Picanha Recipe – Brazilian Coulotte Steaks

Oi Gente!!

Coulotte steaks aka Brazilian picanha is probably one of the best cuts of meat out there! This cut of beef, although one of the most popular cuts of beef in Brazil, is little known elsewhere. In this post, I’ll walk you through where to buy picanha, and how to make super simple, super delicious picanha steaks on the grill. Plus a bonus egg farofa recipe for the true Brazilian in you!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I’ll earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links.

What is Picanha?

Picanha is the Portuguese name for coulotte, a cut of meat sourced from the top sirloin – it’s so juicy and oh-so-tender. Picanha is seriously one of my absolute favorite cuts of meat. Not just me, though. Picanha is one of Brazil’s most prized beef cuts, and is typically the star of the Brazilian churrasco barbecue.

Ask a Brazilian around you and they’ll confirm, a churrasco isn’t a real churrasco without picanha. If you’ve tasted it, you already know why! If you haven’t tasted it, we can change that right now!

More steak recipes you’ll love: Tri Tip Marinade Recipe, Ribeye steak marinade recipe, Steak and Onions (Bife Acebolado).

grilled picanha recipe

Where to Buy Picanha

Overall, this unique cut of beef isn’t normally found at local grocery stores in my area. You can try asking your butcher if they have a whole piece of sirloin cap, but for the most part they’re already cut into steaks that are way too thin.

The good news is, there are 2 places I love that carry top quality picanha and they deliver all over the united states! Snake River Farms & ButcherBox (called sirloin cap).

We use both brands regularly, but in today’s post I’m using the Snake River Farms Wagyu Picanha.

grilled picanha recipe

Typically, a good Picanha comes with a thick layer of fat on top. This fat cap is really important! It’s the fat that provides all the flavor, silkiness, and mouthfeel to the meat while its cooking.

Up until recently, the SRF Picanha did not come with the fat cap (update: they do now!!), but I could live without it since they’re WAGYU anyway! So, you get all that gorgeous marble, and fat layers within the meat itself. It’s out of this world fantastic!!

Seriously, LOOK.AT.THAT!!

grilled picanha recipe

Before you buy Picanha anywhere, know that a good picanha will never be too big. If it is too big it includes parts of other cuts and therefore not really the same thing. In general, 2 to 2.5lbs max is a good size.

I think I gave you all the pre-cooking info you need to know, so, enough chit chat – let’s get to the picanha recipe!

Picanha Recipe tips and steps

This picanha recipe is super easy to make, as this cut of meat doesn’t need a whole lot to turn out delicious. If you want to just grill it with a little coarse salt, it’ll already be fantastic. I do that a lot!

But before you season, cut the meat with the grain into 3-4 chunky steaks. Only after the steaks are grilled and rested, you will cut them against the grain to get all that tender, juicy goodness.

To season it, I tend to keep it real simple. 8/10 times I just roll the Picanha in this type of coarse salt. This salt is really coarse and it’s the best for Brazilian style barbecue.

Rub the sofrito seasoning mixture all over the steaks, and add to your grill immediately (don’t let it marinate. We don’t want anything to distract us from the meat flavor. We just want that garlicky goodness to be added bonus. K?)

grilled picanha recipe

After that, add these babies to the hot grill, and grill to your favorite doneness.

grilled picanha recipe

Over here we like meat rare to medium rare, so I grill no more than 2-3 mins per side.

grilled picanha recipe

Rest the steaks for about 5 mins before slicing through it. This moment is emotionally hard to manage, because all you want is to just dive in. Be a little patient…go make the farofa to distract yourself!

grilled piranha recipe

 Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I’ll earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links.

Farofa de Ovo

Farofa de ovo literally means egg farofa. And if you’re wondering what is farofa, check this post, where I explain in detail. In a nutshell, though, farofa is a Brazilian side dish made of yuca flour, more commonly known as cassava flour, or how we call it in Portuguese farinha de mandioca, mainly eaten in Brazil or by the Brazilian diaspora.

For this farofa recipe, we just need to saute onions in a little butter, just until they are soft, no need to brown them.

Then add some eggs in there.

And scramble them.

farofa de ovo

Then add the cassava flour, and season with some salt and pepper.

farofa de ovo

Stir, stir, stir…

farofa de ovo

Finish with the cilantro, and bang! Farofa. is. done!

farofa de ovo

Now go on and slice the picanha steaks and serve it Brazilian churrasco style!

grilled piranha recipe

I hope you enjoy this Brazilian picanha recipe!

Eating a barbecued Brazilian picanha is definitely an experience worth having! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend you do, and you’ll see why this cut of meat is at the center of the Brazilian barbecue scene.

Bom Apetite!

Beijinhos!! xoxo

These side dishes will turn your bbq into a true Brazilian churrasco

More steak recipes you’ll love

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5 from 64 votes

Picanha Recipe | Brazilian Culotte Steaks

Coulotte Steak, aka Picanha is the almighty queen of the Brazilian churrasco! This juicy and tender grilled Picanha recipe will leave your amigos speechless!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Aline Shaw

Ingredients

For the Picanha

For the Farofa

  • 1 cup of toasted cassava flour
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 an onion sliced
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh cilantro chopped
  • 4 whole eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the grill to 350F.
  • In a small bowl, mix the sofrito, the mustard, the dry parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside.
  • Cut the meat the same direction as the fibers into 4 steaks.
  • Season the steaks with salt and the lemon pepper, then rub the sofrito mixture on the steaks.
  • Add the steaks to the grill, and grill them on all sides to your favorite doneness.
  • Remove the steaks from the grill, and let them rest for 5 mins before slicing them.
  • While the steaks are resting make the farofa.
  • On a stove top melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onions to the pan and sauté until the onions are transparent, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs to the pan, and scramble them gently.
  • When the eggs are cooked, but still soft, add the cassava and stir.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add the cilantro and stir to combine.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Slice the steaks across the fibers, and serve with the farofa.

