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Celebrate Christmas: South American style

Peek Concepts - your one-stop shop for cooking thermometers in Hong Kong.

BBQ Picanha

This year, give your family a taste of South American beef by following our tried and tested recipe, 7 steps to the ultimate steak on the picanha - a cut of beef that has only recently become available in Hong Kong. We've detailed how to prepare, cook and serve it. All complimented with photographs so you can recreate it this holiday season, stress free.

The picanha or the rump cap is the most prized cut of meat in Brazil and a hidden gem of South America. It’s extremely tender with a thick layer of fat - encapsulating the meat with a stupendous amount of juice and succulent beefy flavour. What's more, it is perfectly sized for sharing with your family. Try it on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day or even Christmas Day.


A decade ago, we used to source this cut based on the advice of a good Brazilian friend. We had been dying to get our hands on some since developing our Ultimate Steak Recipe. So, without any more whittering and chat, here is our visual guide on how to recreate this delicious meal in your own home…

Dry the meat, generously apply your favourite rub and leave it in the fridge for 24 hours. Don't be shy, see how thick we apply it in the picture below. Our favourite rub and the science behind why we apply it so far in advance can be found by clicking here.
      Smoke your picanha for 15 minutes. We opted for hickory – a stronger wood - to try to create that authentic South American “asado” taste albeit using a gas barbeque. The higher temperature from smoking also kills all the bacteria on the surface of the meat. Although the picanha is not well marbled, it has a thick fat cap which melts into the meat as it cooks. The thick fat means the meat can take the stronger infusion.

        Smoking the picanha

          Slow cook until it reaches your preferred internal temperature. We like it around 125°F. On this occasion, it took just over 4 ½ hours. You need a cooking thermometer to be able to consistently cook meat to your liking because every oven, barbeque and cut of meat is different. All our cooking thermometers come with a internal temperature guide. Our trusty ChefAlarm alerted us exactly when the meat was ready with its loud alarm.

          This recipe can also be done in the oven. Just make sure you put it in at over 170°F for at least 15 minutes to kill all the surface bacteria before turning it down. The ChefAlarm has a 1.5 meter steel cable that is designed to fit through the seal of your oven.

            ChefAlarm monitoring the picanha

            Take the picanha off the heat and set your barbeque or oven for maximum heat. Sear the meat on the outside, turning every 15 seconds until attaining a deeply, dark crust formation. Around 3 minutes on this occasion.

              Rest on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.

                Resting the picanha

                  Carve and enjoy!! It was absolutely delicious paired with a bottle (or two!!!!) of Pulenta Estate Grand Malbec 2012 from Mendoza, Argentina. This is available from Berry Bros and Rudd for HKD225 per bottle. The meat also tastes lovely with some Chimichurri green sauce!

                    Carving the picanha

                    Notice how far to the edge the pink meat goes - you very rarely find this at restaurants because it can only be achieved with slow cooking or by sous vide. This is the perfect cut for children due to its tenderness and rich flavour. Leftovers make an excellent school lunchbox option but we doubt there will be any left!

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                    Ang Mo is a Director of Peek Concepts.

                    Peek Concepts brings hard to find monitoring, measuring and safety products direct to your home at affordable prices. Shop from the comfort of your home whilst experiencing the level of customer service available from traditional retail outlets.

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