I don’t know about you, but whenever someone mentions Picanha I think of steaks skewered onto a rotisserie and grilled over fire, then sliced right onto your plate by waiters at the restaurant.
Although a popular option, it is more popular for tourists, as the Brazilians prefer their rump cap sliced into steaks, salted, and char-grilled.
Grilled rump cap steaks
The rump cap is a cut of beef taken from the of the round primal. This cut can go by many names, including picanha, fat cap, coulotte, or top sirloin cap.
It’s a lean cut from the hindquarter of the animal that comes with a characteristic thin layer of fat covering one side.
There are many ways to prepare this cut, but my favorite is sliced into steak, grilled over charcoal, and then drizzled with chimichurri sauce.
Guide to buying rump cap
Normally when buying any cut of beef, bigger is always best. This is not so when it comes to rump cap. The rump cap is normally only around 2.5 pounds in weight. If it is much larger than that then you are more than likely paying for the cheaper and harder cut of silverside.
The issue with silverside is that it needs to be cooked low and slow. If you cook silverside using this method, not only would the end pieces be tough to eat, they would have cost a lot more, than if I was to buy the two cuts separately.
So the best rule of thumb is, when selecting a rump cap, buy them when they weigh less than 2.5lbs and also look for a nice even fat cap. You’re looking for a good quarter to a half-inch fat cap.
I brought my rump cap for this cook from Vermont Wagyu where it is labeled Coulotte.
Seasoning, go hard, or keep it simple?
Traditionally the Brazilians would only use coarse sea salt, and we’re going to keep it simple as well.
Setting up the grill
A propane grill will do the job just fine, but this is one of those recipes that just goes so well over charcoal.
Light the charcoal, and when it’s all white, transfer it to one side of your grill, so you have a hot and cool zone.
After the grill has had time to warm, place the steaks on the cooler side opposite the lit fuel.
If you are using a gas grill, you can achieve the same effect with the burners.
When the steaks reach an internal temperature of 80°F, turn them over and track their internal temp to 115°F. Once they hit 115°F, put the steaks directly over the hot coals, this will create smoke, fire, and flavor.
Just keep an eye on the steaks and turn them regularly and keep track of their internal temps with an instant-read thermometer. Once they hit that perfect 130°F medium rare, they can come off the heat.
Rest the steaks for 10 minutes, slice, and enjoy.
I like to serve my grilled rump cap with a traditional chimichurri sauce.
I chop all the ingredients by hand, but you can pop it in a food processor and give it a few pulses until it comes together.
You can serve the chimichurri on the side, or drizzle it over the sliced rump cap.
Other grilled steak recipes
- Coffee Crusted Ribeye
- Grilled Porterhouse Steak
- Grilled Steak Pinwheels
- Steak Cooked Directly on the Coals (Caveman Style)
Grilled Rump Cap Steaks
- 2.5 lbs rump cap
- coarse sea salt
- 2 cups parsley finely chopped
- 2 cups cilantro finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil more as needed
- 1 lime juice only
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- pince of red pepper flakes optional
- Cut the rump into 1" thick steaks, following the grain of the meat.
- Season with coarse sea salt.
- Set grill up for indirect dual zone cooking with a a hot and cooler side
- Place steaks on cooler zone and cook until internal temp reaches 80°F.
- Turn steaks over and cook until the internal temperature reaches 115°F.
- Grill steaks directly over the searing coals turning regularlylg until internal temperature hits 130°F and a nice crust has developed
- Take steaks off the heat and rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl