Brazilian Picanha Steak
Bringing a full-on churrascaria experience to your backyard is easier than you think. All you need are skewers, a good butcher shop, and a jar of Steak King. A nice bottle of red wine completes the picture.
For me, the adventure started when I swung by Salt & Time, an excellent butcher shop, salumeria and restaurant that features fresh cut meat from sustainable Texas ranches. Salt & Time features several “butcher’s” cuts that aren’t typically available at the supermarket, such as hangar steak, and the top sirloin cap also known as picanha ("pee-KAHN-ya")—the skewered specialty of a churrascaria or Brazilian steakhouse. The easiest way to prepare the cut is by slicing the steak into three equal portions and securing the roll on metal skewers. Our Steak King delivers the perfect robust seasoning for this flavorful cut of beef.
Brazilian Picanha Steak
You might not find picanha at your local supermarket, but any good butcher or meat counter can hook you up. The cut is worth seeking out, because it’s cheaper than strip steak, ribeyes and other premium steaks, and it has a distinctively rich, satisfying beef flavor. The most notable characteristic of the cut is a thick top layer of fat (it will add flavor during the cooking process, but never fully render out).
This flavorful steak needs nothing more than a green salad, crusty bread, and red wine–though it would also be delicious served with your favorite chimichurri recipe.
3 to 4 pounds picanha beef (top sirloin cap)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Steak King
Remove the beef from the fridge an hour before you plan to cook.
Lay the top sirloin cap on a cutting board, fat-side up. Using a sharp slicing knife, score the fat (without cutting into the meat) in a ½-inch cross-hatch pattern.
Season both sides of the meat with Steak King seasoning. Slice the steak lengthwise into three equal pieces. Roll each steak piece into a “C” shape, fat-side out, and secure with a metal skewer.
Coat the unseasoned sides of the beef with the seasonings that remain on the cutting board, or sprinkle with additional seasoning, if needed, and set aside to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the grill.
Prepare your grill for two-zone cooking and build a hot fire. Clean and oil the grates. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, place the meat skewers over direct heat and cook, flipping and rotating the skewers for even cooking every 5 minutes or so, until an instant-read thermometer reads 125℉ to 130℉ for medium-rare.
Allow the steak to rest at least five minutes before removing it from the skewer. Slice the meat against the grain and serve immediately.