Smoked Picanha on Pit Boss (4 Simple Steps)

Are you wondering how to smoke picanha?

This traditional South American cut of meat is best smoked low and slow.

Picanhaca come out tough if you do it wrong!

So make sure you follow my tried and tested recipe below!

traeger-picanha

The Basics of Picanha Steak

Picanha beef is a Portuguese word for the whole top cut on the backside (or bum) of the cow.

In America, it is more commonly known as the sirloin cap steak.

It is traditionally broken down into rump and round.

In South American style, particularly in Brazil, it is more common to keep that part of the animal whole.

smoking-picanha-with-chimichurri

A Picanha skewer is popular in Brazilian Steakhouses.

It is cooked over a charcoal grill with minimal seasoning applied – just some kosher salt and black pepper.

Getting hold of a Picanha shouldn’t be too hard, just make sure you ask your butcher and specify you want that fat cap left on! 

how-to-smoked-picanha-recipe

FUN FACT: South American steakhouses first gripped the U.S in the 90s. A Brazilian steakhouse chain called ‘Fogo De Chao’ rose to fame with no set menu – just all you can eat in pure style!

smoked-top-sirloin-cap

Why the Pit Boss?

We’ve covered the traditional methods to cook Picanha, the skewers, or a slow roast for the all-you-can-eat crowd.

This being said, the trusted and sturdy Pit Boss smoker is outside and aching to be used

Instead of direct heat, we want to slowly incorporate flavor into the Picanha and smoke it!

Let me set the scene.

traeger-picanha-2

It’s a Sunday morning, you’ve worked all week but have a family gathering to prepare for.

Cup of tea with honey in hand, you don’t fancy literally slaving over hot coals.

Then it hits you, there is a killer Picanha in your fridge and some pecan pellets in your garage.

What could ever go wrong if you treat the meat so right?

picanha-on-pellet-grill

FUN FACT: A Gaucho is a type of South American cowboy known in folklore and represents the brawn of life at the time.

They were known to be skilled with crioulo which is a specific breed of native horse.

temperature-for-reverse-sear-picanh

Are Top Sirloin Cap and Picanha Steak the Same Thing?

Yes, they are!

It just comes down to cultural semantics.

We Americans usually break down the animal further from the sirloin cap and in Brazil, they enjoy it whole.

smoked-sirloin-cap

The Seasoning Behind a Smoked Pichanha Steak?

The seasoning can honestly be anything you desire.

Our homemade rub includes; sugar, pepper, garlic, and paprika.

picanha-traeger

Be creative and think of rich sweet and sour flavor tones.

Don’t forget that the smoke is going to be the star of the show and choose complementary ingredients through experimentation. 

smoked-picanha

How to Prep the Top Sirloin Cap/Picanha

To prep the meat you just need a sharp knife, time in a fridge, and as always – a bit of love!

We will prepare a salt cure, dry spice rub, and resting period.

If you can see silverskin under the fat cap which is common, this will need to be removed.

TIP: Removing the silverskin not only saves you from chewing but can also toughen the meat by acting as a barrier as it doesn’t render like the other fat.

smoked-picanha-traeger

What Temperature to Smoke the Picanha Steak

The optimal smoking temperature for picanha is 225°F.

This will not only incorporate the smoke into the meat but also let the fat cap render down.

smoked-picanha-recipe

What Internal Cooking Temperature Does the Meat Need to Be?

The ideal internal temperature is 135F which will take around 120 minutes for every lb.

The meat should be soft, juicy, and break apart with ease.

smoked-picanha-ready-to-eat

What if You Don’t Have a Pellet Grill?

If you don’t have a pellet grill then my taste buds feel sorry for you but not all is lost.

Take any kind of grill and follow the recipe.

Remember low and slow to render the fat and if you are looking to try out smoking meat, the Pit Boss is the meta.

slicing-reverse-sear-picanha

Our Method for Smoking Picanha

So let’s get to it, join me as I take a traditional Brazilian cut of meat and give it some old-fashioned love pellet grill.

served-up-reverse-sear-picanha

What You Need for Smoked Picanha

  • Quality Picanha (1kg)
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper & garlic powder
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • A teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 100ml of cider vinegar
  • 30ml of Worcestershire sauce
reverse-sear-picanha

Equipment

  • Pit Boss Smoker
  • Pecan wood pellets (1kg)
  • Sharp knife
  • Temperature probe (comes with the Pit Boss)
  • Sterile spray bottle
  • Tinfoil
eating-reverse-sear-picanha

Preparing the Meat

Take the Picanha from the fridge and with a sharp knife, gently glide the blade under the fat cap and remove the layer of silver skin.

Be conscious of the blade and always strike away from your body. (I sound like my mum)

Make sure you don’t remove the cap completely but leave a slight hinge so you can place it back over.

prepping-picanha-for-reverse-sear

Do not skip this step as the meat will tense in the Pit Boss and you’d be chewing for hours!

