If you enjoy fatty and flavorful cuts of beef, you will love picanha steak – the cut which is super popular in Brazil, and with good reason.
This steak has a marvelous fat cap and a rich beefy flavor. It’s just as easy to make as any other steak – a quick sear on both sides and it’s done!
If you’ve ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse, you know that picanha steak is a huge favorite in Brazil.
It’s incredibly flavorful, and although you won’t find it at your local supermarket, you can buy it at your butcher’s or order it online.
It’s one of my favorite cuts thanks to its tenderness, wonderful flavor, and especially its thick fat cap.
Thankfully, unlike other steaks, such as the New York strip, American butchers leave this glorious fat cap alone and don’t over-trim it.
You’ll need just four ingredients to make this amazing steak. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Picanha steaks: These are also known as top sirloin cap steaks.
To season: Just salt and pepper. I prefer Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.
To finish the steaks: Butter. I like to use Kerrygold salted butter.
This is a simple recipe that highlights the wonderfully beefy flavor of the steak, so I wouldn’t play too much with variations.
You could season the steaks a bit more – try a sprinkle of garlic powder or smoked paprika. I tried both at the same time and liked the combination.
You can also sprinkle the finished steaks with some minced parsley. But beyond these minimal variations, I would stick with the recipe as written.
Picanha Steak Instructions
Cooking these steaks is truly easy. The detailed instructions are listed in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of the steps:
- Your first step is to season the steaks generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Season the fat cap too. (Photo 1).
- Now, heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke.
- Add the steaks and cook them without moving them until the bottom has developed a brown crust, 3-4 minutes. (Photo 2).
- Using tongs, flip the steaks to the other side and cook them until browned on that side too, about 3 more minutes. (Photo 3).
- Cook the fat edges too, as shown in the video below, for about one minute. (Photo 4).
- Remove the steaks to a plate and top them with butter. Let them rest for five minutes before serving them. (Photos 5-6).
This cut comes from the top of the rump, also known as the sirloin cap or rump cap:
Unfortunately, in the United States, you won’t find this cut in your supermarket or even at Whole Foods. You can find it at the butcher’s, though, or you could order it online at Wild Fork Foods.
Yes, absolutely. You can buy the whole cut and then, using a sharp knife, cut it into individual steaks, about 1 inch thick.
Make sure to cut WITH the grain, not against it. So you should cut alongside the meat fibers, leaving them intact.
These steaks are rich and flavorful, so I like to serve them with fresh and simple sides. I usually opt for a salad, which I can make ahead of time, and then focus on cooking the steaks. A few of my favorites:
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If you enjoy fatty and flavorful cuts of beef, you will love picanha steak – the cut loved in Brazil, and with good reason.
Servings: 2 servings
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Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Season them on both sides and on the fat cap with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke.
Add the steaks and cook them without moving them until the bottom has developed a brown crust, 3-4 minutes.
Using tongs, flip the steaks to the other side and cook them until browned on that side too, about 3 more minutes.
Cook the fat edges too, as shown in the video below, for about one minute.
Remove the steaks to a plate and top them with butter. Let them rest for five minutes before serving them.
- I typically cook steaks medium-rare (the USDA recommends medium doneness). But in this case, since the steaks have such a thick fat cap which I want well-browned, I prefer cooking them to medium doneness.
- Make sure to salt the fatty edges and brown them too, after you’re done browning both sides of the steaks.
- Steaks are best eaten freshly cooked. But if you have leftovers, try slicing them thinly and serving them cold.
Add Your Own Notes
Nutrition per Serving
Serving: 1steak | Calories: 691kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.3g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 60g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Sodium: 705mg