Most Delicious Picanha Steak Recipe: Detailed Instructions

If you have no idea what picahna is, we'll explain that in this post. Try out our favorite picahna steak recipe!
Jeremy Bivens
Jeremy Bivens
Research Writer
Jeremy Bivens is a passionate writer and grilling enthusiast. He's been working as a freelance journalist for over 15 years now and has a particular interest in food writing read more
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Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams
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Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous read more
Last updated: August 08, 2023
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In North America, hamburgers are undefeated as the meat food of choice for most people attending and hosting barbecues. Ribs are also highly favored. However, if you cut across to South America, other types of meaty treats hold supreme. One of these is the Picanha Trusted Source Picanha - Wikipedia Picanha is a cut of beef first made popular in Brazil, and later adopted in Portugal. In the United States, the cut is little known and often named top sirloin caprump coverrump cap, or culotte. Instead, North American butchers generally divide this cut into other cuts like the rump, the round, and the loin. It consists of the biceps femoris muscle and its fat cap. , as it is known in Brazil. Although you can find it being served in almost every barbecue you find in Brazil, you won’t find it being served in the U.S.

This is understandable as not many people know the Picanha recipe in North America. However, this post can change that. Hopefully, this can lead to more diversification in the barbecue scene. If you’re interested in learning how to make this South American treat, you can do so by reading more.

What is Picanha?

Most Delicious Picanha Steak Recipe: Detailed InstructionsPicanha is actually a Portuguese term for culotte. The culotte steak comes from the area between the loin and the round in the hindquarters of a cow. However, not all the meat in this area is good for the Picanha. Instead, it has to be part of the top sirloin. Typically, this component is characterized by a thin, fat layer on one side of the meat that has proven necessary for Picanha recipes.

Descriptors such as tender, juicy, meaty, silky and flavorful have all been used to describe what the meat tastes like once you put it in your mouth. However, this cut is rarely available in American meat shops and supermarkets, which is understandable since it doesn’t have a market.

Butchers also tend to ruin it by removing the fat layer, which is essential for any Picanha recipe. As such, you might even have cooked it before as regular old steak. Cooking a Picanha requires a grill which is why it is recommended for barbeques.

According to most reviews, the Genesis II E-310 propane grill designed by Weber Grills is one of the most top-rated and reliable grills available for barbecues and cookouts at home. With the three burners and high-heat output, it is perfect not just for the Picanha but also for the burgers that are a tried and tested barbecue classic. Additionally, the exceptional heat control that comes with this propane grill should be valuable in any cookout.

One unique aspect of the Picanha is in how it doesn’t need to marinate. You can add some seasoning but what you’re after when cooking a Picanha recipe is the natural flavor or the meat and fat.

Brazilian Picanha Steak: recipe

Most Delicious Picanha Steak Recipe: Detailed InstructionsBefore we get into the recipe, we mentioned that getting the right meat for your Picanha steak recipe can be a bit of a hassle. As such, you need to overcome this hurdle first before you add it to your barbeque plans. The easiest way is to pre-order some from your butcher. They might not have it in-store, but they can make arrangements to get it for you.

Surprisingly, even with the scarcity, the meat isn’t costly especially compared to ribeyes, Kobe strip steak and more. Also, order early enough, so you have it before your barbecue or cookout date.

  • Servings – 6
  • Prep-time – 15 minutes
  • Cook time – 20 to 25 minutes
  • Steak temperature – 128°F – 130°F

Equipment you’ll need

As for the equipment you’ll need, the grill comes first. Both propane and charcoal grills work well. You also need a chopping board and a knife to portion your meat. Additionally, skewers may come in handy for turning the meat, although they’re not necessary if you have tongs. Lastly, you need a grill brush.


