Picanha steak with herbs

What is Picanha, Everything You Need to Know

Picanha (pronounced pee-kahn-yah) is a cut of beef that is popular in Brazil. The cut comes from the top of the rump cap muscle. The closest cut in the United States is a Top Sirloin Cap with the fat cap left on. The Picanha cut is also known as Coulotte.

The Picanha cut packs a lot of flavor and offers a great value. Picanha is less common in the United States, but is growing in popularity with the spread of Brazilian steakhouses.

Picanha is triangular in shape and can range in size from six to fourteen ounces. It’s fairly close in size to a New York steak. The large fat cap brings tremendous flavor and helps keep the steak juicy and flavorful. 

What Does Picanha Taste Like

Cooked picanha steaks on a cutting board

The Picanha cut offers big, beefy flavor. It’s somewhere between brisket, filet mignon, and ribeye. It has the fat cap of brisket, lighter intramuscular marbling of filet mignon, and overall beefy flavor of ribeye. 

Because the Picanha comes from the rump area of the animal, it contains a thick fat cap on the top of the steak and less intramuscular fat. This means big, rich, assertive beef flavor which does well with exposure to smoke and an open flame.

The fat cap also helps keep the steak tender and juicy during the cooking process.  

How to Cook Picanha

The traditional Brazilian way of cooking the Picanha—often at a churrascaria—is to skewer the meat into a horseshoe shape and cook it over an open fire. 

The Brazilians know what they are doing. The Picanha steak is best cooked over an open flame (charcoal or wood), but it can also be cooked with a gas grill, oven, or on the stove

The Picanha cut does best with a simple seasoning blend of coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper. 

During the cooking process, the fat cap on the cut melts and crisps as you cook. When you thinly slice the meat against the grain, the meat will melt in your mouth.

Pair the Picanha with an authentic, chimichurri sauce and glass of red wine.

Where to Buy Picanha

Raw picanha steak ready for cooking

The Picanha cut is relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to similar cuts such as ribeye. It can be more difficult to find in stores in the United States, but there are a variety of options to buy picanha. 

Local Butcher

Your local butcher is always a great place to start. Many local butchers can make custom cuts upon request. Most quality butchers will recognize the Picanha cut. If they don’t, they will know what you mean if you request the sirloin cap with the fat cap still on.

Order the following: "Sirloin Cap with the Fat Cap Still On."

Online Meat Delivery

There are a growing number of online meat delivery services that partner with local ranchers and sell meat options direct to the consumer.

Porter Road
Crowd Cow
Omaha Steaks
Kansas City Steak Company
Meat N’ Bone

Meat Delivery Subscription

Looking for regular deliveries of meat including the Picanha cut? Check out these options of monthly meat delivery services. You can sign up for a variety of packages.

Butcher Box

Frozen Meat Suppliers

You can also buy from online, frozen meat suppliers. Because these companies focus on frozen meat and seafood, they can offer a larger range of products including Picanha. 

Wild Fork

Ranchers that Sell Direct

You can also buy direct from ranchers. These are the people that raise the beef, butcher the cuts, and sell direct to you.

Snake River Farms
Chapman Cattle Company

Bottom Line

Brazilian Picanha steak is one of the world’s best meats. Just like our beef jerky. While you’re here, why don’t you check out our artisan crafted beef jerky? You won’t be disappointed. 

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