If you’ve never heard of a picanha cut of beef, you’re missing out on one of the juiciest and most delicious parts of beef cuts out there which is not only suitable to enjoy as part of a hearty solo meal, but also might be just the cut you’re looking for if you’re preparing for a family dinner or barbeque.
Once you know about this beef cut and all the benefits that come with serving it, it’s hard to ever go back to the standard rib, loin, or chuck that we are all so familiar with, and after serving these cuts time and time again, maybe it’s time for an exciting change!
Here is everything you need to know about the picanha cut of beef, and why you should consider cooking it up today.
Where Is Picanha Cut From?
Pichana is cut right from the top of the rump which can be found between the leg and the chine cut right through the aitch bone near the rear back of the cow.
If you’ve ever tasted a rump cut, you know that it’s relatively tender and lean, alongside being a little larger than many of the other beef cuts.
The picanha is nearly identical to this, however, because it is a muscle that is barely used, it is still just as juicy and even more tender since it rests on a fat cap which makes it incredibly easy to chew and bite into.
Therefore, the picanha is located just above the rump and behind the sirloin, and while it is a little smaller, you can expect it to be just as tasty.
How Does Picanha Taste?
Alongside being very soft and tender in terms of texture, beef picanha has a very robust beefy flavor that many people describe as tasting a lot more buttery and slightly more creamy than other cuts.
Just like other cuts of beef, when picanha is dry aged for a week or two, the flavor becomes even more potent, succulent, and tasty to bite into, so if you’re ever looking for this cut at butcher shops and supermarkets, this is definitely a factor you’ll want to ask about to get a good idea of how flavorful the cut is going to be once it’s time to tuck in.
Many people say that picanha beef tastes most similar to sirloin with both being very tender and giving you that melt-in-the-mouth sensation, although picanha does tend to be a little less crispy than sirloin when it’s well cooked.
How To Cook Picanha Beef
While it will always be a cut that is packed full of meaty flavors and extremely tender in its texture, depending on how you cook it, you can alter picanha in small ways to make it perfect for your situation, whether you intend to cook it as part of a big and lively barbeque, or for a delightful Sunday roast, and the good news is there are many ways you can prepare it.
Grilled Picanha Beef Steak
If you have a few friends coming over for the weekend or you’re preparing a family dinner in the hotter months, you’ll want your picanha cut to be juicy and a little smokier than usual, and this can be achieved very easily by throwing it on the grill.
Grilling up a picanha cut is very easy and fairly similar to grilling other types of beef, here is how you do it:
- Rub a small amount of fat on the grill to ensure the beef doesn’t get stuck. This will also add a little more flavor to the meat as it sizzles.
- Preheat the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Thoroughly season the beef with 1 tbsp of coarse salt and any other seasonings you think would enhance the flavors.
- Cut the picanha beef into 1-inch strips before then placing them on the grill in a “C” shape to save space.
- Grill for up to 20 minutes and flip the strips over every 5 minutes until the core of the beef is light brown.
Pan-Seared Picanha Steak
If you want a quick and easy way to cook your beef picanha to medium-rare in as little as a few minutes, there’s no better way than to heat it up in the pan.
Here is the easiest way to sizzle up a delicious picanha beef steak on the grill:
- Use a chef’s knife to slice the beef into 2 or 3 steaks depending on how big the cut is.
- Place a pan or cast iron pot over medium heat and slowly heat up a few splashes of grapeseed or vegetable oil
- Lay the picanha cuts fat-side down in the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes until completely brown while turning the meat every 2 minutes. You can also add some butter and black pepper to make the texture even creamier.
- Once fully brown, move the meat to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes before you start cutting it into smaller slices to make it a little easier to chew on.
Brazilian Picanha Steak
As mentioned previously, picanha beef first grew into a popular cut of beef in Brazil where it has become a staple of many meat-based dishes and recipes, and if you did want to try out this meat in its authentic form with all the spiciness you can come to expect from a Brazilian dish, it can be made easily and in no time at all.
Here is how you can prepare an authentic Brazilian picanha steak dish:
- Cut the picanha into thin slices and season it with parsley, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and a dash of vinegar. If you don’t have all of these ingredients on standby, that’s not a problem, just using one or two of them will be enough to enhance the natural flavor of the meat.
- Preheat the charcoal grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit before then placing each of the seasoned pieces of meat over the grill for 20-25 minutes while regularly flipping the strips around until all slices become light brown.
- Once the meat is removed, let it rest for 5 minutes before serving it with chimichurri sauce which is a strong and slightly spicy condiment used in many Brazilian picanha beef dishes.
Smoked Picanha Beef
If you have a smoker, you can just as easily use it to cook up a picanha cut which will become nice and smoky in its flavor, here is how you can do it:
- Prepare a medium to high fire in the smoker.
- Make thin cuts of the beef and cover them with olive oil and salt.
- Cook the meat for between 3 to 5 hours and flip each piece over every 45 minutes.
- Take it out of the smoker once it reaches your preferred texture.
The picanha may be one of the lesser-known cuts of beef, but it is also one of the tastiest, and considering there are so many ways you can cook it up, it’s never a bad idea to pick this cut up today, especially with how much cheaper it is than many other cuts.