Picanha (or sirloin cap) is one of the meatiest cuts of steak there is. It has a generous later of fat and incredible natural flavor, which is why cooking picanha (or sirloin cap) sous vide can’t be beat! The result is perfectly cooked, juicy and oh-so tender picanha steak every time. Serve with homemade horseradish dijon sauce, and your favorite steak sides.
I loooove picanha – it’s far and away one of my favorite sous vide treats. Although simpler beef cuts like sous vide tri tip and sous vide strip steak tend to be weeknight go-tos, the picanha cut makes an appearance in our home a few times a year and it is always a winner.
Sous vide is the best method for red meat because you’re never going to risk overcooking it, which is so important when you’re shelling out a lot of cash for these cuts! Even better, I can teach you how to sous vide frozen steak.
So, what is picanha?
PICANHA. The holy grail of meat lovers and sous viders everywhere.
According to fan favorite Wikipedia:
“Picanha is a cut of beef called sirloin cap in the United States or the rump cap in the United Kingdom, that is popular in Brazil. In the United States, it is little known, but referred to as the rump cover, rump cap, or culotte.”
Another important question: how do you pronounce picanha? Pee-kahn-uh. Like the nut!
How to Make Sous Vide Picanha
I have been trying to get my hands on picanha for months. Months, I say! And last month, when I was placing my monthly Porter Road order, I saw it in their inventory and jumped at the chance.
P.S. Have you heard of Porter Road? They are my favorite online butcher. The quality of meat is going to up your cooking game with no effort on your behalf.
First things first, I seasoned the picanha thoroughly with salt and pepper.
Then I vacuum sealed it and dropped it into the sous vide water bath.
Time and Temperature for Sous Vide Picanha
But now the hard part: time and temp. I really psyched myself up to cooking it. I did a ton of research, asked all of my sous vide friends for their opinions, and really thought about all of the red meat cooks I’ve done. Here’s what I eventually settled on for my picanha, and it was perfect: 131 degrees F for 6 hours.
Why 131? Typically, I like my steaks at 129, but I really wanted the fat cap to get to render. Not to mention, for long cooks like this, it’s safest to cross the 130 threshold to pasteurize the meat.
Why 6 hours? This is where I really deliberated. A lot of people say 2 hours is plenty. But this is a really thick cut with a massive fat cap, and two of my favorite sous vide people, Cole Wagoner and Erika Turk of Food and Frenchies, recommend a 6-8 hour cook. And I would not go any shorter.
This delicious, meaty cut eats like a prime rib. No exaggeration, here. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever cooked.
After the sous vide bath, I let my cast iron skillet get to smoking temps. I covered the picanha in mayo (a mayo sear is king for crust and browning!), then seared the fat cap first to render the fat down so I wouldn’t need to use another cooking oil. Then I continued to sear on all sides until well-browned. The thickness of the crust gives you wiggle room with time: you can sear for a little longer without worrying you’ll overcook.
To serve, I made a sauce with horseradish cream, dijon mustard, minced garlic, fresh parsley, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Oooh my gosh, it was the perfect accompaniment.
If you make this recipe, it would mean the world to me if you’d rate and review below! It helps other people find this recipe, too.
You can also view this recipe as a step-by-step web story here.
Get the Recipe:
Sous Vide Picanha with Horseradish Dijon Sauce
- Preheat waterbath with immersion circulator to 131 degrees F for medium-rare.
- Season picanha liberally with salt and pepper. Vacuum seal and add to water bath. Cook for 6-8 hours.
- While the picanha is cooking, prepare the sauce by mixing together horseradish cream, dijon, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until time to serve.
- When picanha is done, thoroughly pat dry with paper towels and reseason with salt and pepper.
- Cover the picanha in a thin layer of mayonnaise on all sides except the fat cap.
- Bring a cast iron skillet to smoking over high heat. Sear the picanha on the fat cap side first until deep golden brown. Continue to sear on all other sides until deep golden brown on all sides.
- Remove to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes. Slice into 1/2 inch thick slices and serve with Horseradish Dijon Sauce.