Grilled South American Picanha

Picanha, this undisputed hidden gem from your local butcher, is a lean, yet incredibly well-marbled steak, with a distinct flavor-packed fat layer. You may have seen it roasted over live fire and served in grand fashion, on swords, by the gaucho chefs of South American Churrascarias or in exclusive Brazilian steakhouses.

The most critical aspect of ...

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Ingredients Serves 3-4 Steaks
For the piranha
pounds top sirloin
small head of garlic, minced
cups sea salt
freshly ground peppercorn to taste
olive oil
skewers per steak
Ingredient Tips
Top Sirloin
Have your sirloin cap sliced into 3-4 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick steaks, trimmed leaving 1/4 inch of top fat.
Olive Oil
You will need approximately one teaspoon of olive oil per pound of sirloin, plus additional for basting.
20 Minutes for Prep, 25 Minutes for Cook

Remove the sirloin from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Hot Tip: Resting the meat will improve your ability to create a great exterior crust, while cooking the beef to the desired internal temperature.

Toss salt and minced garlic in a large bowl. Brush the steaks with oil. Then dredge them with the seasoning, massaging into muscle fibers and fatty cap.


Shape the steak by hand into a "c," with the fatty cap out. Wrap and tie the steak with kitchen string, if on hand, to maintain the "c." Then, skewer steaks and season with pepper to taste. Repeat for all steaks.

Hot Tip: If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak these in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill for two zone grilling. Heat one side of the grill to high, leaving the other burner off. This method effectively creates one hot, direct heat zone and one cooler, indirect heat zone.

Hot Tip: If using a 2-burner grill, heat the right side to hot and leave the left side off. If using a 3-burner grill, heat the far right side to hot, the middle to low-medium and the left side off. If using a 4-burner grill, heat the two right zones to high and leave the two left zones off.

Lay the skewered sirloin over direct heat of hottest grill grates, fatty cap-side down first, searing 3-5 minutes. Then turn the steaks and sear each side 2-3 minutes with the lid closed.


Move the steaks to the cooler, indirectly heated grill grates or to the top shelf of grill. Roast with the lid closed until the desired internal temperature is achieved. During this time, rotate the steaks, turning them every 5-10 minutes using tongs. Baste them intermittently with oil.


Grill to medium-rare internal temperature at 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Grill to medium at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot Tip: Cook to temperature, not time. A high-quality digital thermometer is a fool-proof tool to ensure your steaks are cooked appropriately.

Remove the meat from the grill. Let it rest 5-10 minutes on a cutting board loosely tented with foil. Slice the steak across the grain to plate.

Hot Tip: As a rough guideline, for every inch of thickness, rest your steak 3-5 minutes prior to slicing and serving.

Season additionally to taste, top with 1-2 tablespoons chimichurri and serve.

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