The picanha, or rump cap, has to be the KING of all beef cuts. It’s most prized in Brazilian churrasco bbq’s, where they salt it very liberally and cook over a proper charcoal grill.
I love it for two reasons – firstly because it has a generous thick layer of good soft (not chewy or sinewy) fat over the top. Not only does this keep the cut moist, but the fat adds an incredible amount of flavour as it melts over the meat. And because I’m a fat lover, I just adore eating the fatty part itself, it literally melts on your mouth like butter.
The meatier part of the beef is actually very lean, so it benefits from not over cooking, keep it medium rare. It also benefits from resting, to let the met relax and wait for the juices to redistribute.
This cut of meat sits on the top of the rump, so it’s often called the rump cap. As it’s not a traditional Australian cut, you might need to special order it from your local butcher. I buy mine from Harris Farm in Sydney, or you can try A&S select meats in Mascot – they specialise in South American cuts of meat (their fresh chorizo, morcilla black pudding and beef short ribs are also amazing). Look out for MSA accreditation on your beef to get the best quality.
Beef picanha tacos with green chimichurri and avocado
For the picanha:
- 1 Beef rump cap (about 1.7kg) aka picanha
- 2 Tbsp salt (non-iodised)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
for the green chimichurri:
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 bunch coriander
- 3 Tbsp dried oregano flakes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 ea French shalllots (small purple onions)
- 200ml extra virgin olive oil
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 3 tsp paprika powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp all spice powder
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 30 white corn taco tortillas
- 4 avocados
- green salad, on the side
- Preheat oven to 200C. Remove picanha from fridge 1 hour before you’re ready to start cooking.
- Rub picanha with olive oil and salt. Put a non stock fry pan on high heat and sear the picanha so it’s well caramelised on all sides, especially the top with the fat on it (this could take up to 10 minutes). Transfer to a baking tray, fat side up, and roast for 40 minutes. Remove, cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.
- For the green chimichurri, simply place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
- To serve, slice picanha into 0.5cm thick slices, against the grain. Warm the tortillas by wrapping in moistened paper towel and microwaving for 30 seconds (just do as many as you need for each round of tacos, so they don’t go cold). Serve with avocado and a side salad.