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Grilled Picanha Steak

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Grilled Picanha Steak is a delicious Brazilian-style steak that is buttery and tender, making it a favorite among steak lovers! This must-try recipe is easy to make and calls for a few simple ingredients.

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If you have ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse, chances are that you remember these impressive picanha steaks, skewered, cooked to perfection, and sliced right at your table. The beauty of this recipe is that it requires few ingredients and cooks quickly on the grill! Our recipe will help you recreate this beefy delight at home so you can skip the trip to the Brazilian steakhouse. And, at $26-38 USD per roast, it is a budget-friendly alternative to dining out.

What is Picanha Steak?

Picanha, also known as the rump cap or coulotte steak, is cut of beef from the top sirloin cap and technically considered a rump roast. You will find picanha online or in some grocery stores. Sadly, here in the States, rump roasts are often trimmed of their delicious buttery fat, carved into steaks, or made into stew meat. You can source picanha roasts from your local butcher by request, or through an online meat purveyor. They are also available at some Walmart locations.

The picanha roast is less inexpensive compared to more popular picanha steaks. Lucky for us, it can produce the same tender beefiness at half the price. The distinctive element of this cut is the lean muscle topped with a layer of fat. Typically, this fat is trimmed away, but for picanha, we want a good thick layer of fat to remain.

In Brazil, this cut of meat is cut into separate steaks then threaded onto large sword skewers. The meat is seasoned with coarse salt then grilled hot and fast. We recommend grilling them to medium-rare doneness or an internal temperature between 130 degrees F.

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Grilled Picanha Steaks – Ingredients:

How to Make It:

  • Remove picanha roast from packaging and blot away excess moisture with paper towels. Trim off any silver skin overlaying the meat, or any stray bits of fat and flesh from the roast. Do not trim off the fat cap. That is pure gold!
  • Next, turn the beef roast over with the meat side facing up. Look for which way the grain runs. With picanha, you need to cut with the grain instead of against the grain.
  • Cut the small end sections off f the roast, then cut into 1 1/4″-1 1/2″ thick steaks.
  • Next, bend the picanha steak strips into a c-shape. Run your sword skewer through the center of the fat cap, and thread the steaks as pictured—average 3 steaks per skewer.

Grilling:

  • Prepare your grill for 400 degrees F.
  • High temperature grilling: Remember that grilled picanha steaks cook hot and fast. You want to get a good sear on the meat at a high temperature. We used the Puma by Nuke for this recipe, and it did an amazing job. Please read my review of the Nuke for more information. However, you can use any charcoal grill or pellet cooker to make grilled picanha, as long as they reach high temperatures and accommodate 1-2 large metal skewers.
  • Season the picanha steaks with a generous amount of coarse salt, and season the fat cap as well. Traditional picanha is seasoned only with salt, but you can add black pepper, garlic powder anything that doesn’t overpower the natural flavor of the beef.
  • Time to cook them: Once your grill is up to temperature, place the skewers on the grill grates and cook the meat for 5-6 minutes per side, or 10-12 minutes total for medium-rare doneness. Refer to our steak temperature guide for precise temperature breakdowns.
  • Slice and serve: Once the grilled picanha steaks have cooked to desired doneness, remove from the grill and place them onto a large cutting board. Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes.

Carving Grilled Picanha: 

You have a few choices when it comes to carving picanha. Either carve pieces straight from the skewer like they do in Brazilian steakhouses, or remove them from the skewer then slice. You also have the option of serving your grilled picanha whole and smothered in a delicious Board Sauce, similar to chimichurri sauce.

Store leftover picanha in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Picanha Recipe Variation

If you do not have sword skewers, you can grill your picanha as individual steaks. Follow the instructions except for threading them onto skewers. Grill for 10-12 minutes or your desired doneness, and serve sliced or whole. Use our Brazilian Barbecue Rub for a more dressed-up picanha!

What to serve with it

You can serve grilled picanha with grilled garlic cheese bread or our twice-baked potato casserole

Try more steak recipes

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Grilled Picanha

Grilled Picanha is delicious, tender, buttery, and is a source of great enjoyment by all who love steak!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Brazilian
Keyword: grilled picanha, picanha, picanha recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 685kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 picanha roast about 3 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons Argentinian salt or coarse salt

Instructions

  • Remove picanha roast from packaging and blot dry with paper towels. Trim off silver skin from the meat portion, but leave the fat cap intact.
  • Cut off the ends of the roast. Next, cut the picanha roast WITH the grain into 1 1/4″-1 1/2″ individual steaks.
  • For steaks into a “C” shape, and thread them onto your sword skewers. Average 3 steaks per skewer. Season well with salt, including the fat cap.
  • Heat your grill to 400 degrees F.
  • Place the picanha skewers onto the grill over high heat and cook 5-6 minutes per side or 10-12 minutes total for medium-rare doneness. Leave on longer for medium to medium-well doneness.
  • Once cooked, remove skewers from the grill and place them onto a clean cutting board. Rest grilled picanha for 10 minutes. Carve and serve with Brazilian cheese bread or mashed potatoes.
  • Variation:
  • If you do not have sword skewers, you can grill your picanha as individual steaks. Follow the instructions except for threading them onto skewers. Grill for 10-12 minutes or your desired doneness, and serve sliced or whole. Use our Brazilian Barbecue Rub for a more dressed-up grilled picanha!

Nutrition

Serving: 6servings | Calories: 685kcal | Protein: 69g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 272mg | Sodium: 1300mg | Potassium: 549mg

 

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