Wagyu Picanha and Potatoes
By: Jack Mancuso
Wagyu is the Cadillac of all meats, second only to Kobe. It’s expensive (approximately $60 for 8 ounces), with good reason. When you look at Wagyu, you’ll see lines of fat patterned throughout. This creates a steak that’s buttery and fork tender.In my opinion, you can’t beat the flavor, and everyone is sure to love Wagyu Picanha and Potatoes (surprise them!).
This particular recipe uses A5 Wagyu, which is of very high quality. The grade of any piece of Wagyu comes from two factors: grade and yield. The grade is the marbling score, color, beef fat standard, texture, and firmness. Yield is the amount of meat compared to the weight of the carcass from which it comes.
Grade 5 has very good firmness, a fine texture, and a yield of 72%. Note that if meat receives a 5 in marbling and a four in fat assessment, it is classified as the lower grade (4).
Shopping for Wagyu
With the cost of Wagyu, knowing how to shop for it is essential. Unfortunately, some restaurants and sellers mislabel meat purposefully for increased profits. Generally, you’re safer working with a trusted butcher. If a label at the market says “Wagyu style,” it is not Wagyu meat whatsoever.
If you know you have a special occasion coming up, you may want to see if you can put in an order ahead of time. High-end meats are not always readily available.
Wagyu Picanha and Potatoes Ingredients
- 1-2 oz per person (A5)
- 1 potato per person
- Olive Oil
- Chimichurri Aioli
- Cut your Wagyu into two or three pieces so you can easily sear them on all sides.
- Lightly coat an iron skillet with oil.
- Salt the Wagyu on all sides
- Sear on all sides (even the edges) for 1-2 minutes to get a nice crust. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Remove the beef at 130 degrees F, and rest.
- Take each potato and make it into a rectangle using a Chef’s Knife. A large potato will probably yield two ½” rectangles (no skin)
- Carefully slice the potato at an angle, making sure not to go through it completely. Repeat on the other side.
- Move to the beefy oil and fry until golden brown.
- Set on serving plates.
- Slice the beef thinly against the grain.
- Slather the potatoes with chimichurri aioli.
- Put the steak on top.
Pit Master’s Memo
You may wonder about the term Picanha. This cut of beef is highly favored in Brazil for its rich taste.
Picanha comes from the area on the rump of a cow just above a fat cap. In supermarkets, you may see this labeled as a sirloin cap or rump cap. Note that it may be difficult to find. When you do, look for a fat cap that is at least ½” thick. The meat has the fat cap in place to insure tenderness. You don’t need a lot of seasoning because that very same fat gives you plenty of flavor.
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