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Brazilian Picanha Recipe With Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce

Grilled Picanha Steak with a side of chimichurri.


Picanha is an extremely tender and juicy cut of beef made popular by Brazilian steakhouses. Also referred to as Coulotte Steak, picanha steak is grilled low and slow and topped with a flavorful cilantro chimichurri.

What Is Picanha

Beef picanha is a well marbled and boneless cut of meat surrounding the ribeye steak. It’s triangular in shape and has a large fat cap, making it perfect for roasting or grilling.

Think filet mignon, with more marbling. 

Grilled Picanha Steak with a side of chimichurri.

Picanha Steak

Whole picanha is a cut not typically seen stocked at local stores, however Costco just started selling it in many locations. It’s labeled “Top Sirloin Cap”.

If your Costco doesn’t sell it, here are a few online suppliers we purchase picanha roasts from: Wild Fork Foods, Snake River Farms and ButcherBox.

Picanha Cuts

Picanha meat goes by several names. When shopping, look for any of the following:

  • Top sirloin cap steak
  • Top sirloin butt
  • Rump cap
  • Top butt cap

Raw beef picanha with small dishes of seasonings.

Ingredients

The ingredients list, to make picanha, is short and sweet.

  • Picanha – picanha roast, garlic powder, coarse salt and black pepper.
  • Cilantro Chimichurri – olive oil, cilantro, red onion, red wine vinegar, garlic, jalapeno, oregano, salt and pepper.

Ingredients needed to make cilantro chimichurri.

How To Cook Picanha

This Picanha recipe is extremely easy to prepare.

Fat Cap

Trim the fat cap to your desired thickness, keeping a healthy layer of fat on it on to add moisture and flavor. Score the fat cap with a sharp knife, making sure you’re not going too deep.

Season the Roast

Drizzle the beef picanha with olive oil and coat with the dry rub mix. A simple mix of garlic powder, coarse salt and black pepper works best when paired with the cilantro chimichurri.

Grilling the Steaks

Making smoked picanha, or grilled picanha, works great on any gas or charcoal grill. WATCH FOR FLARE UPS – as the fat cap tends to create them.

  • Gas Grill – Generously grease the grates and turn the burners on low. If you find it going over 225° F, turn off a burner or two to get it as close as possible. Create smoke by using a smoker box filled with wood chips/chunks.
  • Charcoal – Pre-heat the coals and dump them in the center of the grill. Open the vents as needed to maintain the temperate at 225° F. Create smoke by placing wood chunks directly on the pre-heated coals, right before cooking.
  • Pellet/Electric Smoker – Pre-heat your grill to 225° F. Follow the manufacture’s instructions to get an even smoke.

Seasoned beef roast on a silver cooking sheet.

Temperature

Cook Picanha by temperature, not time. Here are the “final doneness temperatures”. Your “pull from the grill” temperature will be 5-7°F below the temperatures called out below as resting will increase the temp. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.

  • Rare: 125°F – 130°F
  • Medium Rare: 130°F – 140°F
  • Medium: 140°F – 150°F
  • Medium Well: 150°F – 160°F
  • Well Done: 160°F+

* The USDA recommends cooking steaks and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F for safety.

Cutting Picanha

This picanha recipe is for grilling the roast as a whole, not cutting it into steaks. If you want to cook picanha steaks vs cooking it as a whole roast, check out our Coulotte Steak recipe (pictured below). 

Two coulotte steaks on a silver baking sheet.

Supplies

  • Energy Source – Charcoal, pellets, propane, gas, etc.
  • Smoking Wood –   Chunkschips or pellets.
  • Smoker Box – You’ll need one to impart the smoke flavor if using a gas grill. 
  • Water Bottle – Use it to spritz the roast while cooking. We use an inexpensive spray bottles from Amazon.
  • Thermometer – Always use a meat thermometer. Always. Our go-to digital thermometer is the Thermaworks Dot.

Wood Recommendations

This picanha cut can stand up to almost any wood. For a light smoke flavor, stick with cherry wood, apple wood, or even pecan. For a heavy hit of smoke, you can use hickory or maple.

