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5 from 11 votes

Picanha Steak with Chimichurri & Corn

This South American inspired Picanha Steak Recipe with Chimichurri & Corn will teach you how to cook picanha steak and what to serve it with. This cut of steak with its juicy fat cap is very popular in Brazil and is often cooked over an open flame.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Low Lactose
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 701kcal
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 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.


  • Cherry Tomato: Swap for ½ cup of diced roma tomatoes or any tomatoes that you have on hand. 
  • Picanha Steak: It is also called a top sirloin cap, rump cover, or cap. You can use ribeye or sirloin steak instead if you cannot find picanha at your local supermarket. 
  • 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.
  • 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 to check the internal temperature. 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 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.


Calories: 701kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 39g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 2997mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g