Picanha (Sirloin Cap) Sous Vide

Kathy Lipin


This cut of meat changed my life! Bye-bye filet mignon, we seek sirloin CAP at Costco. Sirloin has long been loved by doctors for its leanness, but consumers balked at its toughness, requiring a marinade. No More! Sirloin has a lot of taste, if you can tenderize it sufficiently, and Sous Vide does that, with the same doneness from top to bottom! The sirloin cap is known and beloved in Brazil and Argentina by the name of Picanha, which is sold there with a thick layer of fat, whereas the American butchers trim that fat more. For food safety, I cook at 131F for 2-4 hours for Medium Rare.


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5 Min
2 Hr
No-Cook or Other


How to Make Picanha (Sirloin Cap) Sous Vide


  1. Set sous vide bath to 131 degrees Fahrenheit for pasteurized Medium Rare. If you prefer medium, set the temperature to 138 degrees Fahrenheit. Note: those used to eating Medium-Well steaks for food safety, can achieve the same food safety when cooking to a lower internal temperature (at 131 & above, as long as the cooking time has been extended to achieve pasteurization) ; I strongly advise not going over 138F, you will want to taste just how good Picanha is. (The "bible" for time and temperature can be found at douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vide.html).
  2. Trim the signature Picanha fat layer to 1/4 inch; it won't break down further during sous vide. Sprinkle all over with sea salt. (Nothing else!)
  3. Place salted meat in either a Ziploc freezer bag using the displacement technique, or in chamber- or vacuum-sealer bag. The bag must be BPA-free! Seal according to directions for chamber or vacuum sealer machine, or follow directions for water displacement method (amazingfoodmadeeasy.com/...sous-vide).
  4. Place the bag in preheated bath, and cook for 2-4 hours (the maximum recommended time is 4 hours; after that, the texture of the meat breaks down too much).
  5. Just before end of cooking time, prepare an ice water bath (half cold water, half ice) in a large stainless bowl. When cooking has finished, place unopened bag in the ice water bath for 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat searing pan. (A perfect searing pan can withstand 500 degrees F. A.] Many preheat their seasoned cast iron skillet into the oven for an hour at 500F; then the skillet is removed (carefully) when ready to sear and placed on the stove top with no heat underneath. The skillet will retain enough heat for a perfect sear in 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. B.] A seasoned carbon steel frying pan (same material as a good wok) will work as well. C.] Since I switched to basting the protein instead of heating oil in the skillet, I have been been able to get great sear marks using my Green Pan with grilling ridges, but at the lower temperature that pan requires.)
  7. Cut open bag, and remove meat with tongs. Pat dry with a paper towel. Then baste the blotted meat with your preferred oil (avocado oil is neutral and has a high smoke point; olive oil can work, but the searing temperature is too high for Extra Virgin olive oil).
  8. Sear the Picanha steaks for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side.
  9. There is no need to let the meat rest. Serve with Chimichurri sauce and vegetables of your choice.
  10. NOTES: This meat also is marketed as rump cover, rump cap, or coulotte. If your butcher is still confused, print out the picture in the Picanha wiki entry, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picanha

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About Picanha (Sirloin Cap) Sous Vide

Course/Dish: Beef
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Latin American
Hashtag: #sous vide

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