Cilantro Chimichurri

While the roast is cooking, make the cilantro chimichurri. Just add all the ingredients to a blender and pulse until your desired consistency is achieved. 

Side by side shot showing cilantro chimichurri in a blender.

Dry Rub and Sauce Variations

We have quite a few dry rub recipes and steak sauce options for beef recipes. You can utilize any of them, with success, on picanha. Here are a few that would make fantastic substitutions if you’re not in a chimichurri mood.

Tips

  • As picanha has a thick fat cap, watch for flare ups!
  • Other chimichurri options include mint chimichurri (Sous Vide Lamb Chops) and parsley chimichurri (Coulotte Steak).
  • Always use a meat thermometer when making grilled meat. You want to cook based on temperature not time. Our go-to digital thermometer is the Thermaworks Dot.
  • Score the fat cap before covering with the dry rub to help the flavor penetrate.
  • Slice thin and against the grain.
  • Cap the temperature at medium. Sirloin cap will toughen up after a certain temperature. It’s best to serve rare, medium rare or medium.
  • Add it to your list of Christmas Dinner Ideas alongside our Prime Rib Recipe and Smoked Prime Rib.

Picanha steak topped with chimichurri.

Picanha with Cilantro Chimichurri

Picanha is an extremely tender and juicy cut of beef made popular by Brazilian steakhouses. Also referred to as Coulotte Steak, picanha steak is grilled low and slow and topped with a flavorful cilantro chimichurri.

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time2 hrs

Resting15 mins

Total Time2 hrs 25 mins

Course: Dinner, Main Course

Cuisine: Brazilian

Keyword: Beef Recipes, Brazilian Recipe, Grilled Beef

Servings: 6 Steaks

Calories: 302kcal

Cost: $30

Coulotte Steaks

  • 1 2-2.5 lb Picanha Roast
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
  • 1/4 Cup High-Quality Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Diced Red Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 tbsp Diced Jalapeno (*Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • Salt and Black Pepper, To Taste

Prep the Roast:

  • Trim the fat cap to your desired thickness. Make sure to keep a healthy chunk of it on as it adds moisture and flavor to the beef. Make light criss crossing slits in the top of the fat cap. Don’t go too deep.

  • Drizzle the picanha roast with a thin layer of olive oil and coat evenly with the salt, garlic powder and black pepper.

Gas Grill:

  • Generously grease the grates and turn the burners on low. If you find it going over 225° F, turn off a burner or two to get it as close as possible. Create smoke by using a smoker box filled with wood chips/chunks.

  • Transfer the roast to the grill, fat side up, and grill until the internal temperature reaches 110° F.Increase the temperature of the grill to 450° and continue cooking, flipping halfway through, until the internal temperature hits 5-7° F LOWER than your desired final temperature.
  • Remove from the heat and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain and topping with chimichurri.

Charcoal/Wood Grill:

  • Pre-heat the coals and dump them in the center of the grill. Open the vents as needed to maintain the temperate at 225° F. Create smoke by placing wood chunks directly on the pre-heated coals, right before cooking.

  • Transfer the roast to the grill, fat side up, and grill until the internal temperature reaches 110° F. If you DO NOT want to reverse sear the roast, keep it on the grill until it reaches 5-7° F LOWER than your desired final temperature and skip the next “reverse sear” instructions.

  • REVERSE SEAR: Transfer the beef to a cutting board and cover with foil. Pre-heat a grill to “high”. Once at a high temperature, transfer the beef back to the grill and continue cooking the roast, flipping halfway through, until the internal temperature hits 5-7° F LOWER than your desired final temperature.

  • Remove from the heat and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain and topping with chimichurri.

Charcoal Grill
Note 1 – Omit from the recipe if you’re not a jalapeno fan.
Note 2 – FINAL Temperatures

  • Rare: 125°F – 130°F
  • Medium Rare: 130°F – 140°F
  • Medium: 140°F – 150°F
  • Medium Well: 150°F – 160°F
  • Well Done: 160°F+

Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 1250mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 3mg



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