Behold the Picanha! The almighty queen of the Brazilian barbecue!
Picanha is the Portuguese name for Culotte, a cut of meat sourced from the top sirloin, meaning it’s juicy and oh-so-tender. Are you drooling yet?
This right here, is seriously one of my absolute favorite cuts of meat. Not just me, tho. Picanha is one of Brazil’s most prized beef cuts, and is typically the star of a churrasco BBQ.
No joke, a churrasco isn’t a real churrasco without Picanha. And if you’ve tasted it, you already know why! If you haven’t tasted it, I got you! I’m here to help you change that.
Overall, this unique cut of beef isn’t normally found at local grocery stores. Every time I asked for it, the butchers would look at me like huh?!
The good news is, I finally found out that Snake River Farms has it, and they deliver! And that right there meus amigos, is information I couldn’t just keep to myself. *insert happy dance and excited screams here*
Typically, Picanha comes with a thick layer of fat on top. But you’re probably noticing that this one doesn’t have that top fat layer, which to a Brazilian is crazy business. I mean, the fat is really what provides all the flavor, silkiness, and mouthfeel to the meat. BUT, the SRF Picanha can get away with not having that top fat layer because theirs is… wait for it… WAGYU! So, you get all that gorgeous marble, and fat layers within the meat itself. It’s out of this world fantastic!!
Before you buy Picanha anywhere, know that a good picanha will never be too big. If it is too big it includes parts of other cuts and therefore not really the same thing. In general, 2 to 2.5lbs max is a good size.
I think I gave you all the pre-cooking info you need to know, so, enough chit chat – let’s start grilling!
Grilled Picanha Recipe Step by Step
We’ll start by preheating the grill to 350F.
Cut the meat with the grain. Only after the steaks are grilled you will cut them against the grain to get all that tender, juicy goodness.
To season it, I tend to keep it real simple. 8/10 times I just roll the Picanha in this type of coarse salt. This salt is really coarse and it’s the best for Brazilian style barbecue.
This time I didn’t have any real coarse salt. I know, fail. So, I just used regular coarse kosher salt, which isn’t nearly coarse enough, but it’s OK.
Then, rub the sofrito seasoning mixture all over the steaks, and add to your grill immediately (don’t let it marinate. We don’t want anything to distract us from the meat flavor. We just want that garlicky goodness to be added bonus. K?
After that, add these babies to the hot grill, and grill to your favorite doneness.
Over here we like meat rare to medium rare, so I grill no more than 2-3 mins per side.
Then, rest the steaks for about 5 mins before slicing through it. This moment is hard to manage, cos all you want is to just dive in. Be a little patient…go make the farofa to distract yourself!
Farofa de Ovo Step by Step
Farofa de ovo literally means egg farofa. And if you’re wondering what THAT means check this post, where I give you some deets. In a nutshell, tho, farofa is a side dish made of yuca flour, more commonly known as cassava flour, or how we call it in Portuguese farinha de mandioca, mainly eaten in Brazil or by the Brazilian diaspora.
Anywhoosies… to make this farofa, melt some butter.
Sauté some onions….
Just until they are soft, no need to brown them.
Then add some eggs there.
And scramble them.
Then add the cassava flour, and season with some salt and pepper.
Stir, stir, stir…
Finish with the cilantro, and bang! Farofa. is. done!
Slice the steaks and serve!
Picanha is an experience absolutely worth having. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend you do, and you’ll see why this cut of meat is at the center of the Brazilian barbecue scene.
And don’t forget to get that wine in there too!
Show me your Picanha party!! Take a picture of your churrasco and share with me on Instagram by tagging me or using #cookingwithaline and let me know how it turned out.
Picanha | Brazilian Culotte Steaks
For the Picanha
- 2.5 lbs of Picanha / SRF AMERICAN WAGYU BLACK GRADE CULOTTE
- Coarse Salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp of Brazilian Sofrito
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- lemon pepper or freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
For the Farofa
- 1 cup of cassava flour
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
- 1/2 an onion sliced
- 2 Tbsp of fresh cilantro chopped
- 4 whole eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the grill to 350F.
- In a small bowl, mix the sofrito, the mustard, the dry parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside.
- Cut the meat the same direction as the fibers into 4 steaks.
- Season the steaks with salt and the lemon pepper, then rub the sofrito mixture on the steaks.
- Add the steaks to the grill, and grill them on all sides to your favorite doneness.
- Remove the steaks from the grill, and let them rest for 5 mins before slicing them.
- While the steaks are resting make the farofa.
- On a stove top melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onions to the pan and sauté until the onions are transparent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs to the pan, and scramble them gently.
- When the eggs are cooked, but still soft, add the cassava and stir.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the cilantro and stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Slice the steaks across the fibers, and serve with the farofa.