July 13, 2024

How to Cut Picanha Steaks

how to slice picanha

Picanha, also known as the top sirloin cap or rump cap, is a prized cut of beef, especially in Brazilian cuisine. Known for its rich flavor and tender texture, picanha is often the star of many barbecues. To fully appreciate this cut, it’s essential to know the proper way to cut it. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about slicing and preparing picanha steaks.

How to Slice Picanha

Slicing picanha correctly is crucial to maximizing its tenderness and flavor. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Select the Right Picanha: Choose a picanha with a good layer of fat. The fat cap should be about 1-1.5 cm thick. The meat should be deep red, indicating freshness and quality.
  2. Trim the Fat (Optional): Some people prefer to trim the fat cap slightly, but this is not necessary as the fat adds flavor and keeps the meat juicy during cooking. If you choose to trim, make sure to leave at least 1 cm of fat.
  3. Identify the Grain: The grain of the meat refers to the direction in which the muscle fibers run. It’s important to cut against the grain to ensure the meat remains tender.
  4. Cutting into Steaks: Lay the picanha fat-side down on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut the picanha into 1-inch thick steaks. Each slice should run perpendicular to the grain. This means you should cut from one side of the picanha to the other, rather than lengthwise.
  5. Perfecting the Slices: Ensure each slice has a portion of the fat cap. This will help to keep each steak moist and flavorful as it cooks.
How to Cut Picanha Steaks

How to Cut a Picanha

Cutting a picanha is a simple process, but it requires attention to detail. Follow these tips for perfect results:

  1. Preparation: Place the picanha on a stable cutting board. Make sure your knife is sharp to make clean, precise cuts.
  2. Positioning the Meat: Position the picanha so that the fat cap is facing down. This makes it easier to see the grain and cut accordingly.
  3. Making the Cuts: Begin at one end of the picanha and cut straight down, making each slice about 1 inch thick. Continue this process until the entire picanha is sliced into steaks.
  4. Consistency: Keep your slices consistent in thickness. This ensures even cooking, whether you are grilling, pan-frying, or broiling the steaks.

Cutting Picanha

Cutting picanha involves understanding the anatomy of the cut and ensuring each steak is prepared to enhance its natural flavors. Here’s a deeper dive into the cutting process:

  1. Examine the Picanha: Look at the picanha to determine the direction of the grain. This is crucial for making the right cuts.
  2. Prepare the Knife: Use a long, sharp knife. A dull knife can tear the meat and create uneven slices.
  3. Slicing the Meat: Start by making a shallow cut to outline where you will slice. Then, make deeper cuts to fully slice through the meat. This method ensures each cut is precise and clean.
  4. Final Touches: Once the steaks are cut, you can season them with salt and pepper or your favorite marinade. The fat cap should remain intact to provide flavor during cooking.

Slicing Picanha

Slicing picanha correctly brings out its best qualities. Here’s a practical guide:

  1. Initial Cut: Begin by making an initial cut across the width of the picanha to identify the grain. This is typically the shortest side of the meat.
  2. Cutting Steaks: Continue to slice across the grain, making each steak about 1 inch thick. Cutting against the grain shortens the muscle fibers, making the meat more tender.
  3. Handling the Fat Cap: Ensure each steak has an equal portion of the fat cap. This not only adds flavor but also helps in cooking the meat evenly.
  4. Preparing for Cooking: Once sliced, you can immediately season and cook the steaks, or refrigerate them for later use. Picanha steaks are best cooked to medium-rare to maintain their juiciness and flavor.


Properly cutting picanha steaks ensures you get the most out of this delicious cut of beef. By understanding how to slice, cut, and prepare picanha, you can enjoy tender, flavorful steaks every time. Whether you’re grilling for a barbecue or cooking indoors, following these steps will help you master the art of preparing picanha.

Enjoy your perfectly sliced picanha steaks with your favorite sides, and savor the rich flavors that this premium cut has to offer!