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Skewered Picanha with Homemade Chimichurri Sauce

Picanha is a South American cut of beef that comes from the upper rump region. Also called the rump cover, rump cap, top sirloin or culotte.

The traditional way to cook Picanha is inspired from Brazil. Typically, it is grilled over coals with a rotisserie on large skewers, and when done the meat is shaved from the skewers directly onto the plate. With this recipe you will also skewer them and thanks to hanging vertically in the Hero Smoker & Grill you will get that same “rotisserie effect” – just like the Brazilians do it!  If you have not tried Picanha steak you do not know what you are missing! It is one of our favourite cuts of beef as it packs flavour and is simply sublime when served of the skewer with some freshly homemade Chimichurri sauce!


Prep Time:  15 mins

Cook Time: 1hr

Resting Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 1 hours 25mins

Ideal Internal Hero Smoker & Grill Temperature: 110°C

Ideal Cooked Serving Temperature: 54 – 57 °C (Medium rare)

Recommend Cooking Method: Indirect, skewered and hanging of steaks for smoking and then directly over hot coals to sear.


Course: Main Dish


Servings: 4-8 people


Optional: Place 2 / 3 Oak or Cherry wood chunks within your charcoals / briquettes to impart further flavour




Picanha Steaks:

  • 1 x Whole Picanha with the fat cap on or 12-16 Picanha butcher pre-cuts
  • 2 x Tbsp ground sea salt
  • 2 x Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 x Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Chimichurri Sauce:

  • ½ x Cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 2 x Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ x Cup finely chopped parsley
  • 4 x Cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 2 x Small red chillies or 1 x red Chili, deseeded and finely chopped (about 1 x Tbsp finely chopped chilli)
  • ¾ x Teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 x Tsp ground sea salt
  • 1 x Tsp ground black pepper


  1. Light your Hero Smoker & Grill according to instructions.
  2. Preheat the Hero smoker to a medium temperature of around 110°C.
  3. While waiting for the Hero smoker to reach the desired temperature start getting your Picanha ready.
  4. Rinse the whole cut (or butcher pre-cut steaks) and use a kitchen towel to pat dry on your Firesmith Hardwood Chopping board.
  5. Do not remove the fatcap. This is what makes the cut unique and served the way the South Americans intended it to be served. Fat gives flavour, so if you want to cut it off (you really shouldn’t though), only do so after cooking, so that the fat can still penetrate and infuse the meat with flavour whilst cooking.
  6. Score the fat cap for the seasoning to penetrate deeply into the beef.
  7. Thoroughly season the cut with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
  8. If you brought a whole Picanha cut, be sure to cut steaks that’s at least 5cm – 6cm thick to skewer correctly and to allow for slower indirect cooking.
  9. Skewer the Picanha steaks using the Firesmiths Hanging Skewer Set and hang vertically in the Hero smoker to cook for about 45-50 mins or until the internal temperature reaches roughly 47°C (for a medium rare cook – take into account the resting and searing later of the steaks will take you to full medium rare – 54-57°C). To measure the internal temperature of the steaks accurately use the Firesmiths Instant Read Thermometer. Take the guesswork out. You don’t want to overcook these steaks.
  10. While waiting for the Picanha steaks to cook & smoke, start whisking to together all the ingredients for the Chimichurri sauce in a bowl and allow for 5-10 minutes for it to release all the yummy flavours into the oil before serving. Ideally let it sit for more than two hours if time allows.
  11. Once done smoking in the Hero smoker, pull the steaks off and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  12. As the Picanha steaks rest, now is the time to get the hot coals ready to finish the steaks with that delicious brown sear. Take note - you need high heat (190°C+) so be sure that your coals are hot (they should be fine still) but if not top up with some hot coals using your Firesmiths Chimney Starter.
  13. When the steaks are done resting, sear them directly over the hot fire for about 1-2 mins per side ensuring the fat cap is nicely rendered and that you have a good sear.
  14. Slice of the skewers at the dinner table and baste the meat with the Chimichurri sauce. Keep remainder of the sauce in the bowl on the table for those that want some extra sauce. Enjoy!

FIresmiths notes:

  • If you buy pre-cut Picanha steak from your local butcher be sure that they are at least 5cm-6cm thick and of similar size. If not ask them to either cut it for you or take a whole cut and cut / trim yourself at home. You want to have similar cooking times / doneness for all the steaks.
  • Leave the fat cap on – it’s how this dish is meant to be served and its delicious!
  • Do not overcook it. Picanha although tasty, and full of flavour, is not as tender as other beef cut as there is not a lot of fat between the muscle fibres. Make sure therefore to cook this rare or medium rare so that it comes out tender and monitor the temperature carefully.
  • Don’t use a food processor or blender to blend the Chimichurri sauce that will make it pasty / pureeish in texture. It supposed to be a loose, oil-based condiment that drips over your food.
  • Red wine vinegar is the best vinegar for a Chimichurri sauce. Use lemon juice as a substitute if you don’t have red wine vinegar. We don’t recommend balsamic vinegar or white vinegar.
  • Chimichurri can be made 24 hours in advance and refrigerated should you want to make it before.
  • Chimichurri is fantastic on chicken, fish, salads, and vegetables as well. Give it a try!
  • Remember that you Hero Smoker & Grill is very versatile by being able to cook direct or indirect. The heat diffuser was made to perform two functions to enable this– if flipped down it creates a barrier between the charcoal basket for a more indirect cook and if you flip it around and then place the charcoal basket on top of it, you then move the coals closer to the grill – therefore creating more direct heat. Perfect for searing steak that needs a hotter temperature.