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.

Heading south to Brazil, there is an underrated cut, Picanha steak. It is the top sirloin cap, also known as the rump cap. Back home, it is hard to come across this cut of meat at your local grocery store. However, some butcheries stock this cut. You can also find Picanha in Brazilian restaurants.

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.

If you want to release your artistic energy, try making marinade on your own. Salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar, vinegar, and garlic are some of the ingredients to have.

Dip the steak in the marinade and refrigerate for almost an hour. A tip to rely on is to slice the Picanha steak before marinating for the marinade to sink in well. When slicing, cut following the fibers for maximum tenderness.

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.

After applying the rub, let it rest for 15-minutes as you prepare your grill. When the grill is ready, introduce the steak cuts.

The Brazilian style of preparing Picanha requires you to cut the steak into thick slices. The cuts should appear like a crescent when you put them on a skewer. The meat should cook for around 30-minutes. During the cooking time, turn the steak around four times for 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 on the pan.

Start by cooking it on high heat until there is a golden-brown crust. Reduce the heat and let it cook for around 15-minutes. Turn the steak 3-4 times for both sides to cook. You can add a dash of butter as it gets ready to improve its taste.

Add some thyme leaves, rosemary, and mint before removing the steak from the pan. Let it rest for a while before serving.

Create some sauce on the empty pan. Add butter, cornstarch, red cooking wine, garlic, onions, and other preferred spices. Pour half a cup of water and cover to let it simmer. Remove it after 5-minutes and spread over the steak.

Final Word

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