What is Picanha?

picanha on the grill

I love cooking over fire with unique cuts of meat. If you have been follow my journey for a while, then you are bound to have seen me talk about picanha.


Traditionally called picanha in Brazil and other Latin American countries, this prized cut of meat holds amble amounts of flavor & has a texture similar to sirloin. If you are like me, then you probably were stunned the first time you heard about this cut of beef.


I have received so many questions about this cut that I decided to compile them into a list below! Hopefully I can answer everything you would like to know about this delicious cut of meat.


FAQ’s about Picanha

 Sliced into sirloin cuts. Sliced into sirloin cuts.


1. What part of the animal is it from?


Picanha is from the back side of the animal above the butt where it sits on a fat cap. Most US butchers would call this area the round.


2. Is it called something else in the United States?


Yes, picanha is called Sirloin Cap or Rump Cap in the USA. Most US butchers actually break picanha down into to other cuts like rump, round & loin. They sacrifice the highly prized fat cap in the process. Therefore, picanha can be hard to find in the USA.


3. What does it taste like?


The taste of picanha is that of sirloin. Tender and juicy with a lot of flavor. It holds very little fat inside the meat therefore you must cook it perfectly in order to not make it tough.



sliced piranha in hand


4. Do you eat the fat on the steak?


You can definitely eat the fat cap. Most Latin American countries keep the fat cap on for added flavor! For those that do not like to eat the fat, then you are welcome to cut it off and enjoy the meat.


5. How do you prepare it & cook it?


If you are using a whole picanha, then you first will sear the meat fat side down for 3-4 minutes. Once the fat is seared, you will then pull it off the grill & slice against the grain in order to make sirloin cuts (shown above). Place the sirloin cuts back on the grill and cook as you would normally cook a steak. Traditionally, you would cut the meat with the fat still on. You can try my grilled picanha, smoked picanha, or on the rotisserie.


6. Where can I buy this cut of meat in the United States?


I highly recommend finding a local butcher shop that does full animal break down in order to get this cut. These butchers should understand what you mean if you want to get sirloin cap with the fat cap still on!


7. Can you buy picanha online?


Yes, the guys at PorterRoad.com have fantastic picanha for sale and can ship to any location inside the 48 continuous states! You only have to make sure that it is in stock as if sells out quickly. Click here to see more.


In the end…


Picanha is such a delicious cut of beef that is enjoyed around the world. Try some of my recipes for it above and make sure to check out the rest of my blog where I answer fun fire cooking questions like how to cook on the coals or how to hang a chicken!


3 thoughts on “What is Picanha?”

  1. Avatar for Charles Hemstreet Charles Hemstreet says:

    It is difficult to find picanha here in the US. Thanks to you we will be eating churrasco this weekend! Muito obrigado!

    1. Avatar for Michele Martin Michele Martin says:

      You can usually find it at a WholeFoods or I’m lucky in my area of Boston to have this amazing small butcher M.F. Dulock that butchers on site (these days it feels like lots of “butcher shops” are really just repackaging cuts or breaking down certain sections and don’t often get the good bits and the more unique butcher cuts.) I just picked some up yesterday from Michael (Dulock) and I’m looking forward to grilling it today! I was on here trying to find a good chimichurri recipe as I forgot the exact ratios.

  2. Avatar for Monica Monica says:

    any latin or Brazilian market has it! Readily available in Florida.

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