Picanha has become a hugely popular steak due to the popularity of barbecuing in recent years. The name sounds very exotic, but is nothing but Portuguese for beef rump.
In Brazil (hence the Portuguese) this meat very often is prepared on the barbecue, then thinly sliced and served with the spicy sauce chimichurri.
Picanha is characterised by the triangular shape with the sturdy fat cap. The meat has a fairly coarse structure, so make sure you cut it in the right direction while cutting. That is, against the grain.
In the photo you clearly see that the meat is cut along the long side against the grain, the short side is cut along the grain, you can see that from the long lines in the meat.
Cutting against the grain makes it much easier to chew and therefore more tender. Cut a thin slice of the meat and you will immediately notice whether you are cutting it the right way.
We are making it even more complicated, halfway through the picanha the “direction” of the meat has changed and you have to cut it from another angle.
Picanha is usually prepared at the barbecue, but you can also achieve cooking to perfection in the oven. Sear the meat beautifully in a pan on the fat side and place it with the fat side up in an oven dish. Thereby the meat is protected by the fat layer and remains perfectly juicy.
Oven-roasted picanha with cowboy butter and green asparagus
- 1 picanha about 1,500 grams
- 4 tbsp barbecue rub
- 2 bunches green asparagus
- splash sunflower oil
- 125 gr cowboy butter
- black pepper freshly grounded
- fleur de sel
- Preheat the oven at 120 degrees.
- Take the meat out of the refrigerator at least half an hour before serving, so that it reaches room temperature.
- Cut the fat layer of the picanha with a razor-sharp knife crosswise until you just don’t touch the meat. So only cut the fat crosswise. This way, the fat becomes crispier during roasting and the meat will not warp.
- Sprinkle the entire picanha with the barbecue rub and season with a little bit more with fleur de sel. Rub the rub well into the meat.
- Heat a small dash of sunflower oil in a wide frying pan and fry the meat firmly on the fat side. Turn the meat over as soon as the fat has nicely been coloured and fry the meat side briefly.
- Place it in a baking dish and insert a core thermometer into the thickest part. Set to 48 degrees Celsius and place it in the oven.
- Let the meat cook to the desired core temperature. Remove from the oven and let it rest for another 10 minutes. Hereby the juices will then redistribute through the meat.
- Season well with fleur de sel and freshly grounded pepper and cut against the grain into thin tranches.
- Serve it with cowboy butter and roasted green asparagus. To do this, cut the hard bottom of the green asparagus and fry them at low heat in the pan in which the picanha has baked until they are al dente. Increase the heat and let it roast until they are nicely coloured.