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The Best Traeger Picanha Steaks with Chimichurri

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Tender, juicy smoked Traeger picanha steaks served with a fresh & vibrant chimichurri sauce. This meal is unreal–you’ll never want to make steaks any other way again!

This is a sliced picanha steak topped with chimichurri on a cutting board.

For Christmas last year, my parents gifted me a wonder meat box from a butcher shop in our hometown. If you ever find yourself traveling through western Wisconsin, stop into the Butchery Shoppe–the quality of their meats is unmatched!

Part of this meat assortment was a beautiful picanha roast. Picanha is one of Brazil’s favorite cuts of beef, though in the United States, we typically see it labeled as top sirloin cap roast.

Many of us envision picanha being barbequed on those large skewers at Brazillian steakhouses, but from what I’ve researched about how this popular cut of beef is prepared in Brazil, it is most often sliced into steaks and grilled to perfection. Easy enough for me as I don’t own large skewers, and I love a good picanha steak.

This recipe is an awesome way to enjoy a phenomenal steak on a beautiful summer evening.

Why You’ll Love These Steaks

Picanha is incredibly flavorful. Its large fat cap keeps these steaks juicy and moist when grilled, but the meat under the fat cap is extremely lean and velvety smooth in texture, giving you an amazing mouthfeel. Once you experience the smoky flavor combined with fresh, homemade chimichurri, you’ll never want any other picanha recipe again.

This is all of the picanha steaks and bowl of chimichurri on a chopping board.

Ingredients

Picanha Roast – Picanha is not a common cut in the average grocery store meat section, so I recommend visiting a local butcher shop. If you do not see a roast labeled “picanha”, look for sirloin cap, top sirloin cap, rump cap, or culotte.

Kosher Salt – Traditionally, picanha is seasoned only with a bit of coarse salt, and believe me–this juicy steak is so flavorful that it’s all you need.

Pepper​ – Add a little black pepper to taste.

Avocado Oil – For the reverse sear.

Chimichurri – I have the perfect recipe for fresh & zesty chimichurri, but you can also pick up a store-bought batch if you prefer.

These are the ingredients for the recipe including the picanha roast, chimichurri, salt, and pepper.

As for equipment, I recommend a quality meat thermometer that you can stick in a steak and leave inserted to monitor the temperature. I like the Meater+. Monitoring the temperature closely will help you make sure you don’t overcook the steaks.

You will also need a pellet grill (I use my Traeger).

Instructions

trager control panel set to 250

1. Pre-heat

Prior to preparing the picanha steaks, ignite your pellet grill per manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to 250°F.

You will also want to prepare your chimichurri. Check out my full chimichurri recipe post to make your own simple chimichurri, but storebought can be used if preferred.

These are sliced picanha steaks on a wooden cutting board with chef's knife.

2. Slice Roast into Steaks

Use a cutting board to slice the picanha roast with a sharp knife into individual steaks about 1 1/2 inches thick. Slice the roast WITH the grain to create the steaks (you can slice against the grain for serving, but for creating the steaks you must slice with the grain).

1.5 inches is the best thickness in my experience–it will prevent you from over-cooking the steak while still making sure to leave some pink in the middle.

These are the sliced picanha steaks on the chopping board seasoned with salt and pepper.

3. Season Steaks

Sprinkle the top of the steaks with kosher salt and some pepper. Place your meat thermometer into the thickest part of one of the steaks.

These are the picanha steaks going on the grill grates to smoke at 250F.

4. Smoke

Put the steaks on the Traeger to smoke at 250°F until the internal temperature of the picanha steaks reaches 115°F. At that time, remove the steaks to a platter to rest.

These are the smoked traeger picanha steaks resting while the grill heats to high.

5. Heat to High

Turn the Traeger or pellet grill up to HIGH heat (450°) to prepare to reverse sear. While it heats up, brush a little bit of avocado oil on each side of the steaks. The steaks can rest while the pellet grill heats up.

These are tongs flipping the picanha steaks while they reverse sear.

