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Picanha vs Ribeye: Which Steak is Better for the Price?

Picanha vs Ribeye

Picanha vs Ribeye: Which Steak is Better for the Price?

If you are looking to try some different cuts of beef then you have some interesting options in the world of steaks.  One of the great steak comparisons is Picanha vs Ribeye.  It is a lot of fun to grill these steaks side by side to experience the differences in flavor and texture.

Here is a little background on the differences between these two classic steaks.

Picanha vs Ribeye

Major Differences Between Picanha and Ribeye steaks.

The biggest differences between these steaks are:

  • Fat Content
  • Tenderness
  • Price

All of these differences result from the ribeye coming from the midsection of the steer while picanha comes from the sirloin.

Fat Content

The fat on a picanha is mainly in the outside of the roast as a “cap”.  There is not much marbling within the steak itself.  Many times butchers will cut off this fat cap in an effort to make the cut more appealing to health conscious American consumers.

In contrast, a ribeye has some surface fat and significant marbling throughout the steak.

The differences in the fat distribution between these two cuts results in different favorite profiles.

Tenderness

The ribeye is typically considered the fourth most tender steak after the filet, petit tender and flat iron.

The picanha is a “mid-range” steak on teh tenderness scale with a tenderness comparable to a New York strip.

Price

A ribeye steak will always cost more than a picanha. The price difference is typically in the 30-40% range.

The difference in price reflects the demand for the steaks as the ribeye is just more popular in the United States (and around the world for that matter). Almost all butchers and supermarkets sell ribeye whereas the picanha is a little harder to come across (despite being more affordable).

Is Picanha Better than Ribeye Steak?

Picanha is a wonderful steak; when cooked properly it can be very flavorful and tender, and compared to the ribeye steak it is also less expensive (it can be approximately 30 to 40% cheaper).

With that being said, there is a reason ribeye steak costs more, it is simply better. Ribeye steak is just more flavorful than picanha and more tender as well, so if you are a true steak aficionado you will definitely think it is worth paying extra to get a better dining experience.

Everything you need to know about Picanha.

Picanha is one of the most popular steak types among meat lovers and is one of the most popular cuts of beef in Brazil. If you go into almost any Brazilian restaurant you can order it and your dish will be served to you on a skewer.

Technically it is a roast that can be cut into several pieces and picanha is not the only name it goes by. If you go to your butcher’s and ask for coulotte steak, rump cap steak, or top sirloin cap steak you will get picanha.

It is interesting that the word “cap” features in the aforementioned names for two reasons. Firstly, the steak is situated on the “cap” of sirloin, and the word also refers to the fat cap that covers the meat. In this article, you will learn more about these wonderful cuts of beef.

The layer of fat attached to picanha makes it perfect for grilling, so if that is how you want to cook yours make sure to tell your butcher to leave the fat in place. As for the picanha’s appearance, the cut is triangular in shape, and the wider part tends to be tougher than the tip.

If you can’t find picanha at your local butcher shop or in the supermarket you can contact a rancher in your area and ask if they sell it. Alternatively, you can even find it online and it will be delivered straight to your doorstep. Just make sure to tell your provider to leave the fat intact since cutting it off is the default action for most butchers.

As for the cooking process it is relatively simple. First of all, don’t overseason it; all you need is some salt to bring out the flavor and distribute the heat evenly, and perhaps a bit of crushed black pepper; no fancy marinade required.

To add more flavor to the meat grill it on some charcoal at a lower temperature. You can cut picanha like a steak and grill it this way or cut the piece into smaller pieces and skewer them; either way, it will come out delicious.

Traeger Picanha Recipe

Everything you need to know about Ribeye.

There are very few cuts that can hold a candle to the ribeye. Sometimes called beauty steak, Delmonico, or Spencer, ribeye has a deliciously buttery flavor and extremely tender texture. It doesn’t matter whether you are buying yours at your local supermarket or from an upscale butcher shop either way eating it will be an unforgettable experience.

The ribeye is cut from the rib of the cow; it is situated right between the loin and the chuck (also called a shoulder). The ribeye steak is beautifully marbled, which is what gives it its flavor and texture. The marbling melts into the muscle when the cut is being cooked so it comes out very juicy.

Each ribeye steak we buy has the central portion (often called the eye of the steak) which is the meatiest part of it. This central part contains most of the mouthwatering marbling. The cap of the ribeye (sometimes called the rib crown) lies above the eye of the steak end it is the softest piece.

When you are buying your ribeye you can get it either boneless or with the bone left in. Although, if you are in novice you will probably find grilling the bone-in piece more complicated. But leaving the bone in place has its advantages, since it helps the meat retain moisture so the final result will be much juicier.

After you have seasoned your ribeye with a bit of salt and pepper and placed it on a grill keep an eye on it to make sure that it doesn’t get overcooked. Medium rare is the perfect temperature for this cut; if you overcook it the steak will lose much of its delicious flavor.

Traeger Ribeye Recipe

In the end, if your budget allows you, go for the ribeye, but if you end up getting the picanha you will still be more than pleased with your dinner.

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