If you have heard these words before and still remember them it means you’re ready to broaden your grilling experience. What is the difference between churrasco and picanha, how to choose the best piece of meat, and how to cook it so that it smells and tastes absolutely gorgeous? Read on the get the answer!
Churrasco and Picanha: The Difference
It’s as simple as it is: Churrasco is a term that is mainly used in Europe and Latin America to speak about grilled meat in general or grilled beef in particular. A steakhouse that specializes in preparing such dishes is called churrascaria, and a very special thing about such places is that they offer you as much meat as you can eat simply moving around tables and slicing meat to their clients’ plates.
Picanha is a cut of beef that is known as sirloin cap in the USA. Picanha is loved by the Brazilians for its tenderness and earthy taste. Why is it not so well-known in North America? The only answer we’ve got is because it’s a Brazilian cheap and rich secret!
How to Choose Your Perfect Picanha?
- If it’s possible, choose an aged picanha. In Brazil, wet-aged cuts are much more popular than dry-aged. They’re sold in vacuum packs so it would be easy for you to choose the one you like more.
- The best picanha weights from 2 to 2.5 lbs. If you buy a picanha that is more than 3 lbs. it means you buy picanha and something else – to be exact, a part of the outer-thigh area that is significantly tougher than picanha itself.
- Remember that the widest end of picanha is its thickest part while the tip is the most delicious one.
How to Cook Your Perfect Picanha?
- Opt for organic charcoal, a wood fire, or a gas grill if you want to prepare genuinely authentic picanha. Try to avoid cooking with briquettes or lighter fluid as it will spoil your first experience.
- Before grilling picanha, put pork sausages on the grill to let the dripping fat get the fire going. This means is much more preferable than using lighter fluid.
- Score the fatty side of picanha making crisscrossing cuts on it not to let the fatty side shrink and get out of shape.
The next step depends on the way of cooking you’ll choose.
- If you want to cook picanha on a big skewer as you do in a churrascaria, you have to cut it against the grain. Cut your picanha in 3 pieces perpendicular to picanha fibers, bend these pieces into semicircles fat-side out, grease a large skewer with oil, and put the pieces on the skewer. Season them with rock salt and slice off thin pieces as the picanha is getting cooked.
- If you don’t have a large skewer and still want to prepare picanha at home, don’t worry. First, divide the whole picanha into steaks cutting it in the same direction as the fibers go. Season the pieces with rock salt – but nothing more as the natural flavor of the meat will become the best taste booster. It’s better to use rock salt instead of its table or kosher varieties because it doesn’t penetrate into the meat and creates a thin and delicious salty crust. Grill your picanha fat-side up for several minutes and then turn your steaks on their sides and cook just for a couple of minutes more. In the end, continue grilling picanha fat-side down keeping it far from the hottest part of your grill. Don’t puncture meat when grilling it. Discard extra salt and let picanha rest a bit before slicing it.
That’s it – all the secrets of picanha have been revealed! The best thing about this delicious meat is that it’s really good on its own and it would be extremely hard to spoil the meal even if you cook for the first time. Try it now and enjoy! Share your experience with us via Customer Care form or on our Facebook Page!