With the ever growing popularity of easy to use pellet smokers, there has never
been a better time to introduce your family and friends to picanha (pronounced
pecan-ya). If you don’t have a wood pellet smoker, with the holidays
approaching, now is a great time to start dropping hints. You can grill a picanha
on a gas grill but it just doesn’t come out the same as when you use real wood as
If you’ve ever traveled to Brazil or eaten at a Brazilian steakhouse, you’ve likely
enjoyed this savory beef cut grilled on a skewer over charcoal.
Known also as a top sirloin cap or the French word culotte, this small roast packs
incredible savory taste and eating quality second to none on the beef carcass in
my opinion. You can find this item in the NAMP Meat Buyers Guide as 184E.
I like to use Morgan Ranch Wagyu picanhas. I simply put a dry rub of course
ground pepper, kosher salt (or other course ground salt) and my favorite dry rubs
that I use for briskets, but just salt and pepper will do. I wet age them for 21 to 40
days in my cooler in the vacuum bag.
Picanhas are small in size, just 2 -3 pounds each, so I batch cook at least four of
them at a time. After applying the dry rub, I put the culottes on smoke only
setting for an hour, then turn the heat up to 325 degrees F. I leave them on the
smoker until the centers reach 155 degrees. Then I simply turn off the smoker and
let them sit for 20-30 minutes before serving them.
Carving up the picanha at the dinner table just before you eat it is the way to go.
The small roast will retain the heat and juice best this way. I cut mine into thin
slices about ¼” thick and serve them with the fat cap on, which is normally about
¼’ to ½” thick.
Picanhas are a great beef cut to batch cook and have around all week for re-
heating and re-purposing into other meals. I use them for making chili, serving
cold on salads or my favorite way is to cut the slices thin from a cold roast and
sauté them in butter.
Do yourself a favor and get some picanha for smoking and serving to your family
and friends. You’ll be amazed!