Most Delicious Picanha Steak Recipe: Detailed InstructionsThe most essential ingredients for the recipe include the Picanha steak and kosher salt. These are enough to give you great results in flavor. However, if you want to add more seasoning, there are options such as chimichurri, sofrito or any other barbecue rub that you’re used to adding to your meats. Lastly, you need high heat oil as it might help to grease your grill before you start cooking. So, in summary, you need:

  • Picanha steak – 3 to 4 pounds
  • Kosher salt – 1½ tablespoon
  • Chimichurri sauce or Sofrito sauce
  • High heat oil

Notably, the chimichurri and sofrito sauces are easy to make at home if you have the right ingredients. Sofrito has Spanish origins and consist of tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, peppers, onions and other herbs. As for the chimichurri, it consists of red wine vinegar, red onions, olive oil, lime juice, black pepper, oregano, cilantro, red pepper and parsley.

You can make these sauces at home by blending the ingredients. The option of buying ready-made sauces from Amazon or your local store is also available.


Most Delicious Picanha Steak Recipe: Detailed InstructionsStart by getting your Picanha steak out of the fridge and onto a cutting board. Remember to let it sit and thaw out if it has been in the refrigerator for a long time. Once it’s at room temperature, you can get to work. Place the meat on the cutting board with the fat layer facing up.

Next, cut a cross-hatch pattern onto the fat layer. Use a small sharp knife and be careful not to cut into the meat. You can then divide your kosher salt and rub it into the crevices you created with your knife. After that, turn the meat and rub the salt onto the other side as well.

Next, you start preparing the grill. If it is a propane grill with temperature control, set it to the highest temperature and let it pre-heat. If you’re using a charcoal grill, light the coal and let it heat to its maximum temperature as well.

Users recommend the Classic II ceramic grill by Kamado Joe, which offers precise temperature management despite being a charcoal grill. The provided grill gripper also means easier handling of the grates, which should be handy for a Brazilian Picanha recipe.

Once the grate is hot enough, you can apply the high heat oil. A brush is preferred for the job, although some people make do with paper towels. You can then add the sauces to the meat. Whether you’re using Sofrito or Chimichurri sauce, the process is the same. Cut the meat along the grain into three or four long strips and apply the sauce.

If you’re using a gas grill, shut off all the burners except one before putting the meat on the furthest end away from the fire. For charcoal grills, move the hot charcoal to one side of the grill, then place the meat on the opposite end. Notably, the meat should be placed on the grill as soon as you apply the sauce. It’s not advisable to let it marinate.

Most Delicious Picanha Steak Recipe: Detailed InstructionsYou can also skewer the meat before placing it on the grill. A Picanha recipe rotisserie is possible if you can find a way to slowly turn the meat as it is on the grill. However, for most other recipes, you’ll need to place the meat directly onto the grill.

Close the grill and let the meat cook. Check on and turn the steak every 5-7 minutes. After about 25 minutes, the meat should be ready. However, you can confirm that by checking the internal temperature. Between 130°F and 135°F is the ideal range.

Notably, the meat in this recipe is cooked to medium-rare. It might be acceptable to cook it to medium, but you will ruin it if you decide on a well-done steak. Remove the meat, but be sure to let it rest for between 5 to 10 minutes.

The meat resting step is crucial for the muscles in the steak to relax and for the juices to redistribute, thus allowing the full experience of the flavor.

Finally, you can cut the strips of meat against the grain and serve.Most Delicious Picanha Steak Recipe: Detailed Instructions

Final Thoughts

This Brazilian Picanha recipe doesn’t take up much of your time and is simple to prepare and grill. You can try it out at home to iron out the kinks before surprising the people who attend your next barbecue with it. They’ll welcome the flavor, and you get to spice things up with something other than burgers and ribs.


Picanha - Wikipedia
Picanha is a cut of beef first made popular in Brazil, and later adopted in Portugal. In the United States, the cut is little known and often named top sirloin caprump coverrump cap, or culotte. Instead, North American butchers generally divide this cut into other cuts like the rump, the round, and the loin. It consists of the biceps femoris muscle and its fat cap.

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