When it comes to delicious and unique international dishes, Brazil is a foodie’s paradise full of delightful flavors, textures, and aromas. Known for its heavily marinated meats and succulent barbecue, the country is home to an astonishing variety of culinary treats. Among the most popular, and perhaps most delicious, is the Brazilian beef cut, Picanha. This traditional dish is typically served as a main course and is often a barbecue staple at the most delightful Brazilian parties.
Known as one of the most popular dishes in the country, Picanha is a top-notch choice for meat lovers of all kinds. This savory, marbled cut of beef is generously seasoned with a blend of spices and herbs, then perfectly cooked to perfection over an open flame. Its distinct, rich flavor makes it a must-try for all food lovers and aligns perfectly with traditional Brazilian dishes, such as churrasco, which typically features an assortment of grilled meats and unrefined sides like white rice, black beans, and green salad. The succulent, juicy texture of Picanha, when paired with traditional Brazilian accompaniments, makes for a blissful dining experience that simply can’t be beat.
What Makes Picanha Different from Other Beef Cuts?
The cut of Picanha is a distinctive triangular shape that is derived from the top part of the beef. It is perfectly marbled with a generous amount of fat, which gives it a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is nearly impossible to match. Picanha is commonly considered one of the top sirloin steaks available and is often served with the fat on, despite most Western butchers usually removing this excess, which tends to give it a distinct rich flavor.
Another characteristic that sets Picanha apart from other varieties of Beef, is that it is better on a grill than an oven. This is because it is better to cook Picanha at a higher heat and for a shorter period, rather than in a long, slow roast. This cooking method not only gives the beef a nice charred outside but a juicy inside as well.
The Origin of Picanha
Despite it being one of the top 5 dishes in the world, few people know that Picanha is a Brazilian dish. The dish originates from the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the South of Brazil and represents the traditional churrasco of Southern Brazil. In a country with a rich culinary tradition like Brazil, it is no surprise that Picanha would become a staple dish.
Vehemently debated and contested about its proper pronunciation and etymology, Picanha’s history is somewhat shrouded in mystery. The word Picanha can be linked back to Spanish, Portuguese, and even Tupi-Guarani languages- pointing to a culinary connection between the three nations. It is debated whether the cut was, in fact, invented in Brazil or whether it was brought to the country through globalization; but the unique, locally-sourced Brazilian Beef sets it apart and makes it a must-have for any foodie experiencing Brazil.
How to Enjoy Picanha
Like most Brazilian beef cuts, Picanha is best when cooked outside on a barbecue. The dish is usually cut into thick slices and put on a skewer. Then, it is marinated in a mix of olive oil, garlic, coriander, and rock salt before it’s ready to go into the grill. Cook the steak for an average of 15 minutes, turning regularly. The beef should keep its nice, slightly pink color- without getting either overcooked or rare
Picanha is often paired with Brazilian-style sides. Most commonly it is eaten with white rice, beans, and a light green salad. These side dishes are meant to balance the strong flavor of Picanha, without losing the essence of the cut. Add a nice chimichurri sauce on top of the meat, if you are looking for an extra tangy and aromatic flavor.
Brazilian beef cut Picanha is one of the most popular and delicious dishes in the world. Its unique shape and savory flavor, accompanied by a generous amount of fat, make it a must-have for meat lovers everywhere. This traditional Brazilian dish is best served on a barbecue grill and paired with white rice, beans, and salad. Its unique blend of flavors is an instant classic to all who try it and will surely become one of the top dishes in the world.