Smoked Picanha

This might very well be the absolute best beef roast I’ve ever cooked…

The Picanha – or Sirloin Top Cap – is an extremely tender beef roast topped off with a 1/4” layer of delicious fat. It lies right on the top of the whole sirloin and is often used in Brazilian steak houses or in the US as coulotte steaks.

This Wagyu Picanha came from the Butcher Shoppe in Pensacola, FL. If you are ever down there, stop by and check out Kevin – he runs one of the best butcher shops in the country.

wagyu Picanha

Top Sirloin Cap “Picanha” is most often sliced into steak size pieces and grilled, but I decided to treat it a Prime Rib. For this recipe I scored the fat side into 1” diamonds and seasoned the whole roast with my TX Brisket Rub. It’s a course mix of Salt and Black Pepper that gives beef a Texas style bark.

TX Brisket Rub

To smoke the whole picanha I fired up my Gateway drum and brought the temperature up to 275°F. The roast went on the pit fat side down so the meat juices would drip directly on the coals. Cooking it this way makes the fat render and turn crispy as the bark develops all around. The whole cook only took about 1 hour to get the internal up to 122-125°.

smoked Picanha

At this point I rested the picanha for 15 minutes and then sliced it against the grain. I was blown away by the flavor and tenderness.

smoked Picanha

The bark was perfect, the crunchy salt and pepper balanced perfect with the big beef flavor of medium rare picanha. This is one cut of beef that is way under-rated and you need to try it!


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Picanha Steak seasoned and smoked over charcoal on a drum smoker

  1. Prepare Drum smoker or other pit for indirect cooking at 275°F
  2. Remove picanha roast from packaging and trim away sinew or silver skin from the meat side.  Score the fat side using a sharp knife: make shallow cuts across the fat in one direction spacing the cuts about 1” apart; then make the same shallow cuts in the opposite direction.
  3. Season the picanha with TX Rub on all sides.
  4. Place it on the pit fat side down and insert a probe thermometer into the thickest portion to monitor internal temp.  
  5. Remove from the pit once the internal temperature reaches 122-125°F 
  6. Rest the picanha loosely covered in foil for 10-15 before slicing against the grain.

Keywords: Whole picanha, whole smoked picanha, picanha steak, smoked picanha, picanha

Malcom Reed
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