Picanha (pronounced pee-Con-ya) has become one of the most popular dishes at Brazilian BBQ restaurants, called Churrascarias.
The name given to cooking or grilling meat in Brazil is Churrasco and this beef recipe is among the favourites.
The pieces of beef are skewered and slowly cooked over flaming charcoal. As the thick fat begins to melt and drip over the coals the smoke and flames add incredible flavour and seal in the meat.
The cut of beef used comes from the rump of the cow and includes a thick cap of fat that stays on while cooking to keep the meat moist and flavourful but isn't eaten. When asking your butcher for it try asking for "rump cap".
Brazilian restaurants or
churrascarias are becoming increasingly popular across the UK, but this style of cooking and the various names and cuts are still new to many people, butchers included.
This is a very easy recipe to cook at home but here are some important tips to keep in mind;
•Ask for the cut of beef from the top of the rump (Rump Cap).
•This piece of meat won't be very large, maybe 1.5-2kg or so. If it's larger than that you're likely getting more of the rump that extends further down and is tougher meat.
•Use only thick, coarse salt like rock salt or Sea Salt when seasoning the beef. Table salt is too fine grained to work well and only
makes the meat too salty tasting.
•Picanha is best cooked over charcoal but if using gas make sure you're ok with the fat dripping down on the flames. This fat melting, smoking and flaring up is what gives the beef extraordinary flavour.
•I just use a bare rotisserie rod to skewer the meat on, this works very well.
•When cutting the picanha to be skewered make sure you cut against the grain. Interestingly, after it's cooked you'll be slicing it off the skewer along the grain.
•This is best eaten and served for very laid-back, informal and slower-paced meals. You'll be slicing small slivers of the cooked beef onto your guests plates and putting the beef back over the flames to stay warm and sear the beef further