What’s cooking today: Twice-cooked picanha steaks
You know you’ve done something right when the dinner table is rocked with oohs, aahs, and other exclamations of intense pleasure to the point of blushing. With all the humility I can muster, I think this might be the best steak I’ve ever cooked. yes, even better than that upside down seared steak you all liked it very much. Looks like I’m on a steak roll, so to speak. (This is from a cook with a long history of messing up steak, so I greatly appreciate that.) Better I write it for you then…
Picanha is the tail of the rump (which of course is the tail of the beast), but a rump can have up to five distinct muscles while the picanha is only one. This gives even cooking and tenderness.
A picanha is best cooked whole, first, then cut into steaks and grilled again. For the first time, I marinated a picanha for 36 hours. Hooboy, it was so good.
A key factor is that you need to mark the big ceiling. And whatever you do, don’t cut the fat, because picanha is all about that big shot. Cooked to perfection, the crispy fat is the most delicious part of the cut.
For more citrus flavor, I included yuzu paste in the marinade, which also gives it a little bite, just like the mustard. Yuzu is made from the zest of the yuzu fruit mixed with chilli and sea salt.
8 large garlic cloves, minced
½ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of yuzu paste
1 tablespoon mustard powder
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
Using a sharp knife, cut the fat into a diamond shape without piercing the meat.
Combine olive oil and lemon juice and stir in yuzu paste, mustard powder, garlic, oregano and black peppercorns. It’s an unusual mix and there’s a lot of garlic in it, but trust me, it’s really delicious.
Marinate the picanha in this mixture for 24 hours or more, mine lasted 36 hours and more.
First, braai the whole picanha over very hot coals, turning it frequently, until you have a nice crispy, golden exterior.
Remove the whole picanha to a board and cut into thick steaks: photo reference.
Now put those steaks back on the braai and quickly cook them on both sides over high heat. Ideally, leave them pink in the middle. About 2 minutes on each side should be enough, but it depends on the strength of the heat underneath. More heat is better for this cut of meat.
Serve it and sit back and be overwhelmed by what you eat and the expressions and sounds of the delighted carnivores at the table. Bibs can be helpful. DM/TGIFood
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