Picanha vs. Ribeye: Everything You Need to Know

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Picanha and ribeye both enjoy popularity in the world of cuts of beef for the incredibly tender, juicy, and flavorful steaks that they give us.

Picanha is best known as a great option for charcoal grilling – whether it’s as a whole sliced up later or skewered to become more appealing. Despite being a big portion, it is even a relatively cheaper cut!

Ribeye is also very well known for being an excellent steak option, but not just for grilling, even boiling, and pan-frying.

Chances are that you found us looking to decide which one wins in picanha vs. ribeye discussions – and you have landed at the right place!

Picanha
Raw Picanha
Ribeye
Raw Ribeye
> Contains fat around the triangular shape> Contains fat as white marbled lines in the cut
> Fat contributes to the flavor, yet is still removed by some butchers> Fat is well known to flavor the steak, so is not removed by butchers
> Comes from the animal’s rump area, hence referred to as the rump cap commonly> Comes from the animal’s rib area, usually called the shoulder
> Best cooked at a low temperature> Best cooked at a high temperature
> Lesser-known> Very commonly known and available

Differences Between Picanha and Ribeye

A very basic difference between picanha and ribeye cut of beef lies in its tenderness. Although both cuts of beef are highly tender, juicy, and flavorful, they are not completely identical.

Ribeye is popular for how tender it is as a whole piece of meat. Picanha is also tender, considering that it is one of the least used muscles in the animal.

However, it is also true that the tenderness of picanha ranges from portion to portion of the cut. The wider parts are comparatively tougher in the triangular shape that it comes in, leaving the tips the most sought-after section.

What is Picanha?

If you’ve never heard of ‘Picanha’, we’re sure that you’ve come across the terms rump cap, rump cover, top sirloin cap, or culotte.

This is because this cut of beef was originally introduced in Brazil, and hence the original term is adopted more in Brazil than elsewhere.

This cut of beef is taken from the rump cap muscle. It takes the shape of a triangle and is surrounded by a layer of fat on all sides, referred to as the fat cap.

The next time you need to get yourself a nice piece of meat perfect for steaks, picanha is a good choice on the table!

Where to Get Picanha?

Most butchers in the US would look at you with complete confusion if you ask them to cut you a picanha.

So, to find this cut of beef at your local butcher’s shop, you will need to specify what you are referring to. Most of them will understand it better when you call it a rump cap, or any other commonly used name.

Our Pick

Picanha Meat

Picanha – Snake River Farms

We highly recommend that you get your picanha from Snake River Farms, because trust us, they know what they’re delivering.

How to Cook Picanha?

The picanha is most suited to grilling. You can prepare your steak with minimal effort, yet get the richest results.

This cut of beef is tender and hence needs no special marination. All you need is to decide what you want its flavor to be and choose your salts accordingly.

This would help heat spread evenly on your steak and help bring out the great, distinguished flavor of your culotte steak.

You might observe yourself needing to grill your picanha longer than usual due to the fat layer, however, we still prefer that you don’t cut off the fat layer, this is what gives it the flavor!

However, most butchers end up removing it without any specific instructions when you ask for this cut of beef. Hence, make sure you’ve asked your butcher to leave that fat cap alone.

To help you understand the grilling time better, remember that it usually takes between 9 to 14 minutes for it to be medium-rare.

You can grill your picanha any way you want, but we recommend that you do it on a charcoal grill, because this helps give it a richer flavor. Just make sure all your coals are evenly spread so that they don’t mess with the heat distribution!

You can also skewer your picanha if you would prefer that, just don’t forget to cut your beef against the grain.

What is Ribeye?

The ribeye is again a cut of beef suitable for steaks. It comes from the rib section but is boneless.

The ribeye is one of the most popular cuts of beef for it gives the juiciest steaks, rich in flavor.

Although ribeye is a term rather commonly used in the US, you might still want to remember its counter terms such as a boneless prime rib, sarket, beauty, and Spencer steaks, just in case your butcher is unaware of ribeye.

This cut comes from the very center of the rib portion, known as the shoulder at times. It is perfectly marbled with fat lines, making it the tenderest of all portions to exist, and so the juiciest of all steaks to exist.

Where to Get Ribeye?

Most local butchers would know exactly what you are talking about when you refer to the ribeye cut of beef.

Still, in case your butcher is not familiar with the term you are using, you can always use a more common name.

How to Cook Ribeye?

Ribeye is popular for all the fat that it carries as marbled white lines, giving it the tastiest and richest flavor, and making it good for grilling.

However, ribeye is not only a great option for grilling but also simply boiling or pan-frying. We assure you, you can adopt any of these cooking methods and the steak will still be the tastiest one you have had.

We recommend that you prepare a medium-rare steak with the ribeye cut of beef, as this allows the fat lines to do their magic in making your steak the juiciest and tenderest treats of all.

Usually, it takes about 9 to 15 minutes to cook this cut at a high temperature, as long as you are making sure that the heat is spread evenly on each part. With this cut in your kitchen, you need no complex seasonings to remember, and you don’t

Wrapping it Up

To conclude easily, both picanha and ribeye can be the tenderest, juiciest, and most flavorful steaks, as long as you buy the right cut.

Happy cooking!

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TYLER LACHANCE

Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.