Updated: Jul 24
Although my husband and I do a fair amount of grilling (we have a gas grill), we are pretty inexperienced at smoking things, as we do not have a smoker (nor the room for one). We recently got a Lodge Cast Iron Smoker Skillet, though, which essentially turns your gas grill into a smoker, so when my father mentioned that he had a couple of Picanha Steaks (aka Top Sirloin Cap or Culotte cut) in his freezer, my husband jumped at the chance to play with our new toy. Holy smokes, was it a success!!
This recipe utilizes my Good on Everything Rub, which is my go-to for all things barbecued/grilled/smoked/etc, but you can certainly use any other spice blend or BBQ rub you'd like. Don't skip the Three-Herb Chimichurri, though. The herbal tang of the sauce is the perfect foil to the fatty, meatiness of the steak.
Let's get smoking, shall we?
Smoked Picanha Steak with Three-Herb Chimichurri
Two 1 1/2-lb Picanha Steaks (also called Culotte or Top Sirloin Cap)
3 tablespoons Good on Everything Rub
4-5 large cloves garlic
Large handful Italian (flat-leaf) parsley with stems
Large handful cilantro with stems
Large handful basil leaves without stems
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the steaks with the fat cap facing down on a sheet pan and season with kosher salt. Transfer sheet pan to refrigerator and chill, uncovered, about 90 minutes.
While the steaks are chilling, make the chimichurri. Place garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mince. Tear the parsley and cilantro stems into 2-inch sections and add to the food processor, along with the basil leaves. Add the chile flakes and red wine vinegar and turn the food processor on. With the food processor running, add 1/4 cup olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything gets pureed. Add more olive oil if you want a more pourable consistency. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
About 30 minutes before you are ready to pull the steaks from the refrigerator, get your smoker setup going. You want the internal temperature of your grill/smoker to be at about 180 to 190 F.
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and, using a sharp knife, cut a cross-hatch pattern in the fat cap. Rub the steaks with the Good on Everything Rub.
Place the steaks on the grate of the grill/smoker over indirect heat and with the fat cap facing up. Allow steaks to smoke until they reach an internal temperature of 110 F. This will likely take about an hour, but the best way to keep track is to use a thermometer probe set up like this one so that you don't have to keep opening the smoker/grill, thereby letting out the smoke and messing with the temperature of the smoker/grill. Once you've reached the 110 F mark, adjust the temperature of the smoker/grill up to 45o F and cook until the internal temperature of the steaks reaches 120F (for medium rare). This will likely take another 20 minutes or so, but, again, using a thermometer probe will allow you to monitor the precise internal temperature of your steaks without disturbing the smoking process.
Remove the steaks from the smoker/grill, tent with foil, and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve with Three-Herb Chimichurri, some baked sweet potatoes, and a salad for a complete (and completely delicious) meal.
Suggested Wine Pairing: This recipe just screams for a bright, bold, almost spicy red wine, such as the Mesa Reserve Syrah from Zaca Mesa Winery. We happened to have a three-year vertical of it, which is one of our favorite ways to make even an average dinner feel like a celebration.