Have you ever gone to a Brazilian grill restaurant (churrasco), and tried their amazing steak right off the grill? While you might not have exactly the same cut of meat, or the same type of barbecue device (called churrascuria), we have found an easy and delicious way of re-creating Brazilian Grilled Steak at home.
Let’s first start with the cut of meat. True picanha is tender and juicy and so full of flavor – it is the top sirloin cap, which has a big flap of fat on the top. We have never seen this cut in the local supermarkets, but any grocery store that has a butcher will be able to cut you a top sirloin cap, especially if you bring along this picture:
Try this recipe out for your next Brazilian date night in or Sunday BBQ. Picanha is a popular cut of beef found in Brazil. Picanha is a cut of beef from the rump cap muscle just over the top of the rump. It has a large fat cap and is one of the most flavorful cuts of beef in my opinion.
It isn’t the worse thing in the world to use top sirloin or tri-tip, but you would be amazed how different the taste is by using the picanha cut which has a large fat cap giving it a deep beef flavor as it roasts. The meat is cut into 3-4 inch thick slices and then skewered in a crescent shape on long skewers and seasoned with a Brazilian coarse sea salt or with Spanish seasonings (see below – the way it sits on the skewer is important). Our favorite seasoning to use for picanha is our new Spanish La Plancha blend (see link below), with garlic and spice, along with course sea salt. Our chef friend who knows a lot about Brazilian cuisine used this same combination.
We set up our charcoal grill (Weber with Royal Oak Hardwood charcoal) using standard with a spit attachment – you can also use a gas grill. And, as a last resort, a cast iron pan will work – but won’t give you the same flavor, since the rotisserie both roasts and bastes the meat.
Now time to step out and do your best Brazilian barbecue dance.
- 3-4 pounds top sirloin cap See above for substitutes1
- 1 jar Serious Foodie La Plancha seasoning
- 1-2 tbsp course sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- High heat oil for greasing the grill
- 1 bottle Serious Foodie Brazilian Smoky Jalapeno Sauce
- Bring the steak out of the fridge at least 1 hour before you preheat the grill and let it come to room temperature. Pat the steaks dry with a clean paper towel.
- If not done already, cut the steak into 1 inch slices. Generously season the steak with Serious Foodie La Plancha seasoning and course sea salt.
- Roll each steak piece like a jelly-roll and, using a large metal skewer, secure the steak so it holds together rolled up.
- Preheat the grill to high. If you are using charcoal, have the charcoal lit about 15 minutes before you intend to grill. Clean the grates well and apply a thin layer of oil using a brush or paper towel.
- If you are using a gas grill, lower the temperature of the grill to medium low, then place the steaks on the rotisserie - if you are not using a rotisserie, lay the skewered picanha on the grill and turn off all heat except for the one burner furthest away from the steaks. If you are using a charcoal grill, then carefully scraping the coals to the back of the grill. Immediately add the steak to the front side of the grill.
- Cook the steaks for 15 to 20 minutes, to about medium rare (128 F to 130 F). If you are not using a rotisserie, turn the meat every 5 to 7 minutes to ensure even cooking, keeping the grill cover closed in between.
- Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes (best if it is 15), then remove the meat from the skewers. Serve with a side of the Brazilian Smoky Jalapeno sauce (Brazilians love their spicy condiments), some roasted potatoes, and grilled veggies.
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