Is Picanha Steak Expensive? [Is It Worth It?]

When choosing a steak, you may find yourself looking at what is on the shelves and freezers and become confused. When looking for a specific cut, like the picanha cut, you may even be shocked to see how much the price is when it is smaller than other cuts.

Picanha steak can be expensive if you get a piece with equal marbling and a reasonably even fat cap on the side. On average, picanha will be $12 per pound up to $50 per pound. However, depending on the quality and location, many people still see that as an inexpensive steak.  

is Picanha steak expensive

As with many steaks, it will depend entirely on your location and whether the steak has been well made. Unfortunately, you can often find that even a simple picanha steak can be double the price of a ribeye, which makes choosing the best possible picanha steak a challenge. 

What Is The Price Of Picanha?

On average, picanha steak should only be around $22 per pound, as the steak has a larger fat cap that will shrink dramatically during the cooking process.

However, this price is much higher in countries such as Japan, the UK, and even parts of the US. 

As picanha is closely associated with Brazil, the price of the meat and the style of its cooking differ significantly as you move from country to country. This has caused many to see picanha steaks as a luxury and ribeye and other more common steaks as regular steaks. 

You may even find that some countries do not know how to cut the picanha steaks, cutting off the piece of fat that is integral to the cooking process. This becomes known as a culotte steak and can be deceivingly expensive despite the lack of taste that the final cooked piece of meat will have. 

Is Picanha Steak Worth It?

If you have suitable cooking instruments, picanha steak can be well worth the price and the difficulty of cooking it. Traditionally in Brazil, it would be slow-roasted over a rotisserie-style grill, while many in the professional world of cooking prefer the oven and iron skillet. 

It allows you to make the picanha steak by cooking it in the oven and then pan-searing in the same pan on your stove. However, this delivers a significantly different taste than on an open flame or on the grill. 

This is why so many people struggle to make a great tasting picanha steak at home. 

Further, because the picanha steak has such a large fat cap, making it on a regular grill or weber can be challenging. The meat and fat do not respond well to high heat situations, becoming both tough and almost flavorless as the fat does not have the time to relax and absorb into the meat. 

Do You Eat The Fat On Picanha?

Yes, all parts of the picanha steak are edible. The fat on the picanha steak is the most essential part. 

Usually, you can cut the meat so that you are eating the fat along with the meat. This is the best way to get the taste of both, instead of just the taste of the fat. 

It should be noted that when you cook the picanha, it’s vital to cook the fat longer than the rest of the meat. This is why you may see people turning their meat onto the side to have the fat-faced towards the hottest part of the pan or fire. 

The cooking process can make the outer layer of the fat crispy while softening the inside, making it an excellent piece to eat even are usually averse to eating fat. Don’t worry; eating fat on beef is not unhealthy; it only becomes unhealthy after excessive eating. 

How Do You Choose Picanha Steak Cuts?

When choosing your picanha steak cut, we recommend going with the 2/3rds rule, which means that 2/3 of the steak should be meat. The remaining part of the steak is the fat cap, which will drastically shrink as you continue to cook or grill the picanha steak. 

If you have a piece that is less than this ration, with the fat cap being much less, the overall taste of the meat can be lower than expected. However, many people find that picanha that does not have any fat cap becomes almost tough to eat and can quickly be well done instead of just rare. 

Conversely, when the fat cap is too large, the meat can be hard to enjoy as the fat becomes completely overwhelming. While some fat mixed in with the meat can be tasty and add flavor, a piece that is almost purely fat can make you nauseous when eating. 

Why Does Picanha Steak Cost So Much?

Contrary to popular belief, there is only so much usable fat in any cow, so getting a piece of meat with a good balance is a challenge. With picanha requiring a large fat cap, it removes some of the fat that would be used with other cuts of meat. 

This means that making a sirloin steak or a lazy aged steak with smaller fat caps is not possible from the same pieces of meat. Also, the amount of meat you can get from a cow diminishes as you make more picanha steak; this raises the price depending on where you are.

In Brazil, where picanha is the main steak cut, the price is lower, whereas the price drastically increases as you move towards the US, UK, and Japan. 

This is because cutting other pieces of meat from the pieces left over is impossible after cutting a pichanha steak.

How Big Should A Picanha Steak Be?

A good picanha steak should be between six to fourteen ounces, depending on the appetite of those eating and anyone else present. Remember that picanha can be more filling because of the fat cap that it should always have. 

The fat makes you satiated much quicker than usual, allowing you to eat less of the steak and feel full at the end. Conversely, a steak with more meat may have you eat more initially and then feel bloated as your body processes the meat. 

Because of this, many people trying to be healthy also prefer picanha steak over an average ribeye steak. Eating less meat that is more flavorful and filling means that you won’t walk around for the next few days salivating because the meat you had did not taste as good. 

Final Word

Picanha steak can be one of the most expensive steaks you can find from your local butcher but will most often be in the middle of the steak prices. 

It’s best to practice cooking more affordable steak before moving up to the steak will require a lot more of your attention and time. 

Just remember that when it comes to fatty steaks, slow and steady wins the race! 

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