What Is Picanha Steak And How Do You Cook It?

Prized beef cuts vary from place to place. For example, among the prized cuts in the US include the tenderloin, rib, and brisket. The best cut depends on the food preparation method. Here, the tenderloin is very versatile.

Picanha steak, which may be found in Brazil to the south, is an underappreciated cut. It is the rump cap, which is another name for the top sirloin cap. This cut of beef is difficult to get at your neighborhood grocery shop back home. Some butcher shops, however, carry this cut. Picanha is also served in Brazilian eateries.

To diversify your culinary experience, we will show you how to prepare Picanha steak.

Start by Getting Picanha

The first step in preparing a sirloin cap is getting it from your butcher. It is an obvious step, but you need to be keen to get the right beef part. There are three freshness tests to perform to be sure you have good meat.

Check the texture, color, and smell. Once you tick all the boxes, you are good to go.

The Fat in Picanha

One main characteristic of Picanha is its thick layer of fat. Depending on how you want to prepare it, you can discard the fat or leave it intact. For Brazilian barbecue, you should leave it, as it will add flavor to the roasted beef.

For stews or pan-frying, you can trim off some of the fat. It is advisable to leave at least a thin layer of fat due to its savor.

Prepping the Beef Steak


Preparing your beef steak is a crucial stage, which will ensure you get the best flavor. Preparation involves marinating, rubbing, and brining. They help make the meat tender and give it a desirable smack.

Marination is a must-have stage for many beef lovers. You can use Yoshida’s marinade and cooking sauce, which has no artificial additives. It is suitable if you want to bake, grill, or fry steak.

Make your own marinade if you want to express your creativity. Ingredients to have include salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar, vinegar, and garlic.

The steak should be marinated for about an hour in the refrigerator. Slice the Picanha steak before marinating to ensure that the marinade absorbs thoroughly. For the most tenderness, cut along the fibers while slicing.

For an easy cut, refrigerate the steak for around 30-minutes, which makes it firm.

Cooking Picanha


As earlier mentioned, there are several ways to prepare Picanha steak. Here, we will look at three ways of cooking steak; grilling, smoking and pan-frying.

Grilling Picanha Steak

Grilling is the most popular way of preparing Picanha. If you love Brazilian cuisine, this is one recipe to try. The good thing is that it is straightforward. If you have a working grill, you can ready your palate for this excellent dish.

After marination, you may either apply some rub or skip the stage. To save time, get Kosmos Q Killer Bee BBQ rub. It is a versatile rub that complements several dishes like beef, chicken, and potatoes.

Allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes after applying the rub while you heat up the grill. Introduce the steak slices once the grill is hot.

The steak must be chopped into thick pieces if you want to prepare Picanha the Brazilian way. When you place the slices on a skewer, they should resemble a crescent. It should take the meat around 30 minutes to cook. Turn the steak four times throughout cooking to ensure even doneness.

Talking of doneness, the steak is best consumed when medium-rare to medium. The temperature should be around 135-145 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check on the cooking temperature.

Smoking Picanha Steak

You can also smoke Picanha steak to get a unique smoky and woody savor. When the steak is ready, preheat the smoker and introduce water and wood chips. For wood chips, go for strong flavors like mesquite.

Smoking takes a lot of time for the best results. 2-3-hours are enough for the meat to smoke correctly. You should lay the steak with the fatty side up. Check on the steak after 13-30-minutes to see if you need more wood or water in the pan.

When ready, remove Picanha from the smoker and let it rest for a while before serving it.

Pan-Frying Picanha

Pan-frying is another way to cook Picanha. Start by slicing and seasoning the steak. Preheat the pan on low heat. When it starts sizzling, add a drop of oil. You can then use a pair of tongs to introduce the beef cuts to the pan.

It should first be cooked over high heat until the crust is golden brown. Turn down the heat and give it about 15 minutes to cook. For both sides to cook, turn the steak three to four times. As it prepares, you can add a small amount of butter to enhance the flavor.

The steak should be removed from the pan after adding some thyme, rosemary, and mint. Before serving, let it sit for a bit.

On the bare pan, make some sauce. Butter, cornstarch, red wine, garlic, onions, and any additional chosen spices should be added. To simmer, add a half cup of water and cover. After five minutes, take it out and distribute it over the meat.

Final Words

Most people who try Picanha steak for the first time, are left in awe. It is an excellent beef cut that you can prepare in many ways. If interested in having Picanha, follow any of the above-highlighted ways to prepare a savory dish.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *