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Grilled Picanha Steak is the tastiest steak you will ever try! Well-known in Brazil, this sirloin cap recipe is one of the most flavorful steak recipes you will ever find, and one of the best grilling recipes ever. It’s perfect for holidays like Labor Day or as Sunday dinner!
Picanha steak has a generous layer of fat, giving it the most incredible flavor from the meat itself. You are going to love this grilled sirloin steak!
To make this picanha steak recipe, you will need:
- Your grill
- Metal skewers for the steak – at least 3
- A sharp knife
While you can make picanha recipes on the stove-top, you will achieve the best results by grilling it. A picanha grill is faithful to the traditional recipe and tastes incredible!
However, if you do opt to cook it on the stove, you will want to use wooden skewers instead of metal so you can trim them, if need be, to fit into a pan.
I will teach you how to cook picanha steak both ways!
- Picanha cut (sirloin cap)
- Santa Maria Seasoning Rub (* see below)
Picanha beef (pronounced pi-kan-yah, like pecan) is my favorite grilled sirloin steak recipe, and one of my favorite grilling recipes, hands-down. It’s a churrasco steak recipe, which is a Brazilian method of cooking meaning ‘barbecue’.
It’s no surprise that Picanha BBQ is a specialty of the Brazilian churrascaria; that is, steakhouses!
No cut of beef is more tender and succulent than the rib cap. It is a beef cut with beautiful marbling that surrounds the ribeye steak. It’s also known as the rump cover, rump cap, prime rib cap, deckle steak, spinalis steak or spinalis dorsi, rib eye cap steak, or culotte steak.
If you’re not sure where to purchase this cut of beef, look below under our frequently asked questions for our suggestion. You will want to make this recipe – trust me!
The marbling on the Certified Angus Beef® brand cap steak gives this beef cut so much flavor that you won’t need to add much seasoning. The secret to its great taste comes from the generous layer of fat. Needless to say, don’t trim or remove the fat!
Knowing how to season steak is a huge part of grilling the perfect steak!
During a session on how to grill the perfect steak by Chef Michael Ollier, the senior corporate chef at Certified Angus Beef® brand, he taught that simple is better when it comes to seasoning steak.
By far, the best seasoning to use for this Brazilian steakhouse dinner is a simple seasoning like Santa Maria steak seasoning. If you ask me, it is among the best steak seasonings ever, along with my Dry Rub for Steak.
Santa Maria steak rub is essentially a mix of salt and pepper, granulated honey or sugar, granulated garlic, and onion powder. It’s simple, and yet so flavorful!
Get the recipe for Santa Maria Rub from Certified Angus Beef® brand.
Follow these instructions for how to cook sirloin steak (picanha cut) on the grill. The results are incredible and will become one of your favorite summer grilling recipes – I promise!
- Preheat grill to high, about 400°F.
- Score the fat cap of 1 3-4 pound Picanha cut sirloin cap. Do this in a crosshatch pattern without cutting too deep. Cut just far enough to stay in the fat and not through to the meat.
- Rub 1 Tablespoon Santa Maria steak seasoning all over the scored fat cap. Reserve 1 teaspoon of the seasoning. Pat it down to ensure the seasoning sticks well to the beef.
- Cut the sirloin cap into 1″ strips. Fold each strip into a “C” shape and slide them onto metal skewers. Then, season with the remaining 1 teaspoon Santa Maria seasoning.
- Grill the picanha steak over indirect heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn the skewers every 5 minutes until they reach your desired level of doneness. According to Certified Angus Beef ® brand, for medium-rare, you will want an internal temperature of 135°F or 145°F for medium.
- Remove from the grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Grilled sirloin steak is the best way to capture the full flavor of the beef cut. Plus, grilling top sirloin is especially easy when you’re using metal meat skewers! It is one of my favorite grilling recipes.
Do you want to cook this delicious Brazilian steak recipe on the stove-top? Find my stove-top instructions below, under the 💭 Frequently Asked Questions.
⏲ Degrees of Doneness
To find your steak desired degree of doneness, use this chart as a handy guide:
- Rare: 125°F
- Medium rare: 135°F
- Medium: 145°F
- Medium well: 150°F
- Well done: 160°F
👪 Serving Size
This grilled Picanha steak recipe makes enough for 6 servings. It’s perfect for an outdoor BBQ party or a fun family meal with leftovers.
You can easily double the recipe by simply doubling your ingredients, so it’s a perfect summer grilling recipe for a backyard BBQ.
Or, for a little extra variety, grill up these skewers alongside Portuguese Beef Skewers. They are both so delicious!
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Where to Buy Picanha
While you may not find Picanha meat directly on the shelves at your grocery store, don’t worry about missing out on this incredible beef cut. You will still be able to get it!
