Today We Find Out If Picanha Steak Is As Good As They Say!

Could Picanha Steak Be The BEST STEAK In The World - Chef Jean-Pierre Hello friends! Today I will be determining if the Picanha Steak is really as good as everyone claims it to be. I have seen many reviews online and from my friends that the Picanha Steak is most certainly the best steak they have ever had at its price point! It is the national steak in Brazil, and the Brazilians are famous for their steak! So, let’s check it out together to see if it lives up to all the hype!

Hint: It’s pretty darn good!!

Picanha Steak Dry Brine with Salt

How to Cook the Perfect Picanha Steak

chef jean pierre 200x200 3Chef Jean-Pierre
Picanha steak is a popular dish in Brazilian cuisine, cherished for its succulent fat cap that brings out the rich flavors of the beef. Picanha is also known as top sirloin cap and is famous for its tender, juicy meat. In this recipe, we'll be using a technique called dry brining to ensure that the steak is flavorful and succulent. The cooking process is simple but promises a delicious result, perfect for impressing guests at a dinner party or enjoying a high-quality meal at home.
4.67 from 15 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Brazilian
Servings 4 Servings

Recipe Video

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2.75 lbs Picanha Steak, cut into 5 pieces with the fat cap
  • Salt, for dry brining
  • Black Pepper
  • Clarified Butter or Ghee, for cooking

Recipe Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Steak for Dry Brining:

  • Lay out the 5 cut Picanha steaks on a rack and season salt on both sides of each steak.
  • Evenly sprinkle salt on both sides of the steaks.
  • Leave the steaks uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 to 72 hours to dry brine.
  • This will help enhance the flavor and create a better crust on the surface.

Step 2: Season and Cook the Steaks:

  • Preheat Oven to 450°F (230°C).
  • After 24 hours, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and season them with black pepper on both sides.  
  • In an Stainless Steel fry pan, heat the clarified butter or ghee in a fry pan heated to 365°F / 185°C.  
  • Place the Picanha steaks in the pan, fat cap side down. Allow them to sear for a few minutes until a caramelized crust forms.  
  • Flip the steaks and sear the other side briefly and transfer to the oven, the other side will caramelize beautifully in the oven. 
  • Cook the steaks in the oven for about 4 to 6 minutes. 
  • Since Picanha steaks are thin, they will cook relatively quickly.

Step 3: Resting and Serving:

  • After cooking, remove the steaks from the oven, place them on a cutting board, and allow them to rest for 8–9 minutes to redistribute the juices.

Step 6: Slice and Serve

  • Once cooked, remove the steaks from the oven and let them rest for about 7-9 minutes. 
  • This resting period allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a juicy and flavorful steak.
  • After resting, slice the Picanha steaks against the grain into thin slices. This will help ensure tenderness.
  • Serve the sliced Picanha steaks immediately. It's recommended to serve them with the fat cap intact, as it adds flavor and richness to the dish.
  • Enjoy Your Picanha Steak!


Dry brining helps to enhance the flavor and tenderness of the meat. The salt helps to break down muscle fibers and dry the exterior, resulting in a more consistent crust.
Searing the steaks on the stovetop before finishing them in the oven creates a delicious caramelized crust called the Maillard reaction!
Allow the steaks to rest before slicing to preserve their juiciness.
Feel free to adjust the seasoning and cooking time based on your preferences for doneness.
Picanha, when prepared with a dry brine and expertly cooked, offers a fantastic combination of rich flavor and tenderness. This Brazilian delicacy can easily become a favorite for your special occasions or steak nights.

15 Frequently Asked Questions About Picanha Steak

Picanha Steak is a beloved cut of beef, especially in Brazilian cuisine. It’s known for its rich flavor and succulent texture, making it a favorite for barbecue enthusiasts. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about Picanha Steak:


1. What is Picanha Steak?

Picanha is a cut of beef taken from the top part of the rump cap muscle that sits above the round and the loin. This Brazilian cut is known for its fatty cap that brings a ton of flavor when cooked. Picanha is often skewered and cooked over an open flame in Brazilian churrascarias.


2. What to look for when buying Picanha Steak?

When purchasing Picanha Steak, look for a cut with a consistent layer of fat across the top. The meat itself should be a bright red color, signifying freshness. The fat should be white, not yellowish, which can indicate age.


3. Is Picanha the same as Sirloin Cap or Rump Cap?

Picanha is essentially the same as the rump cap, and in the U.S., it is often called the ‘sirloin cap’. However, the cutting style may differ. In Brazil, the fat cap is often left on, which contributes to its unique flavor.


4. How to cook Picanha Steak?

Picanha is best cooked on the grill or on skewers over an open flame. The traditional Brazilian method involves seasoning it only with coarse salt before grilling. The fatty side is generally cooked first to render some fat over the meat, enhancing its flavor.


5. What seasonings go well with Picanha?

The traditional Brazilian approach is to use just coarse salt. However, you can also use a simple rub of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to elevate the flavors.


6. How long should you cook Picanha?

Cooking times will vary based on the thickness and your preferred level of doneness. For medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 130-135°F, which should take about 10-15 minutes per side on a pre-heated grill.


7. What sides pair well with Picanha Steak?

Common side dishes for Picanha include garlic rice, black beans, and farofa (toasted cassava flour). Simple grilled vegetables or a fresh salad can also complement the rich flavors of the meat.


8. What wines pair well with Picanha?

Red wines like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, or a robust Zinfandel pair wonderfully with the bold flavors of Picanha. These wines offer enough structure and tannins to cut through the meat’s fattiness.


9. Can you cook Picanha in an oven?

Yes, you can cook Picanha in the oven, but it won’t have the same smoky flavor as when grilled. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and roast for about 25-30 minutes for medium-rare, checking the internal temperature.


10. Can Picanha be marinated?

While traditionally only seasoned with salt, you can certainly marinate Picanha. A marinade of garlic, olive oil, salt, and a touch of acid like vinegar or lime juice can add an extra dimension to the meat.


11. What is the best method to slice Picanha?

Always slice against the grain for the most tender eating experience. The grain in Picanha runs in different directions in the two different muscles that make up the cut, so be attentive when slicing.


12. Can Picanha be cooked sous-vide?

Yes, Picanha is excellent when cooked sous-vide. Cook it at 130°F (54°C) for 2-4 hours for medium-rare, and then sear the fat cap quickly on a hot grill or pan.


13. Is Picanha Steak expensive?

The price of Picanha varies but it’s generally less expensive than ribeye or filet mignon. It’s considered a more economical option for high-quality beef.


14. Is Picanha Steak healthy?

Picanha does contain a good amount of fat, particularly in the fat cap. While it is rich in protein, like all red meats, it should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


15. Can Picanha be used in a stew or curry?

Picanha is best enjoyed grilled or roasted to appreciate its unique texture and flavor. Using it in a stew or curry might not be the best utilization of this particular cut.

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