Brazilian-Inspired Picanha

By Pro-Team Member, Derek Wolf, Food x Fire Cookbook, @overthefirecooking

We asked Pro-Team member, Derek Wolf, to send us his favorite recipe in celebration of ten years of over-the-fire cooking. Below, you'll find Derek's recipe for the best grilled Picanha and Chimichurri Sauce. 

If you are an avid griller, you might be familiar with this superb cut of beef that, in South America, is called picanha. If not, then I have a treat for you. Picanha is a delicious hearty cut hailing from the back side of the animal commonly called the round. What makes picanha so enticing is its fat cap- no, you do not want to carve off the fat! It gives this cut of meat its rich, savory flavor. Pair this dish with a side of chimichurri to cut through that rich fat. Pro tip: When shopping for this cut of meat, ask your butcher for sirloin cap or whole rump cap. 


Prep Time: 25 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour 


What You'll Need 

1, 4 lb. Whole Picanha, including fat cap

2 tbsp. Olive Oil, divided 

3 tbsp. Coarse Sea Salt

2 tbsp. Garlic Powder 

1 recipe Classic Chimichurri (recipe below)

1 24 inch Skewer



1. Preheat your fire, bringing it to a medium-high temperature (about 375°F, or 190° C). Add the grill grate 5 minutes before cooking. 

2. Lather the outside of the picanha with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil and season with 1 1/2 tablespoons (27 g) of salt and 1 tablespoon (9 g) of garlic powder. Refrigerate to rest for 5 minutes. 

3. Once your grill is hot, sear the outside of the picanha, starting fat-cap down. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the fat cap has reduced by almost half. Note: Be aware of flare-ups caused by the fat and fire mixing. Flip the picanha and sear all other sides of the steak for about 30 seconds per side. Once seared, pull the meat off the fire and transfer to a cutting board, placing it so the tail (small, thinner end) is pointed to your right-hand side.



4. Using a sharp knife, slice vertically down the picanha in 1 1/2-inch (3.5 cm) segments to make steaks. Once you get to the tail, slice off the end piece and set aside to grill later. Lather the picanha steaks with the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil and season with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (27 g) of salt and 1 tablespoon (9 g) of garlic powder. 

5. Cure the picanha steaks so they make a "C" shape by cupping them in your hand with the fat-cap side on the outside of the "C" shape. Line them up from biggest to smallest on your cutting board. One by one, skewer them so the unseared side faces out. 

6. Revive your fire, bringing it to a medium temperature (about 325°F, or 170°C), adding more wood if needed. 

7. Place your skewered picanha onto the grill over indirect heat. Cook in 5-minute segments turning after each, for about  45 minutes total until the internal temperature of the steaks reaches 120°F (49°C) for medium-rare. Pull the steaks off the fire and let rest for 10 minutes. 



8. To serve, carve small slices of the steak off the skewer, or pull off the steak and serve whole with a side of chimichurri for dipping. 


Classic Chimichurri

What You'll Need

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley

2 tbsp. Chopped Fresh Oregano 

2 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

1 tbsp. Minced Garlic 

1 tsp. Sea Salt 

1 tsp. Black Pepper 

1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes


1. In a medium sized bowl, stir together all ingredients thoroughly.

2. Refrigerate any leftover sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days.