The picanha is the queen of barbecues and one of the most popular dishes in Brazilian cuisine, and it is not for nothing: if well prepared, it is delicious. Many people underestimate how important a good cut is for the appreciation of the meat they consume, since we usually buy meat already cut on the market.
However, when it comes to barbecue, things are different. Nothing is better than a meat cut and freshly prepared by the host, and it is in the cut that the good barbecues are separated from the excellent ones. So today we are going to learn how to cut picanha into strips, and how to prepare it for the skewer too!
Finding the rump on the rump
The picanha, as well as the maminha, the butcher steak, the baby beef and the heart of the rump; make up the famous “complete rump”, which is a larger piece of meat that can be purchased at any butcher shop.
The full rump, however, is usually avoided by those who are less experienced, mainly because it seems too complex to separate and prepare. This, however, is not true. The meat comes with everything ready for separation, since each piece is naturally separated from the others. The maminha, for example, is always the surplus piece of meat.
And here comes the question: how to cut rump from the rump? Well, it is very easy to identify, since it is trapped in the rest of the rump by a fat membrane. Just cut the fat with a good knife to separate completely.
Taking the stump out of the picanha
One of the big setbacks that less experienced butchers end up having when learning how to cut picanha, is to differentiate it from the stiff leg. This happens because they are next to each other at the rear of the ox, usually together even on the rump.
Even if you bought the whole rump, it may be that some piece of hard pad remains stuck in the steak. And even if you bought the steak already separated, there is a chance that you will have a little bit of hardness on it.
Therefore, those who have less experience end up taking more hard meat than steak for the barbecue. But don’t worry, there are three simple ways to find their separation:
- Count the veins: when you take the meat of the picanha, at the top of it you can find the animal’s veins. Count 3 veins, and in the third, you found the end of the picanha and the beginning of the hard leg.
- Find the “morro”: the picanha is a flat meat. This means that it has no bumps or elevations. When you find a difference in height in the meat, you can be sure that this is where your steak ends.
- Fiber density: if you have already made the cut, notice that the fiber of the hard pad is more open while the fiber of the hard pad is tighter. This method is good to check if your cut was accurate, or if you need to cut a little more.
And the ideal weight?
Many people who want to learn how to cut picanha, have heard that the ideal picanha has to have a specific weight. However, these statements do not always match the real weight when the steak is found. This happens because, like all meat, the size of the picanha varies according to the animal from which it came.
Thanks to the different types and lines of ox that we have in Brazil today, the picanhas vary from 700 grams and can reach up to 2 kg. This happens because the diet and the way of raising the animals also directly impact the size and quality of the piece.
How to cut steak in strips
The simplest way to cut picanha is in more elongated strips, always cutting from the fat. After that, season to taste to have strips of meat ready to be prepared the way you prefer. It is also interesting to remove the tip of the steak, and use it as part of the appetizer.
If you prefer, you can also seal the picanha before making the cut and even before seasoning! To do this, take the entire piece of the picanha and grill the fat first until it begins to drip. After that, grill the meat part to finish sealing. After that, wait for three minutes and cut into strips, then season and then grill for real!
How to cut picanha for skewers
Another very popular way to prepare your steak is for the barbecue skewers. To do this, first cut the picanha into thinner strips, one finger more or less, and
then cut the strips into cubes. Then, just assemble your skewer, alternating between pieces of meat and other fillings you want.
What’s up? Want to learn more ways to cut the picanha?
Now that you have learned how to cut steak, you can venture out a little with other types of cuts! The half-moon steak, also known as ball steak, is a more “full-bodied” cut, while the cut in slices is a “vertical” cut of the steak, being almost the opposite of the cut in strips. Just click on the names of the cuts to see videos that show these cuts in practice! And if you have more cutting tips, you can leave them in the comments!