Pronounced pecan+ya. (Please keep in mind it is pronounced with a Texas “pecan”, not a Georgia “pee-can.”) The term picanha derives from the Portuguese word for the cattle prod “picana”. This triangle shaped cut is located at the top of the cow's butt which, just happens to be the most effective area to land your cattle prod to give a cow the motivation it needs. The picanha sits on top of the top sirloin like a cap. Which is why it is also referred to as the sirloin-cap or coulotte which originated from the French word “calotte” meaning cap.
Though this cut has more nicknames than P. Diddy, we are going with the name given by the Brazilian’s. They have celebrated this cut long before it became popular in other parts of the world. Just walk into to any Brazilian steakhouse (aka churrascaria) and you're bound to see servers walking around with sword-like skewers loaded with c-shaped cuts of meat. It is curled into a C shape when its placed onto the skewer to use the fat cap as a protective cover from the open flame. The fat cap takes on more direct heat allowing for it to render while not overcooking the meat. A very strong word of caution. After the passadores (meat cutter) carves off a meat morsel, don’t you dare cut away the fat cap. He might not make fun of you to your face but, the moment he returns to the kitchen you will undoubtedly be mocked for this amateur move.
When you bite into this piece of meat, your bound to think that it has more ingredients than the “KFC original recipe” but, nope. Just some really coarse salt, a stick, and some fire mi amigo. Stop trying to razzle-dazzle your dinner guest by stuffing your meat with 99 ingredients and covering it in some sort of glazed reduction. Just break out your old jam pants from the ’90s, tie a red sash around your waist, and channel your inner gaucho.