Picanha: What is it? And how do you cook it?

From frying, grilling, cooking to cutting

Picanha used to be relatively unknown, but nowadays it’s impossible to imagine the barbecue world without it. Or even in the regular kitchen. Picanha is a very tasty piece of beef. It has a huge fat cap.

But how do you make optimal use of the taste of this fat? And what is the best way to cook it? In this article we explain it all to you.

Oven-roasted picanha with cowboy butter

Chapter 1

What is a Picanha?

A picanha is a popular piece of meat. The name picanha has come over from countries such as Uruguay, Argentina and the USA.

This tasty piece of meat comes from the buttock of the beef. In terms of tenderness, it’s between the roast beef and the thick loin.

The meat is characterized by a layer of fat. This layer of fat ensures that the meat doesn’t dry out and that the meat has a lot of flavor. As you know, fat gives flavor to meat. The closer to the tip, the softer the meat.

There are different types of picanha, all with their own taste. So you have the:

  • Aberdeen Angus picanha, this one has a strong flavor and often has a thick hard layer of fat that becomes super soft after cooking and keeps the meat very tender.
  • Wagyu picanha with a slightly milder taste, but still very tasty. This fat layer is a small centimeter and a bit softer. It can sometimes be a bit harder after cooking it.
  • USA Grain-Fed picanha is similar to the Aberdeen Angus.
  • Scottish picanha is the cheapest and has a thinner fat layer of about half a centimeter. This is also often the mildest piece of flavor.

Other names:
United States: Beef rump cap
The Netherlands: Staartstuk / Picanha
Germany: Rind Tafelspitz
French: Boeuf Culotte de Rumsteak

Chapter 2

Which wine goes with picanha?

Picanha goes well with powerful and spicy red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chianti Classico, Bourgogne, Amarone, Côtes de Provence or Barolo.

Chapter 3

How do you cook a picanha?

The picanha is very suitable for roasting and for barbecue. If you are going to cook a picanha, use meat that has been aged for at least two weeks. When buying, make sure that the meat is well veined with fat.

The picanha can be cooked in various ways, such as in the oven, on the barbecue or wrapped in a salt crust.

The fatty edge

The fatty edge on the rump may put most people off when seeing the meat for the first time. However, that’s not necessary. In fact, this keeps the meat juicy and gives it a rich flavor.

If you’re going to grill the picanha on the barbecue, the fatty edge is very tasty if you manage to get it crispy. It may take some practice, but it’s not really difficult. To do this, carve a diamond pattern in the fat with a knife. Make sure you don’t go deeper than 5mm with the knife, otherwise you risk getting into the flesh. Cut the next line 5mm next to the other.

Picanha ruitpatroon

Flaring the picanha

Often the picanha is flared to get the outside crispy. However, we’re not in favor of this. The flames that arise as a result carry the risk that meat will burn and you don’t want that.

The core temperature

Keep about 50-52℃ as meat core temperature. You can easily monitor this using a meat thermometer. To do this, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.

When the meat has reached the correct core temperature, let it rest loosely covered under aluminum foil for 5 minutes. This allows the meat juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat.

Cutting the picanha

After cooking the picanha, cut the meat perpendicular to the grain into thin slices. Don’t use a serrated knife to cut the picanha, as this will destroy the fibers, causing the juices to be lost.

Frying and roasting

You don’t need a frying pan, oil or butter to cook picanha, you heat it on a high fire. Do this for 2 to 3 minutes and then lower the heat. Place the meat with the fatty edge in the pan and fry the meat for 2 minutes. Then turn over and cook the other side for 4 minutes.

  1. Let the meat come to room temperature before you start cooking the picanha in the pan. Take it out of the fridge an hour before cooking.
  2. Heat the oven to 90℃. Create a diamond pattern with a knife. Then season it with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a frying pan over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Then lower the heat slightly.
  4. First fry the meat on the fatty side for 2 minutes. Turn over and cook the other side for 4 minutes.
  5. Then place the meat in an oven dish with the fatty edge facing up. Put it in the oven until it has reached a core temperature of 50 – 52 ℃.
  6. Let the steak rest outside the oven for 5 minutes, covered loosely with aluminum foil. As a result, the meat juices that contain many flavorings are distributed throughout the meat.
  7. Then cut the meat into thin slices against the grain.

Grilling on the bbq

The size of the picanha and the temperature of the barbecue determine how long it will take for the steak to reach the desired core temperature. With a picanha of about 1200 grams it can take about an hour at a constant temperature of about 130 degrees.

Follow these steps when barbecuing:

  1. Let the meat come to room temperature before grilling the picanha on the barbecue. Take it out of the fridge an hour before cooking.
  2. Create a diamond pattern in the meat with a knife. Then season it with salt.
  3. Grill the picanha on all sides for a few minutes.
  4. Place the meat on a less hot zone and let it cook slowly until it has reached a core temperature of 50 – 52 ℃.
  5. Remove the steak from the barbecue and let it rest for 5 minutes, loosely covered with aluminum foil. As a result, the meat juices, which contain many flavorings, are distributed throughout the meat.
  6. Then cut the meat into thin slices against the grain and season it with salt and pepper as desired.
sous vide

Sous-vide garen

Sous-vide is French for vacuum cooking. This is the cooking of vacuum-sealed meat in a hot water bath. This is one of the most controlled ways to cook the picanha perfectly. The entire piece of meat reaches exactly the desired core temperature.

How to get started:

  1. Select the desired core temperature (this is equal to the cooking temperature) and duration.
  2. Set the sous-vide device and let the water come up to temperature.
  3. Fold over the top 2 to 4 cm of the vacuum bag before adding the picanha and other ingredients. This way that part of the bag remains clean and you get a good, firm seal.
  4. Put the picanha in the bag and add any seasonings.
  5. Now vacuum the bag, make sure that the liquid from the bag does not enter the device.
  6. Now the picanha can be placed in the water bowl for the required cooking time.
  7. After the cooking time you can take the picanha out of the bag. Convenient: if you don’t need the picanha immediately, you can leave it in the water bath for 1 hour longer.
  8. If necessary, pat it dry with some kitchen paper before cooking it. Fry, grill or BBQ the picanha for as short a time as possible at a high temperature for extra flavor and a crispy crust. It doesn’t have to rest after this, it can be cut or served immediately.

Chapter 4

Recipe: Grilled picanha

Geen beoordelingen

Grilled Picanha from the BBQ

Prep time1 minute
Cooking time30 minutes
Total time31 minutes
Servings: 1 piece


  • 1.3 kg picanha
  • salt & pepper


  • Remove the picanha from the fridge half an hour before cooking. Then sprinkle the meat with salt.
  • Grill the picanha on all sides.
  • Prepare the barbecue for indirect grilling and put the meat back on the grill. Let the meat cook to a core temperature of 52 °C.
  • Remove the meat from the barbecue and let it rest for 5 minutes, while it is loosely covered with aluminum foil.
  • Carve the picanha and sprinkle it with pepper.

Chapter 5

Alle recipes

Looking for more inspiration? Then see below more recipes with halibut. Or check our fish recipes for even more inspiration.

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