Once the silver skin is removed, season generously with salt. This will help to tenderize the steak, so that it melts in the mouth.

Then let it rest in the fridge for at least 90 minutes.

TIP: Leave the salted Picanha for an hour so it penetrates the protein and relaxes the muscle. This will set the basis for a more flavorful and tender result. It’s always about the foundations!

reverse-sear-picanha-on-trager-grill

Preparing the Pit Boss

We will be smoking for roughly 3 hours or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 130F.

Check that your Pit Boss is clean from the last time it was used and then load the pecan chips into the hopper.

Add the water to the tray and set the temperature to 225°F.

Grab a cold one from the fridge as the hard parts are over!

reverse-sear-picanha-on-skewers

Step 1: Applying the Spice Rub to the Picanha

-While waiting for the Pit Boss to heat, remove the Picanha steak from the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel to remove any excess salt and moisture. 

-Combine the sugar, pepper, garlic, and paprika.

-Rub the meat down with oil before applying the spices evenly and then some extra salt on the fat cap.

-In a spray bottle, combine the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and 300ml water.

reverse-sear-picanha-on-pellet-grill-2

Step 2: Smoking the Picanha

-Once the Pit Boss has come to temperature, to 225°F put the Picanha to the highest part with the fat cap up and meat directly on.

Some will say you should put it upside down but gravity does the work when the cap melts back into it. Don’t argue with the laws of physics!

resting-reverse-sear-picanha

-Input the temperature probe.

Spray every 20 minutes with the vinegar solution.

-Monitor until the internal temperature reaches 100°F for med rare or 115°F for medium.which is around 120 mins.

Step 3: Sear the Picanha

Place roast on a grill preheated to 450+ degrees or in the oven on broil.

Continue cooking until IT reaches 120 for medium rare or 130 for medium. 

reverse-sear-picanha-and-smoking-it

How Long to Let Picanha Rest?

-Remove from grill, cover, and rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing. 

Slice the roast the short way with the grain into steaks and cut against the grain to eat

-The meat should be a darkened brown with a caramelized fat cap that oozes flavor when cutting the meat into steaks.

TIP: Don’t waste any juices! The liquid left in the foil after resting can be basked over the meat again or added to make a gravy.

resting-picanha
reverse-sear-picanha-and-smoked

What Sides Should I Serve?

Not sure what to serve with your picanha?

We thinly sliced ours and topped it with chimichurri.

You can also try the following

Smoked sweet potato with rosemary and garlic

Smoekd buttered corn on the cob.

A leafy salad with balsamic vinegar and tomato.

ready-to-eat-reverse-sear-picanha

Smoked Picanha on Pit Boss

Join me as I take a traditional Brazilian cut of meat and give it some old-fashioned love pellet grill. Your going to love this juicy smoked picanha topped with chimichurri
Prep Time3 hrs
Cook Time2 hrs 40 mins
Total Time5 hrs 40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 235kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 14

Equipment

  • 1 Pit Boss Smoker
  • 1 Pecan wood pellets (1kg)
  • 1 Sharp knife
  • 1 Temperature probe (comes with the Pit Boss)
  • 1 Sterile spray bottle
  • Tinfoil

Ingredients

  • Quality Picanha 1kg
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper & garlic powder
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • A teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 100 ml of cider vinegar
  • 30 ml of Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

Step 1: Applying the Spice Rub to the Picanha

  • While waiting for the Pit Boss to heat, remove the Picanha steak from the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel to remove any excess salt and moisture.
  • Combine the sugar, pepper, garlic, and paprika.-Rub the meat down with oil before applying the spices evenly and then some extra salt on the fat cap.
  • In a spray bottle, combine the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and 300ml water.

Step 2: Smoking the Picanha

  • Once the Pit Boss has come to temperature, to 225°F put the Picanha to the highest part with the fat cap up and meat directly on.
  • Some will say you should put it upside down but gravity does the work when the cap melts back into it. Don’t argue with the laws of physics!
  • Input the temperature probe.
  • Spray every 20 minutes with the vinegar solution.
  • Monitor until the internal temperature reaches 100°F for med rare or 115°F for medium.which is around 120 mins.

Step 3: Sear the Picanha

  • Place roast on a grill preheated to 450+ degrees or in the oven on broil.
  • Continue cooking until IT reaches 120 for medium rare or 130 for medium.

Step 4: Rest & Enjoy

  • Remove from grill, cover and rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
  • Slice the roast the short way with the grain into steaks and cut against the grain to eat
  • The meat should be a darkened brown with a caramelized fat cap that oozes flavor when cutting the meat into steaks.

There we are folks, the no-nonsense way to smoke a Pichanha cut while the Pit Boss does all the work.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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