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sliced picanha roast in a baking pan
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4.25 from 12 votes

Picanha Roast (Sirloin Cap)

This authentic picanha roast recipe (sirloin cap) is cooked in the oven using just 3 simple ingredients. The result is a tender and juicy cut of beef with a crispy and golden brown cap of fat that melts in the mouth. It’ll save you a trip (and money) to the best Brazilian steakhouses. Watch our quick video!
Course:Main Course
Keywords:coarse salt, picanha, roast, sirloin cap
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories475 kcal
Cost 6.50 per person



  • 3.3 lbs picanha roast or top sirloin cap about 1.5 Kg
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon coarse salt


  • To cook this picanha roast in the oven, let the meat rest at room temp for one hour so it will cook more evenly. Lightly trim off any visible skin or membrane from the bottom or sides. Do NOT remove the fat cap!
  • Preheat the oven to 390° F (220° C).
  • Then, place the cut, fat side down, onto a rack of a roasting pan. Pat dry well with a paper towel, brush with olive oil, and season generously with coarse salt. Flip the meat and repeat the process.
  • Pour just enough water in the bottom of the roasting pan to cover the bottom. It will prevent burning while the fat is dripping during the roasting process.
  • With the fat of the beef picanha facing side up, roast the picanha for about 60-70 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center (thickest part of the meat) reaches an internal temp of 130°-140° F (54°- 60° C).
  • Let the picanha roast rest for 15-20 minutes. Tap the top with the flat part of a knife blade to remove excess salt.  Last, slice it against the grain and serve with lime wedges or your favorite sauce such as chimichurri sauce.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

After roasting the picanha roast, you can still brown and crisp up the fat cap even more by broiling it for 5-8 minutes. Make sure to position the top of the picanha about 8-10 inches away from the oven broiler.  If you intend to remove the fat right before eating, don't bother to broil it. 
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 2 months. It is one of those easy freezer recipes!
Thaw in the fridge and reheat well.
To reheat, place the steak(s) in a deep microwave-safe dish and preferably pour over a little bit of water or a steak sauce. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and microwave it on medium heat for 30-second periods, turning the steak in between. Just reheat them until hot. Don’t go overboard!
Have in mind the picanha won’t be medium-rare anymore.
What to Look for When Buying Picanha
When buying picanha, there are 5 things to look for:
  1. Size – smaller cuts weighing around 1 kg to 1.5 kg (2.2 to 3.3 lbs) are the best. Why? Larger cuts might contain parts of tough cuts that run below the rump.
  2. Fat content – the cut comes surrounded by a good cap of fat (about 1.5cm or 0.6 inches) that should be firm and have a white/cream color. The fat makes the meat more flavorful and will keep it moist while cooking.
  3. Excess liquid – if there is too much liquid in the package that is a sign the picanha roast is old, has been kept at the incorrect temperature, or it was previously frozen.
  4. Color – as in every cut of beef, it must be bright red.
  5. Smell – not putrid odor.
If compared to ribeye, it is less expensive. If not offered at the meat aisle of your supermarket, ask for a top sirloin cap or rump cap from the butcher. 
By the way, a good butcher will never confuse tri-tip or sirloin steaks with picanha.
You don’t need to buy the Japanese Wagyu picanha to eat tender and flavorful meat. But if you do, enjoy every piece be it will be more costly than a regular picanha.
Some favorite Brazilian sides to serve with are:
Score or not score the fat cap of the picanha
As you can see in our video, I did NOT score the fat cap on my beef picanha roast. Why? Because most Brazilians enjoy the fat cap thick and soft that melts in the mouth when cooked.
If you score the fat cap, yes the meat itself will be more flavorful because the fat will melt while cooking and reach the meat under it. But it will also produce a thin fat cap, resulting in a leaner dish. 
 It really depends on your preference. There isn’t a wrong way!
Sear or not sear the picanha roast
I did NOT sear mine before roasting. Why? Because I didn’t need to! The main purpose of searing is to give the meat a beautiful brown exterior.
I brushed my picanha roast with olive oil which will give the meat a nice ‘suntan’ when roasting while helping the salt to stick to the surface.  
But if you would like the fat cap to be crispier, then go ahead and sear it before roasting. For this, score the fat cap slightly and then rub it in with coarse salt (no oil needed). Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat and sear the fat side down for a couple of minutes. Then, flip the meat and sear the underside for 1 minute more. Transfer to the oven and follow our recipe to roast it.


Calories: 475kcal | Protein: 83g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 5442mg | Potassium: 1337mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 6mg

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