My latest BBQ obsession is Brazilian Churrasco (pronounced like SHOE-HASS-KO). I’ve always loved a good ol’ Brazilian BBQ, but churrasco restaurants are pretty limited here in Singapore and not to mention, pricey. So instead of eating out – I thought, why not just do it myself at home?
For this post, we’re using an Ultra Chef UC430 to grill Picanha (pronounce PI-KAN-YA) and cook Brazilian rice and beans.
What is Picanha, you might ask.
Picanha is actually the rump cap, and the most prized part of the cow in Brazil. A lot of restaurants will try to pass off the rest of the rump as Picanha – but know that Picanha is separated from the rest of the rump by a vein, and it is never heavier than 1.5kg (any bigger and you’re probably getting a “fake” and it will not be as tender or flavourful).
Buying meat in Singapore can be quite a blow to your wallet, which is why I like to get my meat from Australia (just because a lot of friends travel back and forth). There is a South American grocery store in Fitzroy Melbourne called Casa Iberica that sells the Picanha cut of the meat and it’s already sealed up, and easy to bring home.
However, if you don’t have any friends who are coming from Australia, the next cheapest place to get meat from is Zac Butchery. There are 2 outlets, one in Chun Tin & one in Figaro Street. I usually visit the Chun Tin outlet because I’m a Westie, and the butcher there prepared the rump cap for me. I am not sure if they will cut up a rump cap for you in other butchers, but Zac Butchery is quite flexible so I like ordering from them. Another suggestion is to perhaps visit your neighbourhood wet market and speak to the butcher there. You could ask them to order in the rump cap, and perhaps get a better price too. Just an idea of the price difference – in Melbourne, I paid about AUD30 for 1.5kg of Picanha, whereas I paid SGD27 for 400grams of Picanha here (although, the Picanha I got from here was a Wagyu, so it was a bit more premium but I don’t mind paying a little more because you can really taste the difference).
Preparing the picanha is simple. Slice up the chunk of meat into 1 inch thick slices.
All you will need is coarse sea salt. Grab a plate and spread a layer of the salt on it, and just flip the meat on top of it so it collects the salt. When that’s done, place the meat on top on the already lit grill and sprinkle a little bit more salt on the top. Brazilian restaurants here cut down on the salt they cook with to meet Singaporean tastes, but it’s usually a lot saltier in Brazil. Don’t be surprised if you get lots of salt popping, especially if you’re using a charcoal grill. Also expect a few flare ups from the oil. Close the hood, grill until preferred done-ness (not forgetting to flip it), and take off the grill to rest the meat.
Usually, the meat isn’t consumed as a whole steak – it is cut up into slices and served with Brazilian Rice, black beans and Farofa (seasoned casava flour). Farofa can’t be found here, so I order it from Amazon and have it shipped via 65Daigou or VPOST. I usually order some Guarana Antartica (Guarana flavoured soda) at the same time. But these are all little luxuries I splurge on.
I cook the Brazilian Rice and Black Beans on the side burner of the UC430 (for those of you wondering what the side burner is for, it usually turns the BBQ into an outdoor kitchen so you don’t have to go in and out of your home a million times). “Brazilian Rice” isn’t necessarily rice that’s made in Brazil, rather, it is a way to cook the rice. I use Jasmine rice in this instance, and the rice is first sauteed in oil and garlic paste/minced garlic and salt, before water is added into the pot. Use a larger pot, as a smaller pot can cause the rice to be mushy. As for the black beans, I usually make a whole batch in the pressure cooker – storing half in the freezer and cooking the rest (also with garlic and salt and oil).
The final dish looks like this:
And Farofa comes in this packet: