How To Grill Picanha? An Ultimate Guide To Master This Steak!

Rating: 5/5 - (2 votes)

Grilling is an age-old tradition that brings people together over the tantalizing aroma of sizzling meat. One cut that has been gaining popularity among grill enthusiasts is picanha.

Known for its robust flavor and tender texture, picanha, the top sirloin or rump cap, is a Brazilian steakhouse favorite. This guide explores how to grill picanha steak perfectly, ensuring you’ll impress your guests with this delicious dish.

How To Grill Picanha?

Grilling picanha or sirloin cap is a simple process, including the following steps:

  1. Season with coarse salt.
  2. Preheat the grill to high heat.
  3. Sear fat cap down.
  4. Move to indirect heat.
  5. Use a meat thermometer to check the doneness.
  6. Rest, slice against the grain, and enjoy!

You can use both gas and charcoal grill to grill a picanha steak. Remember to choose a picanha with a generous fat cap, season it simply, and use indirect grilling for a perfect dish! 

How To Grill Picanha On Gas Grill?

How to grill picanha on a gas grill is a common question among steak lovers. Here’s a step-by-step guide to mastering the art of grilling picanha:

Step 1: Preheat the gas grill

  • Fire up your gas grill and set it to medium-high heat, targeting a temperature range of 400-450°F (204-232°C). You’ll need both direct and indirect heat zones for cooking.

Step 2: Prep the picanha

  • Begin by trimming excessive or loose fat from the picanha, leaving about a quarter-inch of fat for flavor and juiciness.
  • Season the picanha generously with coarse salt. You can also sprinkle freshly ground pepper and a pinch of garlic powder for extra flavor.

Step 3: Sear it

  • Place the picanha on the grill, fat-side down, over the direct heat section. This is where the perfect sear happens.
  • Sear each side for approximately 2-3 minutes until a golden-brown crust forms. Flip it over and repeat.

Step 4: Indirect cooking

  • Shift the seared picanha to the indirect heat zone for slow cooking.
  • Close the grill lid to maintain a consistent cooking temperature.

Step 5: Temperature check

  • For precise doneness, use a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the picanha.
  • Grill the picanha until it reaches your preferred level of doneness: medium-rare: 130-135°F (54-57°C); Medium: 140-145°F (60-63°C).

Step 6: Resting time

  • When the picanha reaches your desired temperature, remove it from the grill.
  • Let the grilled picanha rest for about 10 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to be redistributed, ensuring a juicy and flavorful steak.

Step 7: Slicing and serving

  • To serve, slice the rested picanha thinly against the grain. Position the fat cap on top to enhance the taste.
  • Pair your picanha with traditional Brazilian sides like chimichurri sauce, farofa (toasted cassava flour), and a fresh salad.
how to grill picanha on gas grill
Grilled picanha

How To Grill Picanha On Charcoal Grill?

Grilling picanha on a charcoal grill adds a smoky, charred flavor that perfectly complements the richness of this cut. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you grill picanha to perfection:

Step 1: Prepare the charcoal grill

  • Begin by lighting your charcoal grill and letting the coals burn until they turn white, creating a medium-high heat for grilling.

Step 2: Trim and season the picanha

  • Trim excess or loose fat from the picanha, leaving about a quarter-inch of fat for enhanced flavor and juiciness.
  • Season the picanha generously with coarse salt. Add freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of garlic powder for extra taste.

Step 3: Sear the picanha

  • Place the picanha, fat-side down, directly over the hot coals to sear, creating a flavorful crust on the meat.
  • Sear each side for 2-3 minutes until you achieve a beautiful golden-brown crust. Flip the picanha and repeat.

Step 4: Indirect cooking

  • Move the seared picanha to the grill’s indirect heat zone for slow cooking.
  • Cover the grill with the lid to maintain a consistent cooking temperature.

Step 5: Check the internal temperature

  • For precise doneness, use a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the picanha.
  • Grill the picanha until it reaches your preferred level of doneness: medium-rare: 130-135°F (54-57°C); Medium: 140-145°F (60-63°C).

Step 6: Resting time

  • Once the picanha reaches your desired temperature, remove it from the grill.
  • Allow the grilled picanha to rest for about 10 minutes. This resting period lets the juices redistribute, resulting in a juicy and flavorful steak.

Step 7: Slicing and serving

  • Slice the rested picanha thinly against the grain for maximum tenderness.
  • Present the slices with the fat cap on top to maximize flavor.
  • Complement your picanha with classic Brazilian sides like chimichurri sauce, farofa (toasted cassava flour), and a fresh salad.
how to grill picanha on charcoal grill
Picanha steaks in front of charcoal grill

How To Grill Picanha Roast?

Grilling a picanha roast is a wonderful culinary experience that allows you to savor this cut’s rich, beefy flavors. Here’s a detailed guide on how to grill picanha roast:

Step 1: Prepare the grill

  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, aiming for a temperature around 350-400°F (175-200°C).
  • Ensure your grill has direct and indirect heat zones, which will be crucial during cooking.

Step 2: Score the fat cap

  • Use a sharp knife to make shallow, diagonal cuts across the fat cap of the picanha roast. These cuts, called “cross-hatching,” allow the fat to render and become crispy while cooking.

Step 3: Season with salt

  • Liberally season the entire surface of the picanha roast with coarse salt. This is a crucial step, and traditionalists often prefer rock salt for its texture. The salt enhances the meat’s flavor and helps create that sought-after crust.

Step 4: Add garlic (if desired)

  • For an extra layer of flavor, you can insert garlic cloves into some of the cuts made in the fat cap. The garlic infuses a subtle, aromatic taste into the meat.

Step 5: Sear the flat cap

  • Place the picanha roast on the grill with the fat cap facing down, directly over the hot, direct heat zone.
  • Sear for approximately 3-5 minutes until the fat cap achieves a beautiful, crispy crust. Be attentive to avoid burning.

Step 6: Flip and move to indirect heat

  • After searing, flip the picanha roast so the fat cap faces up.
  • Move it to the cooler, indirect heat zone of the grill. This transition ensures even cooking without excessive charring.

Step 7: Continue grilling

  • Close the grill lid and continue grilling the picanha roast over indirect heat.
  • The cooking time will vary depending on the roast’s size and your desired level of doneness. Generally, grill for about 20-30 minutes, but monitor the internal temperature closely.

Step 8: Check doneness

  • To achieve a classic medium-rare picanha, target an internal temperature of around 130-135°F (54-57°C) using a meat thermometer.
  • Adjust the grilling time if you prefer your steak to be more or less cooked.

Step 9: Rest

  • Once the picanha roast reaches your desired temperature, remove it from the grill and rest for 10 minutes. This resting period is essential as it lets the juices redistribute within the meat, resulting in a juicy and flavorful roast.

Step 10: Slice and serve

  • Slice the grilled picanha roast thinly against the grain to ensure tenderness. 
  • Picanha is typically served as the centerpiece of a meal, often with chimichurri sauce or your preferred steak sauce for dipping.
how to grill picanha roast
Raw picanha

How To Grill Picanha Reverse Sear?

Grilling picanha using the reverse sear method is an excellent way to achieve a perfectly cooked and flavorful result. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Tips And Tricks For Grilling Picanha

To help you achieve grilling greatness, we’ve gathered some essential tips for grilling picanha like a seasoned pro:

  • Choose the right cut: Choose the best picanha cut available. Opt for well-marbled beef with a generous fat cap, as this fat content enhances flavor and moisture during grilling.
  • Keep it simple with seasoning: Traditional picanha seasoning is wonderfully uncomplicated—coarse salt. Apply salt generously to all sides of the meat, including the fat cap. Use kosher or sea salt to accentuate the natural flavors.
  • Get your grill hot: Preheat your grill to a high temperature, ideally reaching 450-500°F (232-260°C). Picanha thrives in the intense heat to create a stunning sear.
  • Start with the fat cap: Start grilling with the fat cap facing downwards. This allows the fat to render and achieve a delightful crispiness. Sear the fat cap for approximately 5-7 minutes until golden brown.
  • Indirect heat for perfection: Following the initial sear, transition the picanha to an area of the grill with indirect heat. This involves turning off one burner on a gas grill or positioning the meat away from direct flames on a charcoal grill.
  • Invest in a meat thermometer: For precise doneness, rely on a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest section of the picanha. Observe these temperature benchmarks: Rare: 120-125°F (49-52°C); Medium-Rare: 130-135°F (54-57°C); Medium: 140-145°F (60-63°C).
  • Embrace the resting period: Once the picanha achieves your preferred temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes, lightly covered with aluminum foil. This crucial step enables the juices to be redistributed, ensuring a juicier steak. 
  • Slice against the grain: When serving, slice the picanha thinly against the grain. This technique maximizes tenderness, creating a delightful dining experience.
tips and tricks for grilling picanha
Perfect picanha steak

FAQs

What is the best way to cook picanha?

The best way to cook picanha is to grill it. Start with a sear over high heat to create a crust, then move it to indirect heat until it reaches your preferred level of doneness. Rest and slice thinly against the grain for optimal tenderness.

Should you cut picanha before grilling?

No, you should not cut picanha before grilling. It’s best to grill it as a whole piece and then slice it after cooking to retain its juices and flavor.

How hot should the grill be for picanha?

For picanha, the grill should be hot, ideally around 450-500°F (232-260°C). This high heat helps sear the meat quickly and develop a flavorful crust while keeping the inside tender.

Why does picanha only need salt?

Picanha, a flavorful cut of beef, is traditionally seasoned with only salt to enhance its natural taste. The simplicity of salt allows the beef’s unique flavors to shine without overpowering them with other seasonings or marinades. This minimalist approach highlights the quality of the meat and the delicious fat cap on the picanha, resulting in a delectable and authentic taste.

How do you grill picanha on the BBQ?

Here’s a short answer for grilling picanha on the BBQ:
Preheat and season: Preheat the BBQ, season picanha with salt, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Sear Fat: Place it fat side down on the hot grill for 3-5 mins.
Indirect Cook: Move to medium heat for indirect cooking until desired doneness (125°F for medium-rare).
Rest and slice: Rest for 10 mins, slice, and serve. Enjoy your BBQ picanha!

References:

Edith's Bistro Logo
Edith's Bistro Logo

Written by

Welcome to Edith's French Bistro, where our love for cuisine turns every dish into a narrative. Originating from the vibrant and welcoming kitchen of Edith's French Bistro, a cherished eatery known for its memorable tastes and bringing people together, we have transitioned from a brick-and-mortar location to an online sanctuary for culinary enthusiasts. 

Leave a Comment