How to Cook Brazilian Picanha

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Brazilian picanha is one of the most flavourful beef cuts for a grilling session. Today I bring you my favorite method to get deliciously seared picanha over the stove. 

If you are new here in TCG you probably don’t know that I live in the always sunny Portugal. And here, Brazilian food is a MUST. They are the best when it comes to BBQ steak. 

Picanha usually is cooked in the grill. But, you can cook it also on the stove if you have a cast-iron pan. You don’t get the same smokiness that a grill usually gives to the meat but the sear will be great. 

Cast irons are ideal for searing meat and leaving that iconic brown color on the surface.

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How do you cook Brazilian picanha in a cast iron? 

To get the perfect searing, the cast iron pan must be really hot. I usually heat my pan over high heat until it starts to fume slightly. Then I lower the heat to medium heat. 

Add the butter and the olive oil. I know that it may seem weird to add two types of oils. The butter gives the flavor and the olive oil prevents the butter from burning too fast. Butter can burn in a matter of seconds, especially if you preheat the pan to be extremely hot. 

As soon as the butter is melted I add the picanha steak. Now, the trick is to let it alone. Don’t move the steak before it’s seared. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until the surface is brown (like in the pictures). Flip and cook for a couple of minutes more. 

Because the pan is so hot, be careful of not overcooking the steak. This will also depend on the thickness of the steak.  A 1-inch thick steak only needs around 2 minutes per side to be rare. I like mine medium-rare so I let an extra minute per side. 

In case you didn’t notice, I haven’t mentioned anything about seasoning. One of the tricks I learned to make authentic Brazilian steak is to season with coarse sea salt at last. 

After you cook the steak, let it rest for 5 minutes to release the juices. Then season it with coarse sea salt —-like the salt bae meme.

Finally, just cut the steak into strips and serve.

Lately, I’ve been loving my Japanese knife, especially for cutting meat like it’s butter. I got my hand-made Japanese knife at Japana. 

You can pair this picanha steak with some spicy rice or oven baked sweet potatoes.

What cut is picanha in the United State? 

Picanha is basically a sirloin cap or rump cap. In the US you have to tell your butcher not to remove the fat.

In case you are looking for sustainable and organic meat in the us, you can check our list.

Usually, they make different cuts out of the sirloin cap that are intended to be cooked in the oven.

But, to cook proper picanha it must have the fat that will give flavor and caramelize the meat.

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Brazilian Picanha
Prep Time
0 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
Brazilian picanha is one of the most flavourful beef cuts for a grilling session. Today I bring you my favorite method to get deliciously seared picanha over the stove.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Brazilian
Keyword: brazilian picanha, how to cook picanha
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 367 kcal
  • 450-600 gr rump cap steak
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Coarse sea salt
  1. Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat and as soon as it starts to fume lower to medium heat.
  2. Add the oil and the butter. As soon as the butter is melted add the rum cap steak and let it sear for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for an extra 3 minutes.

  3. Remove the steak from the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes. Season with coarse sea salt. Cut into strips (like in the pictures) and serve.
Nutrition Facts
Brazilian Picanha
Amount Per Serving
Calories 367 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.6g
Cholesterol 145mg48%
Sodium 235mg10%
Potassium 863mg25%
Protein 51g102%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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