6. Reverse Sear

When the grill is hot, put the steaks back on in the hottest section to reverse sear and develop a nice crust. Close the Traeger lid and let the steaks cook for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook another two minutes. Repeat this, flipping every 2 minutes, until the steaks are just a few degrees below your desired doneness.

For medium-rare, remove the steaks at about 130°F, as they will continue to rise a few degrees once removed from the heat.

Reverse Sear Method Tips

The grill needs to be HOT for the reverse sear. The Traeger will do a decent job, but it doesn’t quite get as hot as a flat top or cast-iron skillet.

If you’re after a really crispy crust, you can remove the steaks from the Traeger when they reach 115°F internally and finish them with a reverse sear in a skillet.

Heat the skillet to high and add some avocado oil. When the oil starts to smoke, throw the steaks on to sear about 1 minute per side.

Serving Suggestions

Serve these incredible steaks, sliced against the grain, with a fresh batch of chimichurri.

Roasted potatoes, a green salad, and garlic bread are other delicious sides.

You may be interested in my Cucumber Blueberry Salad for a light & crunchy summer side.

These are the finished Traeger picanha steaks, one of them sliced, with a bowl of chimichurri and lime wedge.

Other Traeger Recipes

If you love this smoked picanha, give some of these other delicious Traeger recipes a try.

  • Smoked Boneless Pork Sirloin is marinated in a homemade chipotle-orange marinade and smoked for a delightfully lean pulled pork.
  • Smoked Ribeye Roast is perfect for holidays or celebrations. Incredibly tender and served with a homemade horseradish yogurt sauce.
  • My Smoked Whole Chicken is rubbed down with an easy homemade citrus rub and smoked to juicy, tender perfection.

Leave a Comment and Review!

This amazing cut of meat is about to become your new favorite! Next time you get your hands on a picanha roast, make sure you fire up your Traeger and chop up some fresh herbs for your homemade chimichurri.

If you make this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments! If you can leave a 5-star review and a comment, that means so much.

This is a sliced picanha steak topped with chimichurri on a cutting board.
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Smoked Picanha Steaks with Chimichurri

These delicious Brazillian Picanha steaks can be smoked on your Traeger or pellet grill and served with chimichurri.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: brazilian
Keyword: brazilian picanha, brazilian steaks, smoked sirloin cap roast, top sirloin cap roast, traeger picanha
Servings: 5
Calories: 255kcal
Author: Holly Lee
Cost: $20

Equipment

  • Traeger Grill or other pellet grill
  • Meater+ or other digital meat thermometer

Ingredients

  • 2 lb picanha roast aka top sirloin cap roast
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 batch chimichurri recipe can use store-bought if preferred

Instructions

  • Ignite your pellet grill and preheat it to 250°F. Prior to preparing the picanha steaks, prepare your chimichurri. Storebought can be used if preferred.
  • Use a cutting board to slice the picanha roast with a sharp knife into individual steaks about 1 1/2 inches thick. Slice the roast WITH the grain to create the steaks (you will slice against the grain for serving, but for creating the steaks you must slice with the grain).
  • Sprinkle the top of the steaks with kosher salt and some pepper. Place your meat thermometer into the thickest part of one of the steaks.
  • Put the steaks on the pellet grill and cook at 250° until they reach an internal temperature of 115°. At that time, remove the steaks to a platter to rest.
  • Turn the Traeger or pellet grill up to HIGH (450°). While it heats up, brush a little bit of avocado oil on each side of the steaks. The steaks can rest while the pellet grill heats up.
  • When the grill is hot, put the steaks back on in the hottest section to reverse sear and develop a nice crust. Close the Traeger lid and let the steaks cook for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook another two minutes. Repeat this, flipping every 2 minutes, until the steaks are just a few degrees below your desired doneness. For medium-rare, remove the steaks at about 130°F, as they will continue to rise a few degrees once removed from the heat.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Note: Nutrition information is an estimate for 1/5 of the recipe and does not include eating the fat cap or adding chimichurri. You will need to calculate that based on the portion you serve yourself.

Nutrition

Calories: 255kcal | Protein: 40g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 1497mg | Potassium: 648mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3mg

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