Where Does Picanha Come From?
If you live in Miami, you most likely have heard of Picanha (pronounced "pee-KAHN-ya"). Picanha is the most popular cut of beef in Brazil. It can be found in many popular brazilian rodizios and steakhouses such as Fogo de Chao and Texas de Brazil.
While Picanha is popular in Brazil, it is also widely known across Latin America. Venezuelans call it "Punta Trasera" and Argentinians and Uruguayans refer to it as "Tapa de Cuadril". It may also be referred to as a 'culotte steak', 'rump cap' or 'sirloin cap.' However, in the US, it is unlikely to be found at your local grocery store or butcher.
Why We Love Picanha?
Picanha is famous for its amazing price value proposition. Many will take a Picanha with all its tenderness and flavor over much more "premium" cuts such as the RibEye, the NY Strip and the Porterhouse.
The texture and flavor is similar to that of your sirloin, except much more intense thanks to the rendering of fat during the cooking process. Don't worry, the cooking process is extremely simple.
Yes, picanha is as good as it sounds and our picanha is particularly amazing. It's made of USDA Prime and USDA Choice beef (and yes, quality does make a difference).
What Part Of The Cow Is Picanha?
For the uninitiated, you walk up to your butcher and request a Picanha they will most likely offer you a "tri-tip".
The thing is, tri-tip is NOT Picanha. The only similar thing about the tri-tip and the Picanha is that both of them come from the SIRLOIN of the cow. Whatever your publix butcher says though, NO, Picanha is NOT just "untrimmed trip-tip." It is completely different.
How To Cook Picanha?
- Fire up the grill. If you are using charcoal, let it burn long enough as the fat on the Picanha will make it flare up.
- Season the picanha generously with salt. DO NOT cut it and DO NOT remove the fat.
- Sear the Picanha on the slab and then roast it over open flame with the fat side up so that the fat melts down into the flesh of the sirloin.
- When tha meat is rare, slice it iinto pieces. The pieces/steaks will go back into the grill.
- Cook them to desired rareness and serve. We recommend Medium or Medium-Rare.
There are other methods to cook the picanha. You can put it in a Brazilian Picanha sword or even cook it in the oven. It's usually the centrepiece of a Brazilian Churrasco.
Since writing this blog post, we've created an in-depth video and step-by-step tutorial on how to cook picanha.