The Best Method For Smoked Picanha

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Want to wow your friends and family at your next BBQ with a different cut of meat? Have you ever wanted to try your hand at making a Brazilian-style BBQ at home? Picanha is the solution.

This beef cut is reasonably affordable, tender, juicy, and flavorful. Picanha steak is usually a crowd pleaser during a churrasco, or Brazilian barbeque.

Picanha, which is very famous in Brazil, is a bit of a hidden treasure in the United States and may be tough to locate.

Whole smoked picanha

The Best Method For Smoked Picanha

Picanha may be prepared in a variety of ways, but our personal favorite is the reverse sear approach.

This recipe yields a delicious, medium-rare picanha that tastes like roast beef. The smoke phase of the cook adds even more flavor to the already flavorful cut of beef.

Traditional picanha recipes call for skewering the whole rump cap roast and cooking it over high heat, but our version includes an indirect smoke part that enables the fat cap to gently baste the flesh and keep it moist.

Another alternative is to slice the Picanha into individual steaks and broil them that way.

No matter what kind of grill or smoker you use, charcoal is preferred, and temperature is crucial.

Keep the rump cap entire until ready to serve for this dish.

What is picanha?

The Best Method For Smoked Picanha

Picanha, as previously said, is a popular cut of beef that can be found in practically any Brazilian restaurant. In the United States, it is often referred to as rump cap, top sirloin cap, or coulotte, and it is frequently divided into various pieces of meat.

Picanha is triangular in form and sits on the cow’s rump. It has a thick fat cap that preserves it during cooking and provides juicy beef taste.

The texture is akin to sirloin and the flavor is characterized as a cross between filet mignon and ribeye.

Where to buy Picanha

Porter Road online butchery provided us with our picanha. Porter Road is a Nashville-based company that provides high-quality, humane, pasture-raised beef from local farmers.

They were kind enough to provide us complimentary samples of their high-quality picanha. It did not let me down!

Picanha should be available at most decent butchers.

How to prepare smoked picanha using the reverse sear method

1. Trim the Picanha

Remove the picanha from the fridge and pat dry. Remove any apparent surface silver skin, then cut the fat cap to half an inch in thickness.

The picanha I used for this recipe was hand-trimmed, with very little visible silver skin and a fat cap that had previously been cut to about half an inch.

It felt sturdy to the touch and had a rich deep red hue that reminded me of grass-fed steak. It demonstrates the care and excellence with which Porter Road processes meat.

I decided to score the fat cap to help it render.

You may remove the fat cap entirely to increase the surface area for your rub, but I prefer keeping half on since it bastes the meat as it smokes and sears.

If you prefer, you may always take it out before serving.

2. Season the picanha

Once the picanha is trimmed, its time to season.

I used an SPG rub (salt, pepper, and garlic), but any beef or steak rub, or just salt and black pepper, would do.

Apply the seasoning liberally to the meat, rubbing and pressing it in with an open hand.

3. Smoke the picanha

I used for this cook I used my Weber Kettle with two zones of Fogo charcoal. This dish may be made on any smoker, or in an oven and then finished on a grill.

Preheat your smoker to 250-275 degrees Fahrenheit. While some variation is OK, you want the temperature to remain as consistent as possible to let the meat to cook at a uniform pace.

Add a few chunks of smoke wood, I used hickory.

Continue smoking the picanha until the internal temperature reaches 110F. Throughout the cook, I utilized my Thermopro to keep track of the temperature.

Remove the picanha from the smoker and tent with foil when it reaches 110°F.

4. Searing the picanha

While the meat is resting behind the foil tent, heat up the grill. This might be any direct heating technique available to you, such as another charcoal or gas grill.

If you don’t have access to a grill, setting your oven to broil on high would suffice.

When your grill reaches 500°F or higher, sear the picanha on both sides to get excellent grill marks. Keep an eye on the fat cap side to prevent it from burning or causing a flare-up.

When the internal temperature reaches 130°F, remove the meat and set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Slice thinly against the grain for sandwich-style slices, or thickly for steak or roast-style servings.I usually finish with kosher salt.

Serving the picanha

Picanha may be served in a variety of ways. It may be cut into individual steaks and seared, thinly sliced for sandwiches, or shaved to top salads.

Picanha is a wonderful, simple to prepare alternative for any backyard pitmaster.

Other cooking methods to try

1. Traditional Picanha Skewer method 

  1. Cut the picanha into even 3-inch-thick chunks against the grain.
  2. Fold each part onto the skewer, forming a semi-circle with the fat pad on the exterior.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, season with pepper, garlic, or your favorite BBQ rub. Traditional picanha, on the other hand, is merely seasoned with salt.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high. The grates should then be cleaned and oiled.
  5. Grill the skewered picanha but not directly over the coals.
  6. Move the skewered picanha directly over the charcoals and sear evenly (1-2 minutes each side) until the interior temperature reaches 120 F (medium rare).
  7. Remove from grill and rest.
  8. Serve the meat in thin slices cut against the grain.

