Have you ever heard of coulotte steak? It may not be as well-known as other cuts of beef, but it’s definitely worth trying. Also known as the top sirloin cap or picanha, coulotte steak is a tender, juicy and flavorful cut that is gaining popularity among meat lovers.

This lesser-known cut comes from the top of the sirloin and has a distinctive triangular shape with a layer of fat on top that adds to its flavor. It can be cooked in various ways, such as grilling, broiling or pan-frying.

If you’re wondering how to use coulotte steak in your cooking, there are many delicious recipes out there that showcase this cut’s unique flavor and texture. From simple salt and pepper seasoning to more elaborate marinades and sauces, coulotte steak can be a versatile addition to your culinary repertoire.

So why not give coulotte steak a try? With its tenderness, juiciness and rich flavor, it might just become your new favorite cut of beef.

Table of Contents

What is Coulotte Steak?

If you are a steak lover, then you must have heard about the coulotte steak. This juicy and flavorful cut of beef has gained popularity among meat enthusiasts in recent years. But what exactly is coulotte steak?

Cut from the top sirloin section of the cow

Coulotte steak is a cut of beef that comes from the top sirloin section of the cow. It is also known as Picanha in Brazil, where it is a popular dish in churrascarias (Brazilian steakhouses). The coulotte steak is triangular in shape with a fat cap on one side.

Triangular in shape with a fat cap on one side

The unique shape and fat content of coulotte steak make it stand out from other cuts. The triangular shape makes it easy to identify, while the fat cap adds flavor and moisture to the meat during cooking. When cooked correctly, this cut can be tender and juicy, making it an excellent choice for grilling or roasting.

Popular in Brazilian cuisine

As mentioned earlier, coulotte steak is popular in Brazilian cuisine, particularly at churrascarias. In Brazil, this cut is often skewered and grilled over open flames until crispy on the outside but still juicy inside. The traditional way to serve coulotte steak in Brazil is with farofa (toasted cassava flour), rice, beans, and salad.

How to cook Coulotte Steak?

Cooking coulotte steak requires some special attention due to its unique shape and fat content. Here are some tips for cooking perfect coulotte steaks:

  1. Season well: Coulotte steaks have a mild flavor that pairs well with bold seasonings like garlic, rosemary or thyme.
  2. Sear first: Start by searing your steaks over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side until browned.
  3. Finish in the oven: Transfer the steaks to a preheated oven and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until they reach your desired level of doneness.
  4. Rest before slicing: Allow the steaks to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

How to Prepare Coulotte Steak: Recipe and Cooking Instructions

Coulotte steak is a popular cut of beef that comes from the sirloin area. It’s also known as the top sirloin cap or picanha in Brazil. This cut has a rich flavor and tender texture, making it perfect for grilling or roasting.

Coulotte Steak Recipe


  • 2 lbs coulotte steak
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Season both sides of the coulotte steak with salt and black pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat.
  4. Sear the steak on high heat for two minutes per side until browned.
  5. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven.
  6. Bake for eight minutes for medium-rare doneness or until desired level of doneness is achieved.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes before slicing.

Cooking Instructions

Preheat Oven

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) before cooking coulotte steaks.

Sear Steak on High Heat

Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then add the seasoned coulotte steak into it. Sear each side for two minutes or until browned.

Bake in Oven

Once seared properly, transfer the skillet into preheated oven at 375°F (190°C). Bake it for eight minutes if you want medium-rare doneness or longer if you prefer well-done meat.

Rest Before Serving

After removing from oven, let your cooked coulotte steaks sit for five minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensure maximum tenderness.

Grilling Coulotte Steak: Tips and Techniques

Direct Heat Grilling Method

The direct heat method is the way to go. This means that you will cook your steak directly over high heat, which will give it a delicious crust while keeping the inside juicy and tender.

Cook Steak Over High Heat for 4 Minutes per Side

To get the perfect sear on your coulotte steak, you’ll need to cook it over high heat for around 4 minutes per side. However, cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of your cut and how well-done you prefer your meat. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your steak has reached an internal temperature of at least 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare or 145°F (63°C) for medium.

