Picanha – A Must-Have at any Churrasco
The smell of freshly grilled steak wonderfully reminds us of late summer night barbecues. In Brazil, churrasco, the Portuguese word for a barbecue, is celebrated in a big way. One meat that you find on every barbecue is picanha, the tail piece of beef. The piece of meat is basically the same as top sirloin cap but differs from it in one small way. While in other countries the characteristic fat cover is removed, in Brazil it remains. Whether you prepare it yourself or eat it at a barbecue restaurant, when you love good meat, you shouldn't miss picanha on your trip to Brazil.
How it is prepared
Picanha is classically grilled in Brazil and prepared on skewers. One piece weighs about 1.2 kilograms and should be cut into slices of 2.3 to 3.1 inches (six to eight centimeters) thickness. Then put on the skewer with the layer of fat on the outside. An interesting fact is that the fat cover protects the meat during the grilling process so that it does not lose its aromatic, intense flavor. Traditionally, this delicacy is flavored exclusively with salt.
What goes perfectly with a picanha
When preparing the meat yourself, we have some tips for the best side dishes for picanha. A popular sauce is chimichurri, a BBQ sauce from Argentina. Our personal recommendation for other side dishes is fresh salad and boiled potatoes. But Brazilian specialties such as arroz com feijão (rice with beans) with farofa (manioc flour) also go very well with it. A delicious Brazilian chocolate candy, brigadeiro, for dessert rounds off the feast.
Every dish tastes best when you share it!
Have you been invited to a churrasco in Brazil? Be prepared not to eat picanha the way you do in your home country. Sharing is a big deal in Brazil, and it's no different when it comes to food. When the piece of meat is ready, it is usually cut into small, bite-sized pieces, passed around on a plate and everyone can help themselves. It doesn't matter if you sit, stand, or dance while eating. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the delicacy from the grill.
Where you can find picanha
If you would like to have the grilled specialty already served as a ready meal on your plate, it is recommended to go to a churrasquaria. Here, you find grilled meat dishes without end, and picanha is almost everywhere to be found. This is true no matter in which part of the country you spend your Brazil vacation. Those who want to try their hand at the dish themselves should stop by a local butcher, açougue in Portuguese.