Rump cap

Rump cap


South American Grill
Bonnie Savage

Picanha is considered the best cut of beef in Brazil. It is the rump cap, which has a thick layer of fat covering the meat — this slowly melts (or renders down) when cooked slowly over indirect heat, adding flavour to the meat and keeping it moist and tender. Traditionally, the rump cap is sliced into thick steaks, threaded onto sword-like skewers and cooked on a rotisserie. If you can’t find the right kind of skewers (these can be purchased online) you can cook the steaks individually on a barbecue chargrill.

Picanha is not a common cut, so you’ll need to ask your butcher to specially cut the rump cap for you. You may still have to buy the other parts of the rump too, but these can be frozen and used another day.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg whole picanha
1 large brazilian-style metal skewer
rock salt, for seasoning
vegetable oil, for greasing
Brazilian toasted manioc flour with egg, bacon and onion, to serve
Vinagrete, to serve


  1. Preheat a barbecue chargrill to medium–high. Alternatively, preheat a gas barbecue fitted with a rotisserie to 200ºC and set the burners to medium, keeping the lid closed.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice the picanha into 4 cm thick steaks. You should get approximately four steaks.
  3. To thread the steaks onto the churrasco sword or rotisserie attachment (if using), insert the skewer through the fat at one end of the steak and back up through the fat at the other end, curving the fat to form a ‘C’ shape. Continue threading the remaining steaks onto the same skewer or rod. Season the meat generously with rock salt on both sides.
  4. If using a rotisserie, secure the spit according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Turn off the two middle burners and place a drip tray filled with 1 cm water underneath the meat. Cook for 15–20 minutes for medium, or until cooked to your liking. Wearing barbecue mitts, carefully remove the rotisserie rod.
  5. Alternatively, lightly brush the chargrill plate with vegetable oil. Grill the meat for 6–8 minutes on each side for medium–rare, or until cooked to your liking.
  6. To serve, brush off any excess salt and use a sharp knife to thinly slice the meat directly onto serving plates, allowing the juices to be caught underneath. Return the picanha to the chargrill to re-sear the outside if desired. Serve with farofa and vinagrete on the side.


  • Picanha can be threaded in advance and refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature before grilling. Do not season with rock salt until you are ready to grill.
South American Grill
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