Ready to eat! As someone who is obsessed with grilling, this is the #1 question people ask me: What is your favorite thing to cook over fire? My answer is always Grilled Picanha.

If you do not know what I am talking about, picanha is a South American cut of beef that comes from the rump region of the cow. Beef picanha is sometimes called the top sirloin cap or the rump cap in the United States.

If you want more information about this cut, check out this blog post where I take a deep dive into picanha.

My favorite thing about it is how simple and delicious it is to cook.

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Why You’ll Love Grilled Picanha

If you’ve never been to a Brazilian steakhouse, then this picanha recipe will help you experience a new blast of flavor! Any steak lovers will savor this recipe becausepicanha is one of the most flavorful cuts of beef available! 

No other cut has the texture of sirloin with the juiciness of a ribeye steak. It’s unbeatable. Try it and you will see for yourself! To make the best steaks, before cooking, you will score the fat cap. This will allow more of the fat to render and, furthermore, seep into the rest of the beef easily as it cooks over high heat.

Grilled Picanha Ingredients

We’ll take a trip to South America with this classic Argentinian cut of meat. Start with one whole picanha with the fat cap still on. Then drizzle it with olive oil and  season it with about 2 tbsp of sea salt. 

We’ll also serve this dish with chimichurri sauce. Now, you can buy premade chimichurri, or make your own at home. It’s really simple to make and only requires a bit of herb chopping. While I didn’t include a chimichurri recipe in this dish, I have a plethora already published. Check them out in the links below.

This recipe serves 3 and is surprisingly simple! 

How to Make Grilled Picanha

With picanha at room temperature, put it on a cutting board and score the large fat cap with a sharp knife. Again this will allow more of the fat to render and give us such a  juicy cut of beef. Lather with olive oil and season with sea salt on both sides.

Use some Cowboy Hardwood Lump Charcoal to light the fire in your charcoal grill and let it burn for 10-15 minutes. Once charcoal is white hot, push into one flat pile for direct grilling.

Next, place the picanha flesh side down for 2 minutes, flip & sear the fat side for 2 minutes. Now, pull it off the grill.

Slice steak against the grain (horizontally) to make multiple thick pieces out of the whole picanha. Season the strips with more olive oil and coarse salt because now we have more exposed, unseasoned meat Then place the thick slices of steak back on the grill grate.

Optional: Grill picanha on metal skewers, then cut into thin slices to serve this delicious steak the traditional way. See my Skewered Picanha with Bone Marrow Chimichurri, Skewered Picanha with Salsa Vinaigrette and Churrasco Picanha with Jalapeño Vinaigrette for inspo.

Grill the strips of picanha for 4-5 minutes per side or until they reach your desired internal temperature. Some of the larger steaks will take longer, and some of the smaller steaks will cook faster, so stay vigilant. As each piece reaches temp, take it off the grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Get ready to be hooked on this picanha cut of beef!

Slice into steaks and then top those slices with chimichurri. Enjoy! 

A Few Pro Tips:

Cooking grilled picanha is relatively straightforward. Once you sear the fat cap, then you can slice it and get ready to grill it like a normal steak. However, there are a few helpful tips to making this cut better than you expect.

Do Not Overcook

Picanha is not an inherently tender piece of meat because it’s pretty lean (outside of the outer fat cap). There is not a ton of fat in between the muscle fibers, so I’d recommend a rare or medium rare cook so that it stays tender. If you prefer well done, then maybe try it medium!

Cast Iron

If you’re new to cooking picanha, and cooking directly on the grill grate seems intimidating to you, then try cooking the picanha steak in a cast iron pan. It gives you a little more heat consistency and still results in a delicious steak!

Fat Cap

Do not cut the fat cap off – Most American butchers will actually cut the beautiful fat cap off, but do not do this. This is what makes this cut of meat so unique. While you do not need to eat the fat if you do not want to, this beef is unique because you can choose how much fat you eat. Plus, fat is flavor, so it’s better to cook the fat and let it seep into the beef than cut it off.

Add Chimichurri – We all love chimichurri. I definitely recommend it on top of this Grilled Picanha.

Again, for more info about picanha go check out this blog post I wrote.

To find more delicious recipes for the next time you pull out the smoker, check out my cookbooks Flavor X Fire and Food X Fire!

Needing more spice in your life? My spice line can help with that. Check them out here.

This article does contain affiliate links to products that we personally use and support. Purchasing an affiliate product does make us a small commission at no cost to you. This helps us continue creating for our website. All words and opinions are our own, and we appreciate your support!

sliced picanha ready to eat

Grilled Picanha

Try this classic Argentinian cut of meat over the fire at home. Make sure to add some chimichurri on top! It will make Picanha steak taste better.
Author:Derek Wolf
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Argentinian
Servings: 3 people


  • 1 whole picanha with fat cap still on
  • 2 tbsp of sea salt
  • Chimichurri
  • Olive Oil


  • With picanha at room temperature, score the fat cap in order for the flavor to seep into the whole beef. Lather with olive oil & season with sea salt on both side.
  • Use some Cowboy Hardwood Lump Charcoal to light fire and let burn for 10-15 minutes. Once charcoal is white hot, push into one flat pile for direct grilling.
  • Place picanha flesh side down for 2 minutes, flip & sear the fat side for 2 minutes. Pull off grill.
  • Slice the beef against the grain (horizontally) as to make multiple strips out of it. Season the strips with olive oil and salt. Place back on grill.
  • Grill strips for 4-5 minutes per side or until they reach your desired internal temperature. Some of the larger steaks will take longer as will some of the smaller steak be shorter. Take off grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice into steaks, top with Chimichurri & enjoy! Buy meat from good butcher to make delicious Picanha steak.


Equipment Needed: Cowboy Charcoal, grill, tongs, cutting board & knife.

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

4.84 from 6 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I adapted this method for use on a pellet grill with fabulous results!

    I did marinate for a while – 4 hours in a vacuum bag- with course sea salt, garlic, olive oil, and lime juice. I scored the fat cap before marinating.

    I then seared each side of the full Picanha, 2-3 minutes each side, then repeated again – and got a really nice sear on both sides.

    I then took it off the fire and cut it into 5 strips, ending at the point. I reapplied olive oil and Himalayan sea salt, and returned them to the hot grill, about 2 minutes a side. (I only cooked the one unseared side on the tip).

    I then let them rest for 10 minutes while I plated my sides: wood roasted asparagus, and roasted root vegetable medley. Once the 10 minutes were up, I sliced them in about 1 centimeter slices, and served them with fresh made chimichurri.

    The flavor was amazing. The meat was tender and juicy.

  2. 5 stars
    Tried this cut of meat for the first time ever, our whole family loved it, definitely going to make it again over a open fire and served it with roasted bread and chimichurri sooo good.

  3. 5 stars
    This is my go-to cut of beef on my Primo XL and my preferred way of cooking it. Simple yet delicious. The chimichurri really makes it pop and good on baked potatoes too.