Mastering the Art of Reverse Sear Picanha: A Culinary Journey

Written by: Samir P.



Time to read 5 min


Grilling enthusiasts and carnivores alike can attest to the joy of indulging in a perfectly cooked cut of beef. While many steak-cooking methods exist, the reverse sear has gained popularity for its ability to produce a consistently succulent and flavorful result. In this culinary exploration, we delve into the art of reverse sear picanha – a Brazilian favorite that promises a symphony of taste and texture.

Understanding Picanha

  • Picanha, a beloved cut of beef originating from Brazil, is a culinary gem that has gained international recognition for its unique flavor, texture, and distinct triangular shape. Also known as a sirloin cap or rump cover, the picanha stands out due to its generous fat cap and rich marbling, contributing to its juiciness and robust taste.
  • The triangular shape of the picanha is a result of its specific location on the cow – it comes from the top of the sirloin section, where the fat cap covers one side. This cap is a crucial component that adds flavor and moisture to the meat during cooking. The marbling, or intramuscular fat, further enhances the tenderness and taste of picanha, making it a favorite among steak enthusiasts.
  • When preparing picanha, it's essential to appreciate the interplay of flavors between the meat and the fat. Seasoning is often simple, with kosher salt and pepper being the primary players. This minimalistic approach allows the natural flavors of the picanha to shine, showcasing the quality of the cut itself.
  • In Brazilian culture, picanha is often prepared using traditional grilling methods on skewers (espeto corrido) or as individual steaks. The appreciation for this cut extends beyond Brazil, as it has gained popularity globally, becoming a sought-after choice for those who relish the experience of savoring a well-cooked, flavorful steak.
  • Whether grilled to perfection, roasted, or prepared using other cooking methods, picanha offers a carnivorous adventure that captivates the senses. Its tenderness, marbling, and satisfying fat cap make it a standout choice for those looking to elevate their beef-eating experience. As you explore the world of picanha, you embark on a journey that celebrates the artistry of beef preparation and the joy of savoring a cut that truly stands apart.
Understanding Picanha for Reverse Sear

The Reverse Sear Method

Unlike traditional searing methods, where the steak is seared first and then cooked, the reverse sear flips the script. This technique involves slow-cooking the meat at a low temperature before finishing it with a high-temperature sear. The benefits of this method include a more uniform internal doneness, enhanced moisture retention, and a beautifully caramelized crust.

Step 1: Selecting the Perfect Picanha:

Begin your culinary journey by choosing a high-quality picanha cut. Look for well-marbled meat with a thick fat cap, as this will contribute to the final flavor and juiciness of the steak. Opting for grass-fed beef can also add a unique depth to the overall taste.

Step 2: Preparing the Picanha:

Before cooking, ensure the picanha is at room temperature. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat. Feel free to experiment with additional herbs and spices to personalize your seasoning blend.

Step 3: Setting up the Grill:

For the reverse sear, a two-zone fire on your grill is essential. On one side, create a low-temperature zone (indirect heat), and on the other, a high-temperature zone (direct heat). This setup allows for a controlled cooking process, preventing flare-ups and ensuring a gradual, even cooking.

Step 4: Slow-Cooking the Picanha:

Place the seasoned picanha on the low-temperature zone of the grill. Slow-cook it until the internal temperature reaches your desired level of doneness. This step requires patience, as the goal is to let the meat gradually reach its optimal temperature without rushing the process.

Step 5: The Searing Finale:

Once the picanha approaches the desired internal temperature, transfer it to the high-temperature zone for the searing finale. This step is crucial for developing a mouthwatering crust on the outside while maintaining a perfectly cooked interior. Aim for a quick sear on each side to lock in the juices and create a delightful texture.

Step 6: Resting and Slicing:

Allow the reverse seared picanha to rest for a few minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a juicy and tender result. Slice against the grain to maximize tenderness and reveal the beautifully cooked layers.

PIcanha Reverse Sear Method

Flavor Variations and Pairings

Regarding flavor variations and pairings for picanha, numerous creative options. The goal is to enhance the natural richness of the meat while introducing complementary flavors. Here are some flavor variations and pairings to consider:

  1. Chimichurri Sauce:

    A classic Argentine condiment, chimichurri is a vibrant and flavorful sauce made with fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. The acidity and herbaceous qualities of chimichurri add a refreshing contrast to the richness of picanha.

  2. Garlic and Herb Butter:

    Create a compound butter by mixing minced garlic, chopped fresh herbs (such as rosemary and thyme), salt, and pepper into softened butter. Spread this flavorful butter over the sliced picanha just before serving. The buttery goodness complements the beefy flavors.

  3. Smoky Spice Rub:

    Develop a smoky spice rub using ingredients like smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and a touch of cayenne pepper for heat. This rub will infuse a smoky and spicy kick, enhancing the overall taste of the picanha.

  4. Balsamic Glaze:

    Reduce balsamic vinegar to create a thick and sweet glaze. Drizzle it over the sliced picanha for a delightful tangy-sweet flavor contrast. You can also add a touch of honey to the ice for extra sweetness.

  5. Mustard Marinade:

    Marinate the picanha in a mixture of Dijon mustard, minced garlic, olive oil, and herbs. Mustard adds a zesty kick and helps tenderize the meat. Ensure to let it marinate for a few hours to allow the flavors to penetrate.

  6. Café de Paris Sauce:

    A non-alcoholic version of the famous French sauce, Café de Paris, can be made with a blend of herbs, capers, anchovies, mustard, and mayonnaise. This savory and piquant sauce pairs well with the robust flavors of picanha.

  7. Tomato and Basil Salsa:

    Combine diced tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar for a refreshing tomato and basil salsa. This pairs well with picanha, adding a burst of freshness.

Remember to tailor these variations to your preferences, and don't hesitate to get creative with herbs, spices, and condiments.

Pairings for Picanha

About One Stop Halal

Welcome to your favorite Butcher Shop. We carry various butcher meat cuts that are hard to find elsewhere. We deliver to your doorstep anywhere in the United States within 1-2 business days.


Mastering the art of picanha reverse sear is a rewarding journey for any grill enthusiast or home cook. This technique transforms a quality cut of beef into a culinary masterpiece, boasting a perfect balance of tenderness, flavor, and texture. As you embark on your reverse sear picanha adventure, savor each moment and relish the joy of creating a steak that celebrates craftsmanship and taste.

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