How to Cook Picanha: A Comprehensive Guide

Picanha is a much sought-after cut of beef in South America. Also known as the rump cap, this flavorful and tender cut is a meat lover’s delight. Cooking picanha may seem daunting for first-timers, but with the right technique and tools, it is a breeze. In this article, we’ll take you through the entire process of cooking picanha to perfection.

Choosing the Right Cut

Before you start cooking, it’s important to choose the right cut of picanha. Look for USDA Prime or Choice grade beef with a good marbling. The fat cap on top of the picanha should be around 1-inch thick and cover the entire cut. If you’re buying from a butcher, ask them to keep the fat cap intact.

Preparing the Beef

Start by removing the meat from the fridge and letting it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat your grill or oven to 275°F.

Using a sharp knife, score the fat cap of the picanha in a crosshatch pattern. This will help the fat render and baste the meat during cooking. Season the beef all over with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and any other spices of your choice.

Cooking the Picanha on a Grill

If you’re using a grill, set it up for indirect heat. Place the picanha with the fat cap facing up on the cooler side of the grill. Close the lid and let it cook for around 45 minutes.

Check the internal temperature of the beef with a meat thermometer. For medium-rare, the temperature should be between 130°F and 135°F, while for medium, it should be between 135°F and 145°F. Once you’ve reached the desired temperature, move the picanha to the hotter side of the grill and sear it for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Let the picanha rest for 10 minutes before slicing it against the grain and serving it on a platter with chimichurri sauce and grilled vegetables.

Cooking the Picanha in the Oven

If you’re using an oven, place the seasoned picanha in a roasting pan with the fat cap facing up. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.

Bake the beef for around 45 to 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches between 130°F and 135°F for medium-rare or between 135°F and 145°F for medium.

Once you’ve reached the desired temperature, remove the picanha from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Sear it in a hot skillet or on an outdoor grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while cooking picanha:

– Rest the meat after cooking for optimal juiciness and tenderness.
– Do not trim the fat cap before cooking as it adds flavor and moisture to the meat.
– Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking or undercooking the beef.
– Experiment with different seasonings and marinades to find your perfect flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I cook picanha on a gas grill?
A. Yes, you can. Follow the same instructions as for a charcoal grill and set it up for indirect heat.

Q. Can I cook picanha in a slow cooker?
A. While it’s possible to cook picanha in a slow cooker, we don’t recommend it as the meat may become too tender and lose its texture.

Q. How do I slice picanha?
A. Slice picanha against the grain to ensure that the meat is tender and easy to chew.

In conclusion, cooking picanha is a delicious and fulfilling experience if you have the right tools, ingredients, and technique. With this step-by-step guide, you can impress your friends and family with a perfectly cooked picanha. Happy cooking!