One of the most desired cuts of beef in Brazil is called (picanha) . It is also very common in higher end restaurants in Yucatan these days. What is it?
Picanha is a cut of beef called sirloin cap in the United States or the rump cap in the United Kingdom, that is popular in Portugal and Brazil. In the United States, it is little known, but referred to as the rump cover, rump cap, or culotte.
In a Brazilian restaurant it is often served on large skewers…
I chose to roast it whole.
There are THREE steps to the recipe, which involves marinating overnight in the refrigerator (see below) with a citrus-herb salt rub.
Simple Roasted Picanha Recipe
Step One – Citrus-Herb Salt Rub
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- Zest of one small lemon, approximately 2 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Score the fatty blanket on the picanha by making criss-crossing cuts into the fatty blanket covering one side of the picanha. Fat behaves differently than meat when cooked. It loses more liquid and therefore shrinks more. By scoring the fat, you can prevent the piece from curling and dis-forming while it grills.
Rub the salt mixture into the cross cuts of the fat. Refrigerate overnight.
Step Two – Preheat oven to 400 degrees, letting the picana come to room temperature.
Prepare the chimichurri sauce by mixing the following ingredients…
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes (less for milder flavor)
- 2 teaspoons minced oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Step Three – Sear and Roast the picana as follows
Heat a large oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil.
Sear the beef until browned on both sides,approximately 2 minutes per side.Transfer the skillet to the oven with the fatty side of the piranha facing up.
Cook the roast for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 128-130° for medium-rare. Remove the roast from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The temperature will rise 10 degrees while resting!!
Slice against the grain for tender cuts.
Here is my recent attempt to duplicate that restaurant experience in our oven…in case there is too much snow to fire up the Barbie, mates. Sliced after resting with chimichurri sauce.