Let It Rest Before Slicing

After removing your coulotte steak from the grill, let it rest for at least five minutes before slicing into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensures that each bite is as flavorful as possible.

Fat Marbling

One of the things that makes coulotte steak so delicious is its fat marbling. The fat in this cut of beef melts during cooking, infusing the meat with flavor and moisture. When selecting a coulotte steak, look for one with plenty of visible fat throughout.


  • Preheat your grill before adding your coulotte steaks.
  • Brush each side of your steaks with oil or melted butter before placing them on the grill.
  • Use tongs instead of a fork to flip your steaks – piercing them can cause flavorful juices to escape.
  • Don’t press down on your steaks while they’re cooking – this also causes juices to escape.
  • For extra flavor, consider seasoning your coulotte steaks with a dry rub or marinade before grilling.

Grilling coulotte steak is a great way to enjoy this flavorful cut of beef. By using the direct heat grilling method and cooking your steaks over high heat for 4 minutes per side, you’ll get a perfect sear on the outside while keeping the inside juicy and tender. Remember to let your steak rest before slicing into it, and look for a cut with plenty of fat marbling for maximum flavor. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to impress your friends and family at your next barbecue!

Seasoning Coulotte Steak: Flavor Ideas and Suggestions

Salt and Pepper – The Classic Seasoning

The simplest way is often the best. Salt and pepper are enough to bring out its natural flavor. A good quality sea salt will enhance the taste of the steak while black pepper adds a subtle spiciness to it.

To season coulotte steak with salt and pepper, start by patting the meat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on both sides of the steak, rubbing it in gently. Then, add freshly ground black pepper on both sides.

Garlic Butter – Adding Richness to Your Steak

Garlic butter is a classic seasoning that can add richness and depth of flavor to your coulotte steak. To make garlic butter, start by melting unsalted butter in a pan over medium heat. Once melted, add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

To season your coulotte steak with garlic butter, brush it generously with the mixture before grilling or searing. Alternatively, you can also melt garlic butter over the top of your cooked steak just before serving.

Dry Rubs – For Extra Flavor

Dry rubs are an excellent way to infuse extra flavor into your coulotte steak. They are easy to make at home using simple ingredients such as garlic powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, and more.

To create a dry rub for your coulotte steak, mix together your desired spices in a bowl until well combined. Then massage the mixture onto both sides of the meat before cooking.

Here are some delicious dry rub options:

  • Smoky BBQ Rub: smoked paprika + brown sugar + garlic powder + onion powder + cumin
  • Spicy Cajun Rub: paprika + cayenne pepper + thyme + oregano + onion powder
  • Mediterranean Herb Rub: oregano + thyme + rosemary + garlic powder + lemon zest

Chimichurri Sauce – Complementing the Bold Taste

Chimichurri sauce is a popular South American condiment that pairs perfectly with coulotte steak. It is made with fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar.

To make chimichurri sauce at home, combine chopped parsley, cilantro, garlic cloves, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse until well combined but still slightly chunky.

To season your coulotte steak with chimichurri sauce, spoon it over the top of your cooked steak just before serving. You can also use it as a marinade for your meat before grilling or searing.

Serving Coulotte Steak: Accompaniments and Side Dishes

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are a great option for an accompaniment. Asparagus or carrots pair particularly well with this cut of beef. Simply drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper before roasting in the oven at 400°F for around 20 minutes until tender.

Mashed Potatoes or Sweet Potato Fries

Mashed potatoes are a classic side dish that go well with most meats, including coulotte steak. To make mashed potatoes, peel and chop potatoes into small pieces before boiling in salted water until tender. Drain the water and mash the potatoes with butter, milk, salt, and pepper until smooth.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to traditional French fries, sweet potato fries are a great option. Cut sweet potatoes into thin strips and toss them in olive oil before baking in the oven at 400°F for around 25 minutes until crispy.

