L'epicurien - April 6 ,2021
Moist and Tender Smoked Picanha
A wonderful cut of meat is taking up its place along the US smokers and grillers. It is known in the United States as top sirloin, in Brazil as picanha, in Argentina as tapa de cuadril, in Venezuela as punta trasera, and in México as aguayón. This delicious cut has a fat cap, an unique characteristic that makes it better and different from other cuts of meat such as the rib eye, flank, sirloin, sirloin steak, among others. In the US normally this fat cap is removed and the meat is divided into other cuts, but you can take advantage of the benefits of this cap of fat to add flavor and a special touch. Let's get started with the recipe to discover a new dimension of tastes and smooth textures.
The picanha, a famous Brazilian cut of meat usually served in restaurants called "Churrasquerias", it is not a coincidence that it's known as the queen of the grill, its texture is smooth when chewing and the flavor is strongly beefy. In the "Churrasquerias" you can find the modality of & "all you can eat", yes, it is the heaven of any meat lover to taste different types of meats; beef, pork, chicken and a delicious variety of local sausages.
Cut against the grain into thick steaks and seasoned with a lot of kosher salt, It is cooked over direct fire to medium-rare on a skewer and served with roasted cassava or yucca, a local root or tuber that grows in South America. This cut of meat is gaining followers in the United States due to its flavor, tenderness and delicious fat cap but also it is affordable, so you will get a prime quality meat to enjoy with your relatives and friends, believe me it won't let you down.
It is characterized by its triangular shape and of course the thick layer of fat. It can be grilled, broiled, smoked or pan-fried with equally delightful results.
Grill the whole piece is a traditional way to cook it, place the whole picanha with fat cap side down the font of heat and sear it, once the fat has formed a golden crust, flip and sear the other side, let it rest for 10 minutes to stabilize the liquids then cut against the grain (1 ½ inches) thick steaks and cook them 2 minutes per side.
Another heavenly way to taste this piece is by trying the japanese way, in other words wagyu picanha, but be careful, you can literally destroy this cut of meat by cooking it in a grill.
Just slice into small strips (1-inch by 4-inches) and cook directly on the hot surface of the
pan or an iron griddle for 1 minutes per side, there's no need to add more than salt and
pepper, you will love it.
This cut of beef comes from the rum cap muscle, the back side of the animal. When buying it, be aware of the weight, no more than 3 lb, otherwise it will be very tough and hard to chew, mostly the wider end. That's why your butcher has to be a friend, to guide you in the purchase of the best cuts of meat. Now, there is no excuse to cook and enjoy this special cut of meat, I assure you that after eating it you will want it forever.
Serving 5 to 6 persons
Preparation: 12 hours
Cook: 2 hours
• 2 to 3 lb Whole Picanha
• 0.8 oz fine salt to rub
For the preparation of the brine:
• 17 fl oz of water
• 0.8 oz of fine salt
• 0.8 oz of sugar
• ¼ cup of dried oregano
For the preparation of the brine it is necessary to boil the water, add the dried oregano and let it rest for 15 minutes then strain the infusion and integrate the salt and sugar, stir very well, let it cool down in the refrigerator before using it.
To cut the meat against the grain it is recommended to mark the piece using a sharp knife before cooking it.
Rub the whole picanha with salt and then carefully inject the brine into the piece using a meat injector, let it marinade covered, overnight in the refrigerator.
To cook this beautiful cut of meat we will use a charcoal smoker and grill, it is great because it allows melting, searing, and tenderizing the fat cap while smoking the picanha.
Place the picanha in the smoker with the fat cap to the charcoals and cook for 2 hours. After an hour of cooking flip the picanha, during this time every 15 minutes add wood smoker chips and stay alert to keep the temperature between 200°F to 248°F by controlling the intake damper that provides oxygen to the charcoals or wood, and the exhaust damper or chimney that allows the combustion gases, smoke, and heat to escape.
Let the piece rest under foil and cover for 30 minutes before cutting it. Serves with chimichurri, sautéed potatoes au Provençal herbs, and red wine. It would be an excellent culinary experience. Bon appétit..