Most butchers in the U.S. divide the sirloin cap into other cuts of meat, as it is a part of the ribeye. But, if you ask the butcher at your local Certified Angus Beef ® brand retailer, you can find it easy.
So, ask your butcher for the sirloin cap steak! You will want to make these rib cap picanha steaks pronto – trust me. They are delicious!
How to Cook a Steak on the Stove (Picanha Cut)
You can prepare this recipe on the stove, too. Use a cast iron pan for best results. I also recommend using wooden skewers, as you can easily trim them to fit the pan.
- Prepare the steak as instructed above and skewer with wooden skewers. Trim the skewers, if needed, to fit the pan.
- Melt butter in a pan heated to high heat until it begins smoking, then add the prepared steak. Cook one skewer at a time to avoid over-crowding the pan.
- Cook for 3 minutes on one side, then 2 on the other. This will give you a nice crust on the outside and prevent the steak from overcooking.
- Check the internal temperature of the beef using a meat thermometer. If it matches your desired degree of doneness, you are good to go. If not, continue cooking as needed until it matches your desired degree of doneness listed on the chart above.
What can I do with leftover steak?
If you have leftovers, and you’re wondering what to do with leftover steak, give our Creamy Penne Pasta with Sliced Prime Rib a try. Instead of prime rib, use the leftovers. It is a fabulous steak pasta recipe!
Try these leftover steak recipes, too:
🥗 Side Dishes
Grilled, pan-fried, or roasted vegetables of all kinds are delicious with this Brazilian steak recipe. I also love to pair my beef with a seafood of some kind for a surf and turf recipe, especially using crab or shrimp.
- Garlic Butter Button Mushrooms Recipe
- Baked Crispy Potato Wedges
- Green Bean Almondine
- Steamed Crab Legs or Grilled Crab Legs (both are amazing)
- Elote Recipe (Elotes Mexicanos) (one of our most popular recipes!)
No matter what you serve it with, this restaurant-quality culotte recipe is guaranteed to impress. It is so delicious.
📖 Similar Recipes
If you enjoy grilling recipes as much as I do, you are going to love these:
- Espetadas Madeira (Portuguese Beef Skewers) with Grilled Potatoes
- Porterhouse Steak
- Grilled Chuck Steak
- Grilled Lamb Chops
- Grilled Pork Butt
And, for one of the most flavorful beef recipes ever, try our Grilled Beef Short Ribs.
Give our Perfect Reverse Sear Ribeye Steak a try, too! It’s incredible and so easy to make on the stove.
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Did you try this grilled beef recipe? Let us know in the comments below and with a rating! I love to hear from you.
Picanha Steak Recipe
- 1 3-4 pound Picanha cut sirloin cap
- 1 Tbsp. Santa Maria seasoning rub
- Preheat grill to high (around 400 degrees F). While the grill is heating, prepare the Picanha. Using a knife, score the fat cap of the Picanha in a crosshatched pattern making sure to not cut too deep past the fat into the meat.
- Next, season the fat cap with the Santa Maria seasoning rub, reserving about 1 tsp.
- Cut the Picanha into 1-inch strips. Then, fold each strip into the shape of the letter "C" and slide onto metal skewers.
- You'll want to grill the sirloin steaks over indirect heat so if needed, turn one side of the burners off on your grill, or rearrange the hot coals to one side so you can grill over indirect heat. Place the skewers onto the grill and grill for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until the steaks reach the desired level of doneness.
- Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, and enjoy!
- If you do not have Santa Maria seasoning readily available, you can use a rub of 1 Tbsp. of coarse salt and 1 Tbsp. cracked black pepper.
- Use the Certified Angus Beef® brand retailer locator linked in the post for help finding the Picanha cut of beef. If you ask your butcher for this cut, they will be able to prepare it for you.
- You can also cook this steak on the stove top. To do that, follow these instructions:
How to cook a steak on the stove – Picanha cut:
If you don’t have access to a grill or would prefer to cook on your stovetop, you can also prepare this beef cut in a pan. We recommend using cast iron for best results. Follow the above steps for preparing the beef cut, using wooden skewers instead of metal skewers—that way, you can trim the skewers if needed to fit the pan—then continue with these instructions to pan sear steak:
- Melt butter in a pan heated to high heat until it begins smoking.
- Add the Picanha steak. We recommend cooking one at a time or so, so you don’t overcrowd the pan.
- Cook for about 3 minutes on one side, then 2 on the other; this gives the steak a nice crust on the outside and keeps it from overcooking.
- Check the internal temperature to see if it matches your desired doneness and, if not, continue cooking as needed. For medium rare, your goal is 135°F (see the above instructions for a great guide on meat temperature).
Photography by Jennifer Shreckengost