Picanha - The Other Brazilian Beauty

It is no secret that a lot of beautiful people come from the South American nation of Brazil but did you know the barbecue restaurants inside Brazil are home to another Brazilian beauty - Picanha?

Brazil must have millions of BBQ restaurants dotted all over the country and they have serve up some of the most tasty meats in the world.


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What exactly is Picanha? Picanha is a delightfully tasty meat that is actually the rump cap. Each rump has what is known as the cap which is a layer of fat and meat that sits on top of the main rump. In some regions it is called the rump cover, sirloin cap and even culotte steak.

The Picanha is a very tasty portion of meat that is very juicy when cooked and rested correctly. Like most of South America the Brazilians season their meat with a lathering of salt. We also get a trimming knife and trim off all of the silver skin and give to our dog (she loves it when it is trimming time) as this skin can be chewy.

The smaller Picanha is better normally and typically you will want one that is 1-1.5 kg. A Picanha this size will take anywhere between and hour to two hours to cook depending on how hot your charcoals are. You most likely will not find any in a supermarket and may need to source them from a butcher.

To cook the Picanha ideally you will find that medium rare to medium is where it needs to be so it should just be a little pink inside. If you cook it too rare it will be chewy so getting it cooked right is crucial. If you have a meat probe thermometer you will want the center to be at 60c or 140f to 56c or 149f.

The Brazilians typically cook the Picanha on a rotisserie over charcoal and we have found this is the best method too. The layer of fat will render down and the juices from it will naturally baste the rest of the meat as it spins. You can cook a Picanha which ever way you like though but we do find that this is the best cooking method.

Be careful of fat fire flare ups if you are cooking over charcoal, we typically have a jug of water and a spray bottle of water on hand to control the flare ups during cooking.

Resting your Picanha is very important as this helps the meat retain the juices inside once sliced. We leave the Picanha on the rotisserie stick and wrap it up with foil. The rule of thumb is as long as the meat took to cook you should rest for the same time but as this may have taken an hour or so this is impractical but give it at least 10 mins longer if you can.

Once your Picanha is cooked and rested grab a nice sharp chef knife or a long slicing knife and cut it into thin slices. We like to slice it and put each slice straight back into a baking tray as we slice so all the juices end up in the baking tray and not all over the cutting board. Once it is all sliced up tip the last bit of juices back over the meat.

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