Brazilian Picanha Steak


  • 3 to 4 pounds picanha beef (top sirloin cap)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepperto taste
  • High heat oilfor greasing the grill

Gather the ingredients.

If the steak has been refrigerated, take it out 1 hour before you preheat the grill and let it come to room temperature.

Lay the top sirloin cap flat on a cutting board or another work surface, fat-side up. Using a small sharp knife, cut the fat layer, without cutting to the meat, in a cross-hatch pattern, as you would do for a ham.

Massage 1 tablespoon of salt into crevices of the cross-hatched fat layer of the steak.

Season with freshly ground black pepper.

If you want to skewer the steak, cut the steak lengthwise into three equal pieces.

Roll each steak piece like a jelly-roll and, using a large metal skewer, secure the steak so it holds together rolled up.

Sprinkle the remaining salt over the unseasoned sides of the steak.

Preheat the grill to high.

Lay the skewered picanha on the grill and turn off all heat except for the one burner furthest away from the steaks. Alternatively, heat a charcoal grill until very hot before carefully scraping the coals to the back of the grill. Immediately add the steak to the front side of the grill.

Cook the steaks—with the grill cover closed—for 20 to 25 minutes, turning them every 5 to 7 minutes to ensure even cooking.

When the internal temperature reaches 128 F to 130 F for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer, take the picanha off the grill.

Let the steaks rest 5 minutes, then remove from the skewer and slice against the grain and serve.


Don’t skip resting the meat. This step provides time for the meat to cool slightly and the muscle fibers to relax. Thus allowing the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and resulting in a tender, flavorful, juicy dish.

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