2. Sous Vide method

  1. Cut the picanha in 1 to 1 thick slices with the grain (don’t worry, we’ll cut against the grain later).
  2. Season with salt (traditional), pepper, garlic, or your preferred rub.
  3. Vacuum seal the steaks.
  4. Place steaks in a sous vide cooker set to 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours.
  5. Remove steaks from the cooker and vacuum seal.
  6. Pat the steaks dry and brush both sides with olive oil.
  7. Sear the steaks evenly on a prepared hot grill, directly over the charcoals (1-2 minutes each side).
  8. Remove from grill and rest.
  9. Cut meat into slices against the grain and serve.

Where to buy picanha

Now that you know how to prepare picanha in various ways, let’s look at where you can get it.

Begin with your neighborhood butcher store. When ordering, be particular, and if they don’t know what picanha is, request the top sirloin cap with the fat pad intact just up to the third vein.

You might also purchase it online. It may be a bit more costly, but you can be sure you’re receiving a genuine picanha cut.

Porter Road is a popular online ordering location for Picanha. For greater taste, the beef is dry aged for at least two weeks.

However, be cautious since they tend to sell out fast.

Snake River Farms also sells American Wagyu Picanha, which has a better rating than USDA Prime.

Picanha vs tri-tip

When purchasing picanha, be sure not to mix it up with a very similar sort of cut, the tri-tip.

Tri-tip is likewise triangular in form and originates from the sirloin’s top.

The tri-tip, on the other hand, is placed on the opposite side of the capping muscle. It is bigger than the picanha and has a thinner fat crown. When grilled, this frequently results in a somewhat harder texture.

Check out our smoked tri tip recipe.

Wrapping it up

Picanha is a fantastic cut of beef. It’s soft, juicy, and bursting with beef flavor. It may be difficult to find in the United States, but we believe it is worthwhile.

So, now that you know where to locate it and how to prepare it, go ahead and try it at your next BBQ; you and your guests will not be disappointed.

Do you have another grilling technique for picanha? Or do you have any questions on the subject? Let us know what you think in the comments box, and please share if you like this story.


How do you prepare picanha for smoking?

In a spray bottle, combine vinegar and water. Cook the picanha, spritzing with the vinegar solution every 20 minutes. Spritz about 5 times total; after that, let the bark to dry and crust over. Smoke the beef for 2-3 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 130°F.

How long should you smoke picanha for?

Coat the meat with the Hardcore Carnivore Black seasoning before placing it in the smoker. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 136-138°F. Depending on the size of the picanha, this should take between 1-2 hours. To monitor temperature, we utilize and suggest Thermowork’s Smoke or Thermapen equipment.

What is the best temp to smoke picanha?

Picanha should be smoked.

Preheat the smoker to 250-275°F. While some variation is OK, you want the temperature to remain as consistent as possible to let the meat to cook at a uniform pace. I used hickory and a couple slices of smoke wood. Continue smoking the picanha until the internal temperature reaches 110°F.

Is picanha good to smoke?

Smoked Picanha, with its unique fat cap dissolving into the meat, is about as wonderful as it gets. This is a super-easy cut of meat to smoke, and with a fast reverse sear at the end, every mouthful is full of flavor and smokey pleasure!

Should I marinate steak before smoking?

Is it necessary to marinade steak? Absolutely. Marinating a steak allows it to absorb all of the spices and flavors. The longer you let a steak marinating, the more tasty it will be.

Do you leave the fat on picanha?

The first guideline of grilling picanha is to keep the fat cap on. It’s common practice to trim extra fat off other steak cuts, since it might flare up on the grill while it cooks. Picanha, on the other hand, depends on that fat to achieve its ideal texture and taste.

How to cook the perfect picanha?

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a cast-iron pan over high heat. Sear the picanha steak for 2-3 minutes on the fat side, until browned. Then turn and sear for another 1-2 minutes on the other side. Allow for a 5-10 minute rest before slicing and serving.

What’s the best way to smoke cap steak?

Place the cap steaks immediately on the smoker or on the grill’s indirect heat side. Smoke for 1-1.5 hours with the lid closed. Cook the steaks until they are 10 degrees F away from your desired temperature (110 degrees F for rare, 120 degrees F for medium rare, 130 degrees F for medium, 140 degrees F for medium well, and 150 degrees F for well done).

What to serve with smoked picanha?

You’ll want to serve it with the Spicy Smoked Chimichurri since it complements the taste of the meat so beautifully. Parsley, red wine vinegar, smoked serrano peppers, smoked garlic cloves, coarse salt, black pepper, red chili flakes, and olive oil are used to make it.

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