Forth of July is all about celebrating our beautiful country and what is more American than a pool party and good all BBQ. In our house we give it a twist with a meat recipe inspired by the great Latin American traditions of asado in Argentina and churrasco in Brazil.
Maybe the secret is our Argentinian grill or the Brazilian cut of meat we use: Picanha (Picaña in Spanish). The bottom line is that no guest leaves our house without complementing chef Carlos.
Picanha is a cut of beef that is little known in the USA. Sometimes it is called sirloin cap (rump cap in the United Kingdom), but also referred to as rump cover or culotte. Is a very round beef and for that reason you have to slow roast it. The best way to find it is to visit a Latin meat market. In our neighborhood, Doral, we have Meat Town and also Meat Club. In Coral Gables there is Graziano’s and you can also visit Martinez Distributors near the Palmetto. We prefer the cuts of meat from the USA, they also have an Australian version that has a different taste. There are several grades of Picanha you can buy, but between the Prime and the Choice we prefer the Prime, it costs more but is also more tender.
The way you cook it is also very important. Charcoal is better than gas, wood charcoal is better than briquettes. And if you have an Argentinian parrilla (a grill that has v shape grates that collect the juices from the meat and prevents them from falling and igniting the flames) bingo! If not simply pay attention to the flames and extinguish them soon without putting out the charcoals.
You can rub your Picanha with mashed garlic and fresh cracked pepper if you want but do not put salt, repeat DO NOT PUT SALT, as this makes it dry and is better if you use at the end when is done and after you have cut it. Very important: Picanha has a thick fat cover on one side, do not remove it and put your Picanha on the grill fat side down. When you see that the fat has burned away turn it and grill the other side. If you like it medium or pink remove from the grill when a meat thermometer inserted in the center reaches 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it rest for a while so it does not loose all the juices and then cut it and salt it with coarse sea salt. Eat it while is hot. Enjoy. And Happy 4th of July!