An underused but flavoursome cut great for a quick roast

Make spicy roast picanha aka rump cap, your next Sunday roast.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Serves: 4 – 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Ideal for: Sunday roast, friends over

Spicy roast picanha aka rump cap

Picanha, or rump cap, is an underused cut of beef in the UK, despite the fact that it has loads of flavour.

Not only is pichana great for BBQing over a hot grill or pan roasting.

But it’s also great as a roast.

In this recipe for spicy roast picanha, there are lots of bold spices.

However, don’t be afraid of the spice, it’s not over-powering (although I did cough a bit when I made the rub after accidentally inhaling it standing over top of the blender).

The picanha rub is a mixture made up of black peppercorns, bay leaves, and a combination of hot and smoky chillies including guajillo and pasilla.

It’s a lovely spicy, seasoned crust, which is utterly delicious.

Chilli substitutes

Pasilla and guajillo chillies are part of the Mexican Holy Trinity of dried chillies.

And are commonly used in Mexican mole sauces with the third chilli being, ancho.

You may not have guajillo and pasilla chillies in your cupboard.

But if you’re doing this dish or any Mexican dish, you’ll need these.

You can easily buy dried chillies online and store them for your future chilli dishes.


  • Guajillo – tangy, crisp, smoky flavour, hotter than pasilla, less hot than jalapenos.
  • Pasilla – sweet, fruity, earthy, mild.


You can substitute guiajillo chillies, with ancho chillies, cascabel, or even more pasilla chillies.

To substitute pasilla chillies use anchos.

For more info on spices, check out my post, here.

What is picanha aka rump cap

It’s a Brazilian favourite called picanha (pronounced “pee-kahn-yah”)

Or depending on where you live in the world, it’s called a rump cap or sirloin cap.

It’s one of the most flavourful cuts of beef you will find.

And is a relatively cheaper cut.

That will impress your family or friends for a dinner party.

Picanha is a cut you probably won’t find it at your local supermarket though.

However, a good butcher will know this it.

What cut of beef is it

which is the best beef cut for slow-cooking

Image source: BBQ Star

It’s taken from the top of the hindquarter of the cow.

And is usually triangular in shape and surrounded by a thick layer of fat called a fat cap.

Here are a couple of tips when buying;

  • Make sure you have at least a 1.5cm layer of fat attached.
  • And the best size to buy is around 1 – 1.5kg.
Spicy roast picanha aka rump cap

Recipe by Great British Chefs

Spicy roast picanha aka rump cap

Course Main Course
Keyword picanha, roast picanha, rump cap, steak, sunday roast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 5 people
Cost ££


  • 1.5 kg beef rump cap, also known as picanha
  • 3 onions, sliced (2 – 3 cm thick) or banana shallots, halved lengthways
  • 1 dried guajillo chilli
  • 2 dried pasilla chilli
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (or adjust to how hot you prefer)
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 20 g sea salt


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
  • In a frying pan, over high heat, sear the fat for a few minutes, then turn over and sear the meat for 1 minute.
  • In a small blender (spice or coffee blender), blend the peppercorns, chillies, and bay leaves. Mix in the salt and then rub this all over the picanha.
  • Place the sliced onions in an ovenproof roasting dish and sit the picanha on top. Roast, uncovered for 45 minutes for very rare or 50 minutes for medium rare.
    Rest for 20 minutes before serving