I bought a twin pack of picanha the other day at Costco. I cooked one of them on my pellet grill and decided to try the second by Sous Vide to see which way I liked better.
It turns out that it was an easy decision as the picanha I cooked by Sous Vide was much more tender than the one I smoked on my pellet grill. Stick with me and I will show you how this cut was prepared, seasoned cooked and served so you can make it yourself.
About Costco’s Picanha and the Fat Cap
Picanha, also know as Top Sirloin Cap, Coulotte and Rump Cap, is from the sirloin primal. Costco is selling the roasts as a two pack which costs around $6 per pound. Unlike most of the steaks and roasts at Costco, the picanha is sold in its original cryovac packaging and has not been blade tenderized.
The roasts typically weigh a little over two pounds and have a thick fat cap on one side. There are two schools of thought when it comes to the fat cap.
Many people say that the fat cap is the defining characteristic of the roast and to remove it is lunacy. They say the combination of succulent fat with the earthy beefiness of the meat is what makes picanha such a beloved cut of beef.
On the flip side, many people dislike eating a mouthful of fat and want the fat cap removed. There is also a layer of silverskin underneath the fat that imparts an extra amount of “chew” to each slice.
I decided to make the purists angry and removed the silverskin and fat cap before I cooked this one. Most of the fat was used for dog snacks but I did save some to render and sear the steak.
Leave it on if you want.
How to Cook the Picanha by Sous Vide
When I am dealing with beef I usually go for dry rubs with big flavor profiles like this award winning brisket rub.
For this cook I went in the opposite direction and all the steak got was a generous coating of salt on all sides. I am guessing I used about two tablespoons of salt.
The picanha went into a FoodSaver bag and was vacuum sealed before being dropped into a 133.5F water bath with the temperature maintained by an Anova immersion heater.
I used a chip clip to hold the bag on the side and prevent floating and let the steak simmer for three hours. This is pretty much the same way I cook sous vide tri tip roasts as well.
After the steak cooked at 133.5F for three hours I removed it from the bag and patted it dry with paper towels.
Sear the Picanha
I took a few strips of of the trimmed fat cap and rendered them down in a cast iron skillet to generate about three tablespoons of beef tallow.
I heated the skillet until the fat started to smoke then added the picanha and seared the steak for two minutes per side. It wasn’t the best sear that I had ever put down on a steak but it worked well enough.
Slice and Serve the Picanha
After the steak has been seared it is time to slice the picanha against the grain and enjoy!
I was surprised to discover that the heavy salting was all of seasoning that this steak needed and I will be rethinking how I season other steaks going forward.
This picanha was noticeably more tender than the smoked picanha I made on my pellet grill. The extra cooking time really made a difference in tenderness and I wouldn’t hesitate extend the cooking time to 4-5 hours like I did for the Sous Vide London Broil if I had the extra time to spare.
We served the sliced steak “Fajita Style” with sautéed peppers and onions. I threw some purple slaw, tomatoes and sour cream onto mine and used some Romaine lettuce instead of a tortilla.
This was seriously delish and incredibly easy. Nothing wrong with that at all!
Sous Vide Picanha from Costco
- Immersion heater
- 2 lbs picanha
- 2 tbsp salt
- Fajita Fixings
- 1 large bell pepper
- 1 small sweet onion
- Season the picanha liberally with salt on all sides.
- Vacuum seal the roast in a FoodSaver bag.
- Cook the picanha by Sous Vide for 3-6 hours. Longer cook times will increase tenderness.
- Remove the picanha from the bag and pat dry with paper towels.
- Sear the steak with rendered beef fat in a cast iron skillet for two minutes per side.
- Let the picanha rest for at least 15 minutes while you prep the onions and peppers.
- Slice the peppers and onions, season lightly with salt and pepper then sautee in a hot wok with a touch of canola oil.
- Slice the rested picanha against the grain then serve with onions and peppers with tortillas or lettuce wraps.