Picanha is an under appreciated cut of beef in the U.S., but prized in Brazil. If you’ve tasted it, more likely than not it was at a Brazilian steakhouse and that’s where I had mine in Dallas, Texas.
Here it’s sold without the layer of fat that makes it so delicious which might explain why it’s little known, but leave that fat on and the flavor will amaze you.
Brazilian Picanha gets its name from the picana pole, used by herders to encourage the cattle to go in the desired direction. They poke them where the cut of beef is located on the cow.
Like sirloin, picanha has a wonderful, toothsome texture to go with its terrific flavor. It’s a very lean cut of beef which is why the fat cap is so important. I began to crave it, and since I was nowhere near Dallas, stopped at my butcher on a lark. Because the local employees of a Brazilian manufacturing company demanded it, I scored a beautiful chunk, fat cap and all.
- 2 to 2-1/2 lb cut of Picanha with the fat cap
- olive oil
- sea salt
- ground black pepper
- chimichurri sauce
- Let the meat come to room temp
- Score the fat cap in a crosshatch with a knife
- Coat the meat with olive oil
- Rub in salt and pepper for seasoning
- Bring charcoal grill to maximum heat. Live oak fire is best
- Sear the picanha, fat side first for 3-5 minutes, then flip and sear the meat side for 5-8 minutes to allow the fat cap to melt into the meat
- Remove from grill and slice across the grain into 1/2″ to 3/4″ steaks
- Place the sliced steaks on the hot grill and cook until the desired level of done-ness
- Serve with chimichurri sauce and steakhouse mushrooms
And just one more thing…
Don’t be impatient! If you try poking the cook with a stick you might get something besides a steak!
This is a lean cut of beef so be careful and do not overcook