Discoveries at the Jungle Brasil: Picanha, the Best Steak in the WorldBack to feed
- Posted: 8/29/2018
- Categories: Discoveries at the Jungle
What is picanha?
Picanha is a cut of steak that comes from the end of a steer, just above the tail. In the United States, this cut is sometimes called a top sirloin or a rump cut. Picanha is characterized by a thick cap of fat that covers the top of the steak. This adds complexity and flavor to the finished product. In most cases, the fat is at least ½-inch thick, but it’s often as thick as 4 inches.
This steak can be hard to find in America, but if you’re lucky enough to stumble across a meat counter that sells picanha, you’ll find that American butchers often trim down the fat before selling the meat. To find a true, authentic picanha, you may have to do a little bit of hunting. That is, unless you live near Jungle Jim’s! We sell untrimmed picanha at both locations, so if you’re ready to try your own Brasilian steak, just stop by and ask for a picanha or top sirloin at the counter.
How to Prepare Picanha
Picanha is easy to make and can be cooked to perfection in your very own home kitchen. Check out this recipe for easy instructions: Picanha and Pão de Queijo with Beans and Rice.
For one, we recommend searing your steak on a hot grill, then transferring the picanha to the oven to finish cooking. Because picanha has a large amount of fat, this will help prevent flare-ups on the grill and will protect your steak from burning! And, for a truly Brasilian picanha, make sure to cook your steak until it’s well-done. In Brasil, rare or medium picanha is absolutely unheard of. A true Brasilian picanha is enjoyed well-done, but it will taste great either way.
One more thing: before cooking, make sure to drizzle your picanha with olive oil and salt liberally with Sal Grosso, a coarse Brasilian seasoning salt. This step cannot be skipped! Sal Grosso is a household staple in Brasil, and it’s exceptional on picanha. The coarse salt crystals dissolve into the steak as it cooks, which results in a perfectly seasoned picanha.
Make it a meal!
For a true Brasilian picanha dinner, try making some simple sides to accompany your steak. We recommend sticking with classics, like rice and beans, and trying a Brasilian go-to, pão de queijo. Pão de queijo is a yummy cheese bread that can be had with dinner or enjoyed with coffee as a snack. Pão de queijo can be made from a mix or you can purchase pre-made frozen pão de queijo that tastes just as great! If you choose to make your own using the mix, you can customize the types of cheeses you include. We recommend using regular or spicy cheddar cheese!
Once you’ve cooked your steak to perfection, finished making each of your sides, and plated your dish, finish it off with a drizzle of pimenta malagueta hot pepper vinegar and top with farofa, seasoned toasted cassava flour! Both of these are traditional Brasilian toppings and can be found in any Brasilian household. Once you try these on your picanha, they’ll be household staples for you, too!
Before you dig in, make sure to post a pic on Insta or tag us on Facebook so that we can see how you’re experiencing Discoveries at the Jungle: Brasil! Then, enjoy your meal and your newfound appreciation for Brasilian food!