Often referred to as one of the butcher cuts, this top sirloin cap, or Picanha, is a tender and flavorful cut of beef. We add to the beefy flavor of this steak and top it with a savory mushroom cream sauce.
Often seen on skewers over a rotisserie flame, our take on the Picanha is to cut up into steaks and eat grilled.
What Is Picanha
Picanha (pronounced pee-kahn-ya) comes from the top of the primal Sirloin of the cow. It goes by many names like Rump Cap, Sirloin Cap, and also Coulotte (pronounced coo-laat).
In Brazil, Picanha is often cut up and put onto a skewer and cooked over fire on a rotisserie. In the US, it is not as common. While it does make great skewers, it’s also a great roast in the oven, on the grill, or cut into steaks like what we’re doing in this recipe.
Because the top of the sirloin gets less movement than other parts of the cow, the Picanha (or Coulotte) runs very lean, like a tenderloin. What is even more pronounced is the distinct fat cap on the top of the cut.
Where To Buy Picanha
In the USA this is most likely going to be called a Coulotte or Sirloin Cap. Most grocery stores won’t sell this as a whole roast, opting instead for steaks from the sirloin itself. Place a call to your local butcher before venturing out to confirm they have it, or can cut it up for you. This saves you an extra trip by car.
An alternative is to buy it online. We partner with Snake River Farms for incredibly marbled and flavorful American Wagyu and Prime beef delivered to your doorstep.
How To Trim Picanha For Steaks
Most of these cuts will range from 2.5 – 5 pounds. There will be a distinct fat cap side, and the other will have a little sliver skin and need to be trimmed.
- Leave the fat cap on.
- On the non-fat side, remove silver skin and trim excess fat.
- Cut perpendicular to the grain into 1 to 1 ½ inch steaks.
- Use those smaller edges (that aren’t quite big enough to grill up for a whole steak portion) as a snack!
How to Cook Picanha Steaks
Grilling with a two zone or direct/indirect method is the best way to get the perfect sear, and not overcook the steaks. Place the Coulotte or Picanha Steaks over the direct heat for a couple of minutes per side and then finish on the indirect side. Be sure to use a high quality thermometer like this one. Our ranges for desired finishing temperature is below.
- Rare: 120-130 degrees F
- Medium Rare: 130-140 degrees F
- Medium: 140-150 degrees F
- Medium Well: 150-160 degrees F
- Well Done: 160 degrees F AND not recommended for a good quality steak
How to Make a Mushroom Cream Sauce
Our cream sauce is simple to make and is a fantastic topping to these grilled steaks. The key to the sauce is starting with sautéing the mushrooms. Then remove the mushrooms and set aside, and then make the cream sauce. Add the mushrooms back into the sauce to finish and thicken. This allows for nice browning of the mushrooms, while not letting them get a soggy or chewy texture.
The secret to a good mushroom cream sauce is a touch of sherry for flavor and finish with a slurry to help thicken.
Recipe For Grilled Picanha Steaks with Mushroom Cream Sauce
Other Butcher Cut Recipes
Butcher cuts are the less common cuts from beef or pork, and the recipes below represent some of our favorite.
If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes.
I would rate this recipe 10 stars if I could and would have paid a significant amount of money for this in a restaurant! The cream sauce was off the charts delicious. I don’t like mushrooms and I ate every single last one. And I licked the spoon when saving the leftovers (only 2 of us – we couldn’t eat a 2 pound coulotte steak!). I halved the recipe and used 1/2 tsp ground thyme because I didn’t have any fresh sprigs plus I used plain old fresh white button mushroom instead of cremini mushrooms because it’s all I had. My husband mentioned all the food the cream sauce would taste good on. This recipe is fantastic and a new family favorite!
Sean Martin says
Rachel, that is so awesome! Love the substitutions with the dried thyme. We can add that as a recommendation too for those who don’t have fresh. Also white button mushrooms are great too. Thank you for taking time to drop the feedback!
Stephen Furlong says
Very tasty, though by the time I’d done 3 minutes a side, it was already overdone!
Sean Martin says
Stephen, we definitely get it and love the feedback. That is why when grilling no two steaks are the same and no two fires burn exactly the same. We give times as a rough general estimate and absolutely recommend a good digital thermometer like the Thermapen as tool for measuring temp because we cook to temp not time.
mike hallene says
i was a meatcutter for 40 yrs,in the north-east and i use to take two caps.trim alittle of the fat off both,and tie together .fat side out.season and roast in the oven till med-rare.excellant.just make sure you get to know your meat-cutter in your favorite store.he can make or break your meal.
Sean Martin says
We absolutely agree – make that call in advance to see if your local butcher can cut it!