It is time to introduce you to the most unknown delicious cut of beef, the Picanha. This cut of beef is the most desired in Brazil, known for its succulent flavor. The Ribeye Steak is king of northern America but it comes at a cost, where the Picanha is half the cost per pound. Lets dive into this picanha steak sandwich recipe!
WHAT CUT OF MEAT IS PICANHA
Picanha will be found on the top of the rump. It has a couple of nicknames like rump cover, rump cap, sirloin cap or culotte steak.
The shape of the cut of beef is triangular and is surrounded by a dense layer of fat called the fat cap. What makes this cut of beef tender and flavorful is the fact that it is an underutilized muscle in the cow. When it’s prepared properly the meat will be super tender and juicy!
There is one issue when it comes to Picanha, you probably won’t find it in your local supermarket but a good butcher’s shop will typically have it or can order it for you. I hope you are highly interested in one now and if you do find yourself getting it, this is the recipe you need to follow for the best results.
HOW TO COOK PICANHA
The technique used to cook this particular Picanha is to make it as tender as possible because it will be getting thinly sliced for epic steak sandwiches.
To begin, trim the silver skin off the cut of beef and trim the fat cap down so there is a little less than a 1/4” of fat left on the fat cap. This fat is good because it will get charred first and then smoked so the remaining bit will render down for an ultimate tender bite. Once this is done, score the fat cap with the crosshatch technique, making 1” cuts across the fat, allowing the meat underneath to get exposed so the seasoning can penetrate deeper when it gets seasoned.
Use kosher salt and season the fat cap generously, be sure to get the salt between the cuts. Flip the Picanha over and apply avocado oil as a binder and season with your favorite beef rub, typically salt, pepper and garlic powder is perfect for this. Let the meat sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
Fire the grill up into two cooking zones, direct and indirect cooking. Get the direct zone hot for searing and then sear the meat side first for 60-90 seconds and flip to sear the fat cap. This can be very challenging and dangerous. Make sure to stay at the searing station and sear the fat cap for 60-90 seconds. Remove the steak and check to make sure it doesn’t burn, the fat is highly flammable. Once both sides are seared, place it on the indirect side and let it finish off cooking until it reaches 130 degrees F internally. Remove and let rest for 15-20 minutes.
THE BEST CHIMICHURRI
Fresh Chimichurri is possibly the best sauce in the whole world! You can use it as an ingredient or as a final condiment for your meats. I like to add it to steak sandwiches for the freshness and balance of the fat from the steak.
The sauce was founded in Argentina and has since had multiple variations made from its roots. To be honest, I have yet to have a bad one! The foundation of the sauce is chopped parsley, cilantro, garlic, a pepper of your choice, shallot, olive oil and a red wine vinegar.
I chose to use these ingredients but added some more to it, you can find the ingredients below:
- Avocado oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Red pepper flakes
Picanha Steak Sandwich with Chimichurri
- 1 Picanha Roast
- Avocado oil for binder
- Kosher salt
- Favorite beef seasoning salt, pepper, garlic
- 1 loaf French bread
- 1 white onion
- 10 slices provolone cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon balsamic glaze
Chimichurri with Yogurt
- 1 bunch chopped Parsley
- 1 bunch chopped Cilantro
- 1/3 cup chopped Oregano
- 5-6 cloves Garlic minced
- 1/2 Shallot diced
- 1/2 jalapeño diced
- 1 cup Olive Oil
- 1/3 cup Red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- Salt to taste
- Start off by preparing all of your ingredients for the chimichurri and add them all to a bowl. Parsley, cilantro, oregano, minced garlic, diced shallot, diced jalapeño, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, greek yogurt and salt. Mix this together and then place the fridge.
- Score the fat cap of the picanha and then season the fat side with kosher salt, flip it over and add olive oil and season with your favorite bbq rub (salt pepper and garlic is a good choice). Fire up the grill with two zone cooking (direct and indirect).
- Add a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Once combined add the chopped onion and salt. Cook this low for about 40 minutes, when there is about 10 minutes left, add some balsamic glaze and cook.
- While the onions are started, sear the Picanha steak on the meat side for 60-90 seconds and flip to sear the fat cap for an additional 60-90 seconds. Once seared, move to the indirect zone and let it finish off until 130 degrees F internally. Remove and let rest for 15-20 minutes.
- While the Picanha is resting, add a skillet over hot coals and toss the provolone cheese on it to melt. Toast the buns to the sandwich.
- Slice the steak into thin strips and then prep the sandwich station.
- Build the sandwich, start with the toasted buns and add the Yogurt Chimichurri, then the thinly cut Picanha, caramelized onions and then the gooey provolone cheese from the hot skillet.
- Serve and enjoy!
Well, there you have it Grill Nation, the secret to the succulent and tender Picanha beef for this picanha steak sandwich! This underrated cut is a true delicacy and is worth every penny you spend on it. While the Ribeye steak may be the king of the north, the Picanha beef is the emperor of the south.
One issue with Picanha is its unavailability in most supermarkets, but a good butcher’s shop will have it or can order it for you. The next time you’re at your local butcher’s shop, don’t hesitate to ask for this cut of meat, and you’ll be in for a treat.
If grilling isn’t your thing, there are other ways to cook up that delicious Picanha beef. You can pop it in the oven or sizzle it up on the stovetop. To oven-roast it, crank up the heat to 400 degrees F, and roast it on a rack in a roasting pan for 20-30 minutes until the internal temperature hits 130 degrees F. Then let it chill for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
For stovetop action, heat up a cast-iron skillet on high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Once it’s heated up, toss on the Picanha beef and sear the meat side for 60-90 seconds, then flip it over and sear the fat cap for another 60-90 seconds. Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking until the internal temperature hits 130 degrees F. Take it off the skillet and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
Want to switch things up and experiment with new flavors? Try out different rubs or marinades! For instance, a chimichurri-style marinade made with garlic, vinegar, and herbs can give your beef a zesty and tangy twist. Or maybe a dry rub with spices like paprika, cumin, and chili powder can bring on some smokiness and heat to the steak.
And if you can’t get your hands on Picanha beef, don’t sweat it! You can use other tender cuts, such as the tenderloin or sirloin, which have similar textures and can be cooked up with the same techniques mentioned earlier.
All that to say Picanha beef is a hidden gem that deserves more recognition in the culinary world. It is a delicious, tender and flavorful cut of meat that is worth trying out. With a little bit of preparation and some Chimichurri sauce, you can turn this underrated cut into a mouth-watering delicacy. So, next time you’re at your local butcher’s shop, don’t hesitate to ask for this beef and give a picanha steak sandwich a try!
DID YOU ENJOY THIS PICANHA STEAK SANDWICH RECIPE? YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT MY OTHER BEEF RECIPES IN THE LINK BELOW!
Items used in This Recipe