sliced PicanhaPicanha 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. Here in the United States tri-tip is often divided up among other cuts for pricing reasons. However, you can get picanha at many butchers or you can pre-order a custom cut.  Be sure to instruct your butcher that you want the cap of the top sirloin.

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. The first time that I tried this dish was at a churrascaria in Rio de Janeiro called Porcão. I haven't been able to duplicate the taste of the picanha at Porcão but this recipe comes close.

The preparation of picanha is very simple using only a few ingredients. After the picanha has been cooked, you can use the remaining juices in the skillet to make a dark rich gravy that goes well with potatoes. You can use the gravy recipe described in the recipe for Loco Moco under preparation (step #6). I also like to serve this with the Brazilian vinaigrette relish.

Some recommended sides include:
Cuban Black Beans

Recommended Equipment:
cast iron skillet


1 to 2 pound tri-tip
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, chopped

  1. In a mortar, combine the garlic, salt, and olive oil.
  2. Crush these ingredients into a paste.
  3. In a large bowl, apply the paste evenly on both sides of the meat. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
    Picanha marinating
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. After oven reaches 350 degrees, put cast iron skillet (greased in olive oil) in oven for 15 minutes.
  6. While skillet gets hot, turn stove top burner to medium - high.
  7. Remove skillet from the oven and place on pre-heated stove top burner.
  8. Put picanha in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.
    Picanha in skillet
  9. Flip picanha and cook for another 2 minutes.
  10. Cover skillet with aluminum foil and place in oven for 25 minutes. (Do not cut into picanha to check if it is done).
  11. After 25 minutes, remove the skillet from the oven and let the picanha rest for 10 minutes before you cut into it. Cut the meat perpendicular to the striations in the meat (see below) as this will provide more tender cuts of meat.
    Picanha cooling
Need a wine to go with the Picanha? Try this one: Main Street Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

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Brasil [ print this recipe for Picanha ]

1 comment:

  1. Love this recipe of picanha , really looks simple and delicious.


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