Picanha vs Ribeye

Choosing the right cut of beef is a critical step in cooking a perfect steak. However, it can be challenging to choose the best steak for your needs with the numerous choices available.

Picanha and ribeye are two of the most delicious steaks you can find on the market, and they are excellent for BBQs and other recipes.

In this picanha vs. ribeye guide, we will help you choose between the two steaks depending on your preferences.

Ribeye vs Picanha

While picanha and ribeye are both cuts of beef, they differ in size, shape, thickness, source, and flavor. Picanha boasts more tenderness with less fat content. On the other hand, ribeye has a higher intramuscular fat content, which makes it more flavorful. Read on to understand the major differences between picanha and ribeye.

Picanha Overview

raw picanha steak

Also Known As – Another name for picanha steak is the top sirloin cap. It is, perhaps, the most popular cut of beef in Brazil. It is rapidly gaining popularity in North America and other parts of the world.

Where It’s Cut – Picanha steak comes from the rump cap muscle or the rear portion of the cow. A thick layer of fat known as a fat cap surrounds this triangular-shaped steak. Picanha has a distinctive taste and soft texture since it comes from a muscle that cows rarely use.

Where to Purchase It – You can find picanha steak from your local butcher shop or supermarket. However, this cut can be challenging to find in some regions since many people outside of Brazil are not familiar with it. Some grocery shops and restaurants may simply call it rump cap or top sirloin.

How It Tastes – Picanha steak has a strong and distinct flavor. If you cook it properly and slice it thinly across the grain, you should see marbling throughout the meat, like in any other cut of beef with fat. You may not see the marbling in larger slices.

Best Way to Cook – There are several methods of cooking picanha, including grilling, roasting whole, or traditional barbeque rotisserie. Whichever method you choose, make sure you bring your steak to room temperature before patting it dry with a paper towel first. Slightly trim off any noticeable skin or membrane from the sides or bottom. It’s best to cook picanha for about 30 minutes to ensure the fat cap has enough time to render.

Ribeye Overview

raw Ribeye and seasonings o

Also Known As – Other popular names for ribeye steak are “market steak” or “beauty steak.” You may also call it a “cow cut” when sold with bones or “Spencer steak” if it’s without bones. The French call it “entrecote,” meaning “a boned steak cut off the sirloin.” In New Zealand and Australia, ribeye is known as a “Scotch fillet.”

Where It’s Cut – As the name suggests, ribeye steak usually comes from the beef’s rib section, near the neck area. This steak often features the longissimus dorsi muscle, the meat taken through the ribs and loin. It may also feature the complexus and spinalis muscles depending on the location of the cut.

Where to Purchase It – You can easily find ribeye steaks at your local butcher shop or supermarket. However, high-end meat retailers online are your best bet for top-quality ribeye.

How It Tastes – If you want tender, juicy meat, you can’t go wrong with ribeye steak. This marbled meat has a lot of intramuscular fat, separating the spinalis from the longissimus dorsi muscle.

Ribeye derives its distinctive flavor from this fat. The bone also helps enrich the meat’s flavor and moisture.

Best Way to Cook – You can broil, pan-fry, sous-vide or grill your ribeye steak.

Differences Between Picanha and Ribeye

Appearance and Tenderness

One of the major differences between picanha and ribeye is their appearance and texture. Picanha steak is tenderer with less fat content. On the other hand, ribeye has a higher intramuscular fat content. The intramuscular fat gives ribeye meat its rich flavor.

Nutritional Factors

Another major difference between picanha and ribeye steaks is their protein and fat content. It’s worth noting that meat with higher protein content often has less fat. As such, ribeye has less protein content due to its high fat content. If you want steak with more protein, then picanha steak is a better choice.

Cooking Method

Picanha and ribeye steaks also have different cooking styles. Many people prefer frying their ribeye steak in a cast iron pan. On the other hand, if you want the best-tasting picanha steak, consider grilling rather than frying it.

While grilling helps enrich picanha’s flavor, your meat may be drier. Ribeye steak will be tasty and flavorful with an appetizing aroma, whereas the picanha steak will be studier and less flavorful.

Even though ribeye and picanha have different cooking styles, they have similar defrosting processes.


Ribeye steaks usually cost more than picanha steaks, with a price difference of 30% to 40%. The primary reason behind the price difference is the demand for the steaks. Ribeye steak is more popular in the United States and many other parts of the world.

You will find ribeye steak at virtually all butcher shops and supermarkets. However, picanha is usually challenging to find even though it is more affordable.

Final Words: Which One to Choose?

Not all steaks are the same. While picanha and ribeye are both delicious, there are several key differences. Now that you know the differences and similarities between picanha and ribeye, it’s up to you to decide which one suits your preferences.

There isn’t a better option between the two steaks because each has its qualities and flavor. Nonetheless, if you prefer something leaner and healthier yet tasty, picanha is an excellent choice. You might also choose it if you are unsure how to cook steak.

If you want to enjoy a fuller taste, the ribeye is a good bet. However, it is always advisable to moderate the consumption of ribeye steak due to its high fat content.

If you want to learn more about steaks, including recipes, where to buy your steaks, and the various differences between various steaks, please check out Steak Revolution.

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow, the founder of Steak Revolution, is a true steak enthusiast. His primary goal is to help others perfect their steak-cooking skills.