Prep Time:  20 mins
Cook Time:  80 mins
Total Time:  100 mins
Servings:  4

Al Frugoni answers a burning question: What is Picanha? The term may have come from the word picana. This is the Spanish word for cattle prod that ranchers would use in southern parts of Spain and Portugal. The location where the animals were pricked is the point where the picanha is located. In the United States the picanha is not very well known and is often named top sirloin cap, culotte, rump cap, or rump cover. It is Brazil's favorite cut of beef and often on the menu at any Brazilian restaurant. In this recipe you'll learn how to cook it both whole and skewered! When choosing your picanha, you will want a fat cap that is at least 1/2 inch thick. The smaller the picanha the better and try to stick to a cut that is 2 1/2 to 3lbs. When you are ready to cook it, pull it out of the refrigerator and let it get to room temperature while you get your coals going outside.


  • 1 Picanha - 2 1/2 to 3 lbs
  • Salt & Pepper mix (enough to coat your cut of meat)
  • Texas rub (enough to coat your meat)

Items You'll Need


Instructions for Picanha Skewers

  1. Slice your Picanha into 3-4 thick cuts, cutting with the grain
  2. Pat those steaks dry and use Texas rub
  3. Use your skewers to stab your steaks on one side and fold it to stab the other side, creating a crescent shape
  4. Arrange your coals around the edges of the grill and centrally locate your skewers with minimal heat in the center
  5. Cook at an internal temperature of 135 degrees, about 10 to 15 minutes on each side on low heat
  6. Allow picanha to rest 10 minutes then slice them against the grain for optimal tenderness
  7. Perfectly grilled picanha, sliced in half

    Instructions for Whole Picanha

  1. Pull out the picanha and let it sit out until room temperature, pat dry and cover with coarse salt and pepper on all sides
  2. Place coals around the grill like you would for the skewers but add a little more there and a little more in the center
  3. Place your whole picanha fat side down and cook slow for 45-60 minutes and then an additional 20 minutes on the other side. The secret of this technique is cooking the roast 80% of the total time on the fat side. That the fat cap not only adds lots of flavor to the picanha but it protects it from drying out
  4. When it is ready, you just let it rest 15 minutes and enjoy with a side dish and a glass of wine

Bonus: For extra flavor, top with our homemade chimichurri