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5 from 10 votes

Picanha Recipe

This South American inspired Picanha Steak Recipe with Chimichurri & Corn is truly summer on a plate. Lots of grilling & even more flavor! The chimichurri is spicy and tangy, while the corn salsa is sweet and charred. The steak is perfectly seasoned with lots of salt and pepper. It is fresh and vibrant, yet super hearty!
servings2 people
prep15 minutes
cook25 minutes
course: Main
cuisine: Mexican
author: Brianna May



  • cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup packed parsley leaves and stems*
  • 2 Tablespoons oregano leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons green onions sliced thinly

Corn Salsa

  • 2 ears of corn, husk removed
  • 1-2 jalapeños
  • olive oil for brushing
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes*

Picanha Steak

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ pounds picanha beef top sirloin steak*
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  • Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.


  • In a food processor, add the olive oil, vinegar, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, and red chili flakes. Pulse a few times until the leaves are mostly broken up but not into a paste.
  • Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and fold in the green onions. Set aside.

Corn Salsa

  • Place the corn on a microwave safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave it for 3 minutes.
  • Remove the paper towel immediately to stop the corn from steaming. Brush the cobs and the jalapeños generously with olive oil.
  • Heat a grill pan (or outdoor grill) over high heat. Grill the corn and jalapeños for 1-2 minutes on all sides or until some grill marks develop.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the lime, honey, and salt.
  • Slice the corn off the cob. Cut the jalapeños in half, remove the seeds, and dice. Add the corn, jalapeño, onion, and tomatoes. Fold until well combined. Set aside.


  • Place the steak on a cutting board fat side up. Using a sharp knife, make a large cut across the fat cap without cutting into the meat. Repeat multiple times in both directions creating a cross hatch pattern.
  • Combine the salt and pepper in a small bowl. Press the seasoning into the crevices of the fat cap.
  • Repeat on each side of the meat.
  • In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high. Place the meat in the skillet fat side down. Sear for 4-5 minutes or until a deep brown crust forms.
  • Flip and sear the other side for 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and place on a cutting board. Cut the meat with the grain into 3-4 1.5-2 inch thick steaks.
  • Place the steak back into the cast iron (raw side down) to finish cooking. Sear for 1-2 minutes per side or until they have reached desired temperature. Place on a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slice the steak against the grain into about ¼ inch thick pieces.
  • Garnish with lots of corn salsa and chimichurri.
  • The corn will continue cooking when it is grilled so it does not need to be cooked all the way in the microwave.
  • You can leave the seeds for extra spice.
  • You want the herbs to be chopped, not completely pulverized. Add more oil if it is too thick.
  • Use pressure to massage the seasoning into the steak so it adheres.
  • Do not move the steak around while it cooks. This prevents a crust from forming.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the steak. Medium rare is about 125-130 degrees.


Parsley: You can use ½ cup of parsley and ½ cup of cilantro to add even more flavor. 
Cherry Tomato: I like to use rainbow cherry tomatoes if they are in season. You can also use regular red cherry/grape tomatoes, or diced roma tomatoes.  
Picanha Steak: This Brazilian cut of steak is harder to find at the everyday grocery store, but can be found at a butcher or specialty grocery store. It looks more like a roast and has a large fat cap. It is also called a top sirloin cap, rump cover, or cap. You can use ribeye or sirloin steak instead.
Prepare the accompaniments first. The chimichurri and the corn salsa are totally optional, but they add so much flavor. Prepare these before starting the steak. This allows all of the flavors to meld together and ensures you are not scrambling after the steak is done. You can even prepare these the day before. 
Do not over process the herbs. The consistency of chimichurri is different from pesto. It should be less like a paste and more like chopped herbs in oil. If it seems too thick, you can add more oil.   
Score the fat. As the fat comes in contact with the hot pan, it begins to melt or render. Scoring the fat helps it render even better ensuring you do not have tough or chewy pieces of fat.
Press in the seasoning. Use pressure to pat in the salt and pepper so it really adheres to the meat. 
Use high heat. Be sure the cast iron skillet is super hot before you put in the steak. This is how you get a deep brown crust to form and the fat to render. 
Use a meat thermometer. I rarely cook protein without using my meat thermometer. It is the only foolproof way to cook meat perfectly every time.  Medium rare is around 125-130 degrees. The meat will rise a couple of degrees as it rests. 
Rest the steak. This prevents all of the juices from immediately running out of the steak. 
Cut the meat against the grain. This makes the length of the meat fiber shorter making the meat easier to chew. This is why cutting against the grain makes it feel more tender.
Did you make this recipe?Mention or tag @bites.with.bri_ or use the hashtag #biteswithbri!