Picanha, or cow butt as my kids call it, is a favourite in our backyard. It’s also known as top sirloin cap or rump cover. We always prepare the picanha in 2 ways. Whole with a reversed sear or cut like steaks and then grilled with a lot of salt and pepper.
But last summer we had a few loin steaks marinated in red wine, and we liked it very much. We tried that with a nice picanha.
Our favourite butcher had a beautiful picanha with a thick fat cover. In our opinion, that is necessary for a good picanha. The fat contains the most flavour and also becomes nicely soft during preparation.
If you want, you can cut that fat off when it is on your plate, but you would do better to eat it together with the meat. You can also see that this is good quality meat due to the amount of intramuscular fat in the meat. Those are the thin white lines that you see running. The more you see, the better it is.
We marinate in a ziplock bag. You put in the meat and the marinade, and then you squeeze out as much air as possible before closing it. This way, you need very little marinade. Don’t use your most expensive wine for your marinade. It may even be slightly sour wine.
After marinating, we thread the steaks on skewers. It is better to take 2 or 3 shorter skewers than to throw all the meat on 1 skewer. It is better to move the skewers on the grates to get an equal cooking level while grilling.
We are going to grill over high heat, so we remove the ashes from the Kamado Joe. You don’t have to clean your kamado from the inside, but that is very easy with the unique ashtray. That’s one of the tricks of a Kamado Joe.
When we barbecue low and slow, we don’t always empty the ashtray. This way, we limit the oxygen input, and you can control the temperature even more finely.
We are going to grill the picanha steaks with some tomatoes, an onion and a chili pepper. You can do that all at once because you have plenty of space. The onion and pepper can get soft and dark. We want the tomato to get only warm. If you let it go too far, the skin will tear, and the entire content will lie between the coals. That cannot be the intention.
While grilling, move and turn the picanha all the time over the grates. This will cook the meat evenly and prevent flare-ups that burn it. If the flames get too high, the vegetables and meat swap places and you continue. This is why we love grilling.
When the picanha is done, let the meat rest and make the sauce. The vegetables have become nice and soft and can be put in a blender. If you cut the red pepper in half, you can easily scrape out the seeds. Leave them in for a hotter sauce.
After the blender, we cook the sauce in a skillet. The flavours mix better, and the sauce thickens. Finnish it with a handful of parsley.
This is what you did it all for. We all get that primaeval feeling from this. Good meat, grilled to perfection with a great sauce that completes the meat. Open a cold beer, and the party is complete.
- 1.2 kilos of picanha
- Coarse salt
For the marinade
- 250 ml of red wine
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic. Pressed.
For the sauce
- 1 red onion
- 5 vine tomatoes
- 1 red pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp smoked paprika powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
- Cut the picanha into steaks at least 3 cm thick with the grain.
- Make a marinade of the wine, Worcestershire sauce and garlic and marinate the steaks in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours.
- Grill the onion, tomato and red pepper until soft. Grill the picanha to a core temperature of 55°C (131F). Turn and frequently move to ensure even cooking and to avoid flare-ups.
- When the meat has reached the desired core temperature, sprinkle on coarse salt and let it rest.
- Chop the tomato, onion and red pepper and put them in a blender.
- Put a skillet on the fire and pour in a little olive oil. Pour the content from blender in the skillet and bring it to a boil. Add the vinegar, paprika powder and sugar and stir well. Season with a little salt.
- Serve the meat with the sauce.