has evolved into an elaborate meal,
with different salads, sauces and farofa accompanying the meats.
In Brazil, churrasco refers mainly to all of the meat cooked on the "churrasqueira", a small oven with supports for spits, where the meat is put on. It can refer also to grilled meat, often on large skewers. A churrascaria is a restaurant where the served meat is prepared in such ovens.
In Chile, churrasco refers to a thin cut of steak which varies depending on the desired quality of the sandwich. The slices are grilled and served on a toasted bun, usually accompanied with tomato, avocado and mayonnaise, in the case of a churrasco italiano.
In Argentina, a churrasco is a thick cut of steak, from the skirt steak. Gauchos would have grilled churrasco as part of their asado (barbeque), now the national dish of the country, served with chimichurri, salad and fried or mashed potatoes, perhaps even a fried egg. Churrasco is also found in Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay
In Nicaragua, churrasco refers to the tenderloin steak. It is also served with chimichurri sauce as in Argentina and is a very traditional dish in the country. Nicaraguan style churrasco is even famous in countries like Cuba, Thailand, Nigeria, and in the state of Texas.
The term churrasco can also be seen in former Portuguese colonies elsewhere - a Churrasco Moçambicano is a grilled meat dish from Mozambique, for instance.