Picaña

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cmwoody

Newbie
Original poster
Dec 13, 2023
10
30
Thought I'd share my very traditional south of the border picaña grilling method I picked up while I lived down there.

You're going to need a skewer.

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I cut a diamond pattern in the fat to help it render. This isn't typical. Salt, dry brine, spear and indirect with a chunk of wood in the Weber until it gets up to 120 degree-ish.

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Let it sit a while while the grill goes up to searing temperature. ...eat sausages... Typical reverse sear sort of thing, with a twist. Sear, trim, re-sear, trim, re-sear, and repeat. The char makes it good.

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Ideally the fat renders into a little knobby tire of chicherrones. Tricky because you want it to get crispy but not burn. Needs constant monitoring.

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I usually use wet brine on most of my cooks. I'm curious to learn what you use for your dry brine?
 
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Brings back fond memories of my time living in Brazil. Some of the best meals to be had. Of course that was 60 years ago. The people were very friendly. It's pretty dangerous down there these days, but back then you could go anywhere and not worry. A couple times a year we get a whole Picanha and do the skewer thing, with home made Refogado and of course, some Caipirinhas!
 
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and of course, some Caipirinhas!
I discovered those on a visit to Rio decades ago. So, so good. It probably helped that with the exchange rate at the time, they cost about a quarter.

I've been trying to replicate them ever since, but have never gotten them quite right. I can find cachaca, but I understand the limes we have here aren't quite the same as those commonly used in South America
 
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I discovered those on a visit to Rio decades ago. So, so good. It probably helped that with the exchange rate at the time, they cost about a quarter.

I've been trying to replicate them ever since, but have never gotten them quite right. I can find cachaca, but I understand the limes we have here aren't quite the same as those commonly used in South America

IMHO, it is the limes. Thick skinned Persian limes are just too acidic and lack that mellow lime sweetness that it's thin skinned, quickly drying out and going bad cousins have. You can pick up a bag of Key Limes and that'll get you close but it still wont quite nail it. I will do a blend of a little bit of Key lime, orange and grapefruit fresh squeezed for caipirinhas and margaritas. Sometimes at the Mexican grocery stores you can find the right limes. Yeah, I'm really picky!
 
If you left me along I would run away with that screwer and not return…..lol. Looks tasty!
 
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IMHO, it is the limes. Thick skinned Persian limes are just too acidic and lack that mellow lime sweetness that it's thin skinned, quickly drying out and going bad cousins have. You can pick up a bag of Key Limes and that'll get you close but it still wont quite nail it. I will do a blend of a little bit of Key lime, orange and grapefruit fresh squeezed for caipirinhas and margaritas. Sometimes at the Mexican grocery stores you can find the right limes. Yeah, I'm really picky!
Yeah it's the limes. Brazil has some spectacular fruit with superb sweetness including pineapple which IMO is far better than those from Hawaii. Keylimes get you close.
 
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This thread, and the pictures, inspired me! I had a picanha steak coming from Porter Road, part of an order using a gift certificate I'd won on a Throwdown here, and I had planned to cook it in the style of the Brazilian steakhouses.
I trimmed the fat cap to about 3/8", then scored it as C cmwoody had done. I seasoned generously with kosher salt, and let it sit for about 90 minutes. Then, lacking a proper skewer, I threaded it onto two shish kebab skewers, about an inch apart. I cooked it over an open flame, got a nice sear on both sides in about 6 minutes/side, then I sliced 1/4" off each side and put the remaining steak back on to sear again...since as noted, it's all about the sear. We ended up with the two 1/4" slices, and the center portion, about 3/4" thick. I served it with chimichurri I'd made an hour before, to let the flavors blend, and it was glorious! Tremendous beef flavor, due to some combination of the cut, the cook, and Porter Road's fine product.

Side were shrimp cocktail, grilled garlic toast, and greens prepared following this recipe.
https://braziliankitchenabroad.com/brazilian-style-collard-greens/
Being in the north, I couldn't find collard greens so I used fresh baby leaf spinach instead, and it turned out great.

No caipirinhas this time, this was a belated valentine's dinner, so we enjoyed a bottle of champagne.

And in the rush to get everything done and on the table at the same time, I took no pictures. I know, I know...I'll go put myself on time out now to reflect on my omission.
 
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