Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins
Picanha is made from the tri-tip (also known as rump-cap or rump cover) and is considered the best cut of beef available in many South American countries.You can find tri-tip at many butchers or you can pre-order a custom cut. If you go to a Brazilian churrascaria (or steak house) like Boi na Braza, Fogo de Chao, or Texas de Brazil, you will find picanha in abundance. This recipe is from http://honestcooking.com/2012/01/20/picanha-101-brazilian-barbecue-meat/
- Pound with a meat mallet salt in a fabric bag; the largest pieces should be like rice.
- If desired combine salt, garlic, and olive oil.
- Score the fatty blanket on the picanha by making criss-crossing cuts into the fatty blanket covering one side of the picanha.
- When preparing a picanha for the skewer cut against the grain. The picanha is a big piece of meat and should be cut again at home before it is grilled. If you’d like to serve it on a big skewer like they do in churrascaria restaurants, cut the picanha in 3 pieces on a angle perpendicular to the fibers running diagonally through the picanha. Then bend these pieces into semicircles, fat-side out, and place them on one large oiled skewer. This allows you to slice off delicatley tender pieces wothout having to remove the picanha from the skewer. You can then rub the exposed surface with more rock salt and grill it some more. Every slice will have that outer, salty, crusty grilled deliciousness of the first slice. This is how they do it in churrascaria restaurants.
- OR When preparing a picanha in steaks cut with the grain. If you don’t have the large skewer, you need not fret. You can grill a picanha home-style in thick steaks. This way is not as flashy, but I think the results are superior. When dividing the whole picanha into steaks, cut the meat in the same directions as the fibers. When you slice the grilled steaks to serve you will be slicing across the fibers creating deliciously juicy morsels each with their own little fatty edge.I have on more than one occasion cut the picanha the wrong way and it was still delicious. Like I said, picanhas are really hard to mess up.
- Roll the pieces of picanha in rock salt.
- Grill the steaks fat-side up for a few minutes until a little juice leaks out of the top of the steaks. If you are grilling on the big skewer, both sides are the same, there is no fat-side. Turn the steaks onto their sides to grill for a few more minutes. Finally grill fat-side down moving the steaks away from the hottest part of the fire to avoid over-cooking and to reduce the chance of the fire flaring up from the dripping fat. Grill to your desired doneness. I use the finger poke to know if the meat is done. Try not to puncture the meat when grilling.
- Remove the finished meats and tap them with the side of a knife to knock off any extra rocks of salt. Let the meat rest a few minutes before slicing.