Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors
Picanha Steak: Brazilian Carne De Sol
Picanha steak is a Brazilian carne de sol, which means "sun dried meat." It's household staple and traditionally served at Christmas time in Brazil. Picanha is made from the rump cap of the beef with all external fat cap trimmed off and has a characteristic bulging eye or bone. The cut is relatively tough due to its location on the animal as well as because it does not have any external fat for protection. The cooking process must be slow and careful so that the meat does not dry out or become too tough.
Watch this video on picanha
What kind of steak is picanha?
Picanha steak is a type of beef cut from the bottom sirloin rump cover. It has lean meat with lots of marbling, making it a prime choice for grilling and barbecue. Picanha can also be served as an appetizer in Brazilian restaurants known as pratos especiais.
The traditional way to cook picanha is to sear it on high heat with the fat side up, then cook slowly in a covered grill or oven until the steak's internal temperature reaches approximately 145° F/63° C.
A whole picanha also has an attractive crust that may be served as part of the dish when sliced with a sharp knife into thin pieces known as "churrasco," which is a traditional Brazilian dish.
Some people may refer to picanha as a top sirloin steak, but this isn't entirely accurate since it is cut from the bottom of the butt section and not directly from the back (top) of the cow. Picanha also has more marbling or fat than what you might find in a top sirloin.
Why is picanha so good?
Picanha is one of the most popular cuts in Brazil, and it's not hard to understand why: it’s delicious. The fat content makes for an incredibly moist cut that has a deep beef flavor. Picanha tastes great with vegetable stews or black beans (feijão preto).
It is also a very versatile cut: it can be cooked at high temperatures if you want the outside to be crispy with an interior that stays juicy, or roasted in low heat for an incredibly tender steak. The only downside of picanha is its price - this meaty beef comes from the rump part of the cow (around $20 per pound).
What cut is picanha in USA?
Picanha is the cut of beef that can be either sirloin or rump. It's typically cooked by grilling, so you may see it labeled as a churrasco steak by an American butcher in the United States. Picanha has become quite popular outside of Brazil, including in North America, because of its unique flavor and tenderness.
It's a popular cut in the U.S., but it can also be found as an off-the-bone steak. A picanha is typically served with grelhados (skewers), which are meat dishes that often include pork and beef filet mignon marinated in spices such as garlic, rock salt, pepper and lemon juice before being cooked via indirect heat on skewers over hot coals or on a hot grill.
Picanha may look similar to other cuts of red meats because they all come from the same primal cut – rump cap. The difference between them is determined by how much fat covers each muscle group when you slice through it horizontally; this makes for some very lean steaks that cook up quick and are perfect for grilling.
What is picanha steak and where does it come from?
Picanha is a Brazilian cut of beef, traditionally made from the top sirloin cap. It's also known as carne de sol in some parts of Brazil and can be grilled or cooked over an open flame. The meat has a deep red color due to its high iron content which comes from clumps of blood vessels running through it - this gives Picanha steak a sweet flavor that goes really well with white rice, fried banana, black beans and other dishes like avocados with lime juice on top.
Brazilians love grilling their steaks (barbecue) because they don't have much access to ovens so all cooking must happen outside using either charcoal or natural gas for fuel. These days though there are ovens in Brazil, and many people still use the barbecue for cooking picanha steak.
Picanha is often cooked alongside carne de sol which is another Brazilian cut of beef with similar characteristics to Picanha. The only difference between them is that Carne De Sol has more fat content, whereas it's very lean on a regular Picanha steak - this means that Carne De Sol should be eaten sparingly because while it tastes amazing when grilled or smoked, too much can give you indigestion/heartburn (especially if you are used to eating mostly meat).
The name "Picanha" is derived from the word picar, which means to chop or mince. When this cut of beef was first butchered, it was chopped into little pieces by hand and so that's where the word comes from - in Brazil we call it Picanha because when you order a steak at an iron griddle (churrasco) they will often say "com pimenta e alho por favor". The words translates as: sausage with garlic and pepper please.
So what does Carne De Sol mean? Well, there are two possibilities for its origin... One theory says that carne de sol came about during colonization via Portugal, who introduced chouriço (or sausage) and had a lot of success with it. The other theory states that the name comes from "carne de sol" which is Portuguese for dried meat because Carne De Sol has been preserved using salt or vinegar over many days to become something different than what you see in butcher shops today - these days Carnes (meats) are often sold as fresh, but back then they would sell them after preservation as carne seca (dried meats).
In Brazil we use herbs like parsley, garlic, bay leaves etc., so when the sausage was introduced during colonization by Portugal they left out some of those ingredients and added pepper instead.
A long time ago people had ovens at home and used regular woods for cooking so the flavor was really earthy and smoky. Nowadays people use gas or charcoal for their cooking fuel which is more convenient, but they still call it Carne De Sol so that's where its name comes from: dried meat made with salt or vinegar to preserve it over many days using different ingredients like pepper in place of traditional herbs.
Carne de sol is usually eaten alongside grilled vegetables because Brazilians don't eat much green leafy veg - we love our calabacitas (squash), summer squash, peppers, okra etc., but if you ask a Brazilian what he likes to do on Saturday night when he goes out grilling his steaks they'll always say "comer bem" meaning to have a good meal.
How to prepare picanha steak
A Picanha is a Brazilian roast beef dish, typically served as an entree. The word "Picante" in Portuguese means spicy or peppery and the word "Picanha" comes from the French words “pic” meaning pointed end of something (such as a knife) and “chaine” meaning chain, which refers to the shape that this cut resembles when sliced across its width. This is also called Carne De Sol because it's typical cooking method makes for an extremely tender meat with a delicious smoky flavor; sunny side up!