Bom Apetite!

    Did you make this recipe? Show me how it turned out! Snap a photo and share with me on Instagram tagging @aline_shaw!

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    31 Comments

      1. I live in Winnipeg Manitoba, about as far from Brazil as you can get! A year or two ago a local butcher had Top Sirloin steaks on special and when I asked about them he told me they were also called picanha and were nice grilling steaks. So I bought some and there’s been no looking back. Absolutely delicious cut of meat. It’s winter here half the year so I’ll sometimes do them in a cast iron pan, seared on both sides and finished in the oven to 125 and then rested. My son will eat it all. Anyway, liked your post and will try the Farofa sometime soon. Cheers!

    1. 5 stars
      I used to work with few guys from Brazil, and they were always making the most delicious food, especially meat! This recipe was so good, the meat so juicy and tender! Beautifully done, will make again ASAP!

    2. 5 stars
      WOOT! I guess I need to add Brazilian food to my list of things I love to eat. I’ve never actually had any Brazillian food before, but steak was fantastic.

    3. 5 stars
      Though I had never heard the word culotte, I love grilled picanha and eat it often! One of my favorite cuts and usually a great buy too. Farofa I have never tasted, and am very intrigued!

    4. 5 stars
      You have my mouth watering!! That beef is cooked to perfection. Now you have me on the hunt for this cut of sirloin. It’ll be a challenge but now I’ve got make this recipe and eat that steak.

    5. I’ve never heard of picanha before, but it sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing so many great tips on how to make it, including where to source that particular cut!

    6. 5 stars
      Well I’m not sure why you have all these ratings from people that did not actually try the recipe… BUT I DID! And I must say the sofrito made all the difference. It was FANTASTIC!! I’ve grilled picanha a few times before since it is my family’s favorite cut of meat from the churrascaria, and it is a very flavorful meat all on its own. But the sofrito is the BOMB! I mean how can you go wrong with all that garlic??? Thanks to this little nugget of culinary wisdom, I had my family doing the happy dance tonight. I’ll never make picanha any other way now!

      1. LOL! Thanks, Dawn! So happy you and your family were doing a happy dance haha Makes me so happy to know! And, yes!! The sofrito is magic!! You’ll use it on everything from now on, you’ll see! Now I’m doing a happy dance to know you guys enjoyed your dinner!! haha Take care!

    7. 5 stars
      I remember having this cut at a Brazilian friends place years ago and have always wanted to try it at home. Great detailed instructions, made it a no-brainer! Thank you!

    8. 5 stars
      A store here had picahna on sale, so I found this recipe. Wow, so easy and it was a huge hit! Easy to find this cut in South Florida, store even had the toasted cassava flour. Will definitely be making this again!

      1. Yes!!! Florida is the best place for finding Brazilian goods – I’m so jealous ahaha I wish I could just walk into a store and get my picanha this easily lol So happy you can, and that you loved the recipe!!! Thanks for letting me know!!!

    9. 5 stars
      Another Floridian here who just tried your fabulous recipe. Best thing ever! We both loved it. Thank you!!!

      To everyone else… If you can’t find culotte in your grocery store or meat market, ask the butcher to cut one for you. 🙂

    10. 5 stars
      Easy and delicious recipe! So good! Made it for some family that came into town. Super flavorful and simple. Served it with Brazilian limeade. Can’t wait to make it again!

    11. 5 stars
      This. Was. FABULOUS!!!! My local grocery store has culotte steaks all the time and we love them, but today they had culotte roasts on sale so I brought one home not sure what I would do with it. I’m so glad I found your recipe! I’m going back tomorrow to buy several more to put in the freezer because this was SO good!!!! I didn’t have lemon pepper so I added a little Tajin to the seasoning. I love the sofrito and will have no problem using it all up this week! I served the steaks with chimichurri (used the sofrito for that) and there was NONE left. Thank you for the great recipe!

    12. 5 stars
      We first tried bottom sirloin at a Brazilian steakhouse. We loved it! So we got one at the butcher and found this recipe. It was so amazing!! The safrito is a must. We cut the onion in half just because my husband doesnt care for them. We put them on the smoker then reversed seared them. I also doubled the safrito. The garlic with the lemon pepper is just awesome!! Thank you for the awesome recipe.

    13. I was in search of a local butcher to acquire fresh beef for tartar. Reading a review, I discover this cut called picanha. So here I am loving the excitement of this chef/author. You are certainly a breath of fresh air.
      Of course I’ve emulsified myself in the raptures of a Brazilian steakhouse. Can you say “food coma”? So here you are in all your glory showing us the cut, seasoning and method to repeat the glorious food coma.
      But alas… I’m allergic to onions and WILL try the farofa. I have found that pan squash makes a decent replica of onion flavor and texture when sliced and cooked. At least it creates the illusion for me.
      So, thank you for the recipes and truly captivating method you use in your publications. Now I must bribe my local farmers market for those pesky pan squash that are so hard to find.

    14. 5 stars
      What a great recipe. I purchased my Picanha from Wildforks and had no idea what it was. I always like to try something different, so I started searching for recipes. I had no idea what to expect. Well, I did this recipe to the T and I also did the Brazilian Black Beans to go with it. All I can say is WOW. My husband thought it was awesome even though it was labor intensive since I combined both recipes. Will make again for sure.

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