Smoked Picanha Steak with Poblano Relish

Picanha Steak is one of my favorite cuts of beef to eat.  Also known as a sirloin cap steak, culotte, or churrasca steak, the picanha steak is tender and absorbs flavor so readily it’s very versatile.  While most Americans generally only get these cuts at a Brazilian steakhouse, It is the most popular cut in most of Latin America.  This recipe for Smoked Picanha Steak with Poblano Relish really brings the flavor to the table with great beefiness, pecan smoke, and a tangy poblanos.

About Picanha Steak

picanha steak

When you purchase a whole picanha steak, it comes with a fairly thick fat cap on one side.  This piece is commonly cut into steaks with the fat cap left on, then folded, tied or skewered, and roasted.  However, I like to trim the fat cap off and hot smoke the sirloin cap to get a wonderful smoky goodness.  I seasoned this picanha with my Coal Play Beef Rub and let it sit out for 30 minutes before cooking.

Cooking Smoked Picanha Steak with Poblano Relish

picanha and poblanos

For this recipe, I used a Primo XL Grill with one deflector plate.  This let me set up a two-zone fire.  I cooked the picanha over the deflector plate to keep it from grilling, using the direct side to grill my poblanos for the relish.  I ran the temperature at 300 in the grill, and my steak cooked in about hour minutes. Pull from the grill 5 degrees below your desired doneness (I pulled it at 135.)  So juicy and delicious!

Cutting and Serving Picanha Steak

There are several beef cuts that can be tough or tender, depending on how you cook, handle, or slice them.  Flank, brisket, and skirt steaks are the most commonly known of these.  However, most roasts and especially this picanha steak depend on proper cooking temperatures and slicing against the grain.  The grain is very evident in this cut, and generally runs perpendicular to the length of the steak.  When slicing, I usually cut fairly thin slices to increase the tenderness of the mouthfeel as well.  Many people would serve this with a chimichurri, but I wanted to go with something a bit different, and went with a easy and tangy poblano relish.  It was very nice and it added to the flavor profile of the dish.

As always, I hope you enjoy.  Now get out there and grill!

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smoked picanha with poblano relish

Smoked Picanha Steak with Poblano Relish


1 4-5 lb whole picanha steak also know as sirloin cap, churrasco steak, or culotte.

2 TBS Melissa’s Coal Play

3-4 poblanos

1/2 TBS canola oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

1 jalapeno or other hotter pepper, optional

1/2 TBS cider vinegar

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp chili powder


Prepare a grill to run at 300 degrees, with a two-zone fire.

Remove picanha from refrigerator, and using a filet knife, trim meat from fat cap.  The easiest way to do this is by putting the fat cap down against a cutting boarding trimming the meat away from the fat using small cuts.  Doing it correctly means you can remove the fat cap in one piece with a minimum of meat loss.  Take your time, there’s no hurry.

After removing the fat cap, remove any silverskin.  Season all sides of the meat thoroughly with Coal Play, or your favorite beef rub.  Place on smoker on indirect or cool side of the grill.  Continue to cook for 40 minutes to one hour, or until you are within 4 degrees of your desired temperature.  Remove from smoker in a pan, lightly cover, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Slice thinly against the grain and serve.

For the Poblano Relish

While picanha is cooking, wash peppers, then place on medium hot grill.  Allow to roast, turning every 4-5 minutes, until skin on all sides is blistered.  Place peppers in a paper or resealable plastic bag, seal, and allow to cool.

After peppers are cooled, wearing gloves remove blistered skin, stems, and seeds.  Finely dice.  Place oil in a medium hot skillet and add diced onions, cooking for 3 minutes.  Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 more minutes.  Add cider vinegar, sugar, cumin, and chili powder.  Bring to a quick boil then immediately reduce heat to low.  Allow to cook, stirring often, about 2-3 minutes, then serve over picanha slices.