The traditional way of preparing Picanha steak is by roasting over hot charcoal on skewers made of dried wood branches known locally as jiggers.
The beef is cut in a way that creates long thin pieces, then seasoned with salt and pepper before being skewered. It can be grilled or barbecued.
This dish has many variations all over Brazil: there are some regions where the meat is marinated overnight in red wine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder and black pepper; other areas use Worcestershire sauce instead of soy sauce. The skewers may also include onions or peppers for extra flavour. In many places Picanha steaks are served as part of rodizio style restaurants - this means you pay one fixed price at the start (usually around $18) which entitles you to unlimited servings from a buffet until your stomach tells you it's time to stop.
The dish is often served with Brazilian french fries and white rice on the side, but it goes well with a range of sides such as mashed potatoes, cabbage salad or green beans.
The history of Brazilian Carne De Sol
Brazilian Carne De Sol is a dish that originated from the Pampas region in Brazil. It's traditionally made with large cuts of beef, which are then salted and dried for up to three weeks before cooking them over charcoal or wood coals until they're slightly charred on all sides and cooked through. The meat gets its name because it resembles slices of roasted pork called "carne de sol" (sun-dried). These days this popular Brazilian barbecue staple can be found anywhere an enterprising cook has access to quality beef.
Recipes for cooking the perfect picanha steak
Picanha steak is a Brazilian cut of meat, and it’s also known as carne de sol. The term picanha comes from the word picante which means spicy or hot in Portuguese language. Picanha steak consists of different cuts coming from the rump area, including: Tri-Tip (pirarucu), bife ancho, bife largo, contra filete and top sirloin rostro.
A dish made with these steaks is called “piqueno enchidado à moda da casa” meaning small pieces cooked in sauce house style. Traditionally they are served with fried bananas on the side to give additional flavor to this delicious meal that will surely please any meat-lover.
The traditional recipe for picanha steak is to season the meat with salt and pepper, then rub with vegetable oil or butter, followed by a sauce made of garlic, onion and chopped tomatoes cooked together in water or wine until it becomes thickened. The steaks are typically grilled over hot coals while basting every few minutes with more oil.
In Brazil this dish is also known as “churrasco” since people usually eat them outdoors on Sundays at barbecue parties called churrascos which include barbecued meats like pork ribs (costela), sausage (linguiça) and beef short ribs (ponta de costela). Tender cuts of beef like picanha steak are especially popular with this dish and can be found at any Brazilian restaurant.
The perfect way to serve a plate of Brazilian Picanha Steaks is by topping it off with fried bananas, accompanied by rice or potatoes on the side.
Rice: Cooks about 16 minutes; serves four people as an accompaniment for lamb chops (costeletas de carneiro) or chicken breast fillets (filé mignon comum). The easiest kind of rice to cook is basmati which cooks well without any attention from you but you might want to add more water than usual since it absorbs a lot when cooked. Brown rice will take longer so if you're in a hurry you might want to consider using white rice.
Potatoes: Cooks about 55 minutes; serves four people as an accompaniment for beef short ribs (costeletas de carneiro) or chicken breast fillets (filé mignon comum). The type of potatoes most often used is the Russet potato since it's high starch content makes them good boiling potatoes and they turn out nice and fluffy when cooked. If you're making fries then take note that this takes about 45-60 minutes, so start cooking these first if you want both with your meal.
Now I'm going to teach you how to make the perfect picanha steak!
Step One: Rub the steaks with kosher salt and pepper. This will help season it so that when we cook them they will have a nice flavor. You can also rub butter or vegetable oil on top for browning purposes (optional). The type of sauce is up to your preference, but traditionally garlic, onion and chopped tomatoes are used as ingredients in Brazil or at a Brazilian steakhouse.
Step Two: Grill the steaks over hot coals. Baste every few minutes with oil to make sure they don't dry out or burn on one side before cooking through. You can also use a griddle pan if you're looking for something a bit more healthy and less in calories since there's no need to baste it as much, but this takes about 20-30 minutes.
Step Three: If using charcoal then wait until almost all of the coal has turned dark black and is starting to spread out evenly without any flame visible. We want medium heat so that we cook the meat slowly while still getting some charring marks from cooking directly on top of the gas grill grate/hot plate surface (optional). Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Facts about this delicious cut of meat
Picanha is a grilled or roasted beef dish from Brazil, and it consists of an entire cut of top sirloin. The word picanha comes from the Portuguese language and translates to "rump roast." In Bahia cuisine, this cut is called carne de sol (sun meat).
It's common for restaurants in Rio Grande do Sul to serve Picanha as part of their rodízio service. This means that you can pay one price for unlimited access to all the various types of meats they have on offer over the course of dinner. At many places in Southern Brazil, like Churrasqueira Garcia da Serra, customers sit down at tables with two kinds of platters, one for chicken and other meats, the other for beef.
Picanha is a very popular dish in Southern Brazil because it's commonly served at restaurants that offer rodízio service, but this cut of meat can also be prepared on your own charcoal grill or oven. The key to cooking picanha well is to season both sides with coarse salt and pepper (can even add olive oil) before grilling them over high heat until they reach an internal temperature of 130°F (54°C), then slicing off as much as you want to eat when they're still hot from the flame.
This particular cut gives excellent results when marinated overnight in lime juice mixed with garlic cloves, chopped onions and spices like black pepper corns and oregano. The acid in the lime juice helps to break down this tough cut of meat and leaves it tender, juicy, and flavorful.
Picanha is typically served with a tomato sauce that can either be made from scratch or bought at the store. You could also top your picanha dish with chimichurri if you want an extra kick of flavor. Chimichurri is a green parsley-based sauce originating from Argentina's neighbor Chile (which has its own version called Ají).
Final thoughts on picanha
Hope you enjoyed this article about picanha!
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