Churasco - Latin BBQ
Picanha with Avocado Salad and Chili Sauce
While Picanha, the sirloin cap, in South America is classically grilled on a skewer over an open flame, Otto’s way is to refrain from any fancy frills and stick with the basics. He simply fires up the burners of his O.F.B. and grills his Picanha recipe without skewers, without the fire and 8 simple steps. Simply cut the sirloin cap into steaks and off you go to your O.F.B. Make sure to ask your butcher for the sirloin cap with a nice fat layer on the cut. This will protect the meat while grilling and keeps the cut nice and juicy. And the taste – there’s no match for a hunk of grilled sirloin cap with a nice fat layer.
Serves 4 people
- 1 sirloin cap
- 4 corn on the cobs
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cucumber
- 2 large tomatoes
- Sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp mustard
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley
- 3 Tbsp raspberry balsamic with pulp
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tomato
- 1 chili pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 4 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp curry paste
- 1 pinch of sugar
- Salt and pepper
Meat Knowledge: Picanha is a Sirloin Cap
Picanha, as it is called in South America, is the sirloin cap. This is the triangular tip of the hip sitting on the top of a thick layer of fat. In most cuisine, however, this fat layer is usually removed and the sirloin cap is divided into separate cuts called loin, rump and round. This special and juicy section is very suitable for cooking on the grill because this section of the meat has particularly tasty flavors. Well-loved in South America is the grilled Picanha, and it is considered an absolute grill classic. Known in Brazil as Picanha, the sirloin cap in Argentina is also known as Tapa de Cuadril. Typically, Picanha is grilled with the fat layer over an open flame. This special type of preparation is called Churrasco: thick steaks are grilled on skewers over an open fire. The fat layer of the section remains as a heat shield on the meat and makes it particularly juicy, providing an intense flavor.
Cut fat-covered steaks and remove silver skin
For this Picanha recipe, it is particularly important that you keep the fat layer on the sirloin cap steaks. So, make sure to ask your butcher to leave it on since usually it is removed from this cut. First, take your sirloin cap and cut steaks, with the fat layer intact, into a diamond shape. After that, turn the meat and remove the silver skin very carefully.
The silver skin is a very tough part of the meat that should always be removed before grilling.
Cutting the steaks
Now, cut the sirloin cap into 3 – 4 equal sized steaks. Make sure that you cut against the meat fiber (or against the grain) so that the meat stays nice and tender. Afterwards, cover the sirloin cap steaks and let them come to room temperature outside of the fridge.
Preparing the chili dip
In the meantime, you can prepare the chili dip. Chop up the garlic and chili peppers. Then, mix them with the lime juice, ketchup and dry ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
Preparing the avocado salad
For the avocado salad, first roast the pine nuts in a pan until they have a golden-brown color. Meanwhile, cut the cucumber, tomatoes and avocado into bite-sized pieces and chop the fresh parsley. Caution: You should keep an eye on the pine nuts as they quickly turn to dark.
Next, put the lettuce on a plate or in a bowl. Add the cucumber, avocado and tomato. Sprinkle the arugula leaves, roasted pine nuts, sesame seeds and chopped parsley on top. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in the fridge to keep cool.
Preparing the salad dressing
Next, prepare the salad dressing. In a jar, mix together the raspberry balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Set the jar in the fridge until ready to dress the salad.
Heat the O.F.B.
Now you can heat the O.F.B. for about 3 minutes. Make sure to remove the grill grate first so that it does not get hot and precook your steaks from the bottom.
Now, place the steaks on the cold grill grate. The fat layer should point upwards. Grill the Picanha for 2-3 minutes from both sides until a nice crust has formed on the outside. Then, let the meat rest for about 5 minutes in the oven while off until the desired core temperature is reached.
Grilling corn on the cob
While your steaks are resting, prepare the grilled corn on the cob. Put the cobs on the grill and place the Meat-o-Meter to level 3, i.e. in the middle. Now, grill them for about 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Once the corn has turned evenly brown from each side, take them out.
Cut the meat and serve with the salad
Now, take your steaks and cut them up against the fiber. Then, you can take out your salad and dress it with the chili dressing. Add this alongside your Picanha and corn on the cob with chili dip.