Chimichurri Sauce

Marinades can add flavor to your coulotte steak but if you prefer something lighter yet flavorful, chimichurri sauce is perfect! It’s a popular Argentinean sauce made from fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes (optional), salt & black pepper.

To make chimichurri sauce:

  1. Finely chop parsley and cilantro leaves along with garlic.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Let it sit for about an hour so that flavors combine.

Chimichurri sauce can be used as both a marinade or topping on your coulotte steak.

Black Beans

Black beans are another great side dish that complement coulotte steak well while adding protein to your meal. To make black beans:

  1. Rinse canned black beans with water and drain.
  2. In a pan, sauté chopped onions in olive oil until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add black beans, cumin, salt, and pepper to the pan and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

Quinoa Salad

For a healthy side dish that complements coulotte steak well, try making a quinoa salad with fresh vegetables like cucumber, tomato, bell pepper or avocado. To make quinoa salad:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Mix cooked quinoa with diced vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the mixture before seasoning with salt & black pepper.

Red Wine

Red wine is an excellent choice! The bold flavors of the beef pair well with full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.

Checking Internal Temperature of Coulotte Steak: Recommendations

Use a Meat Thermometer to Check Internal Temperature Accurately

When cooking coulotte steak, it is crucial to check its internal temperature accurately. The best way to do this is by using a meat thermometer. A meat thermometer will give you an accurate reading of the internal temperature of your steak and ensure that it is cooked safely and correctly.

To use a meat thermometer, insert the probe into the thickest part of the steak, making sure not to touch any bones. Take note of the temperature reading on the thermometer. If you are unsure about what temperature your steak should be cooked at, refer to our next talking point.

For Medium-Rare, Aim for an Internal Temperature of 130°F (54°C)

Coulotte steak is best served medium-rare. This means that its internal temperature should reach 130°F (54°C). At this temperature, the steak will have a warm pink center with a slightly browned crust on the outside.

If you prefer your steak cooked differently, refer to these recommended internal temperatures:

  • Rare: 120°F (49°C)
  • Medium: 140°F (60°C)
  • Well-Done: 160°F (71°C)

Remember that these temperatures are just guidelines. You can cook your coulotte steak according to your preference; just make sure that it reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).

Let It Rest After Cooking Before Cutting Into It

After cooking your coulotte steak, let it rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it. This allows the juices in the meat to redistribute evenly throughout the entire cut and prevents them from spilling out when you slice into it.

While resting, cover your coulotte steak loosely with foil or place it in a warm oven set at around 200°F (93°C). This will keep it warm without overcooking it.

High Heat is Essential for a Perfectly Cooked Coulotte Steak

When cooking coulotte steak, high heat is essential. This will give your steak a nice sear and crust on the outside while keeping the inside juicy and tender.

To achieve this, preheat your grill or pan to high heat before cooking your steak. Once hot, place your coulotte steak on the grill or pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side until you reach your desired internal temperature.

Enjoy Your Deliciously Cooked Coulotte Steak

In conclusion, coulotte steak is a delicious cut of beef that can be prepared in various ways. Whether you choose to grill it or cook it on the stovetop, seasoning it with your favorite flavors and serving it with complementary sides will make for a mouthwatering meal. Don’t forget to check the internal temperature to ensure your steak is cooked to perfection.

So go ahead and try out different recipes and techniques until you find the perfect way to cook your coulotte steak. With its tender texture and rich flavor, this cut of beef is sure to impress your taste buds.

Happy Cooking!


Q: How do I know when my coulotte steak is done?

A: The best way to determine if your coulotte steak is done is by checking its internal temperature using a meat thermometer. For medium-rare, aim for 135°F (57°C), while medium should be around 145°F (63°C).

Q: What are some good seasonings for coulotte steak?

A: Some popular seasonings for coulotte steak include garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and paprika. You can also experiment with different marinades or rubs.

Q: Can I grill coulotte steak without a barbecue?

A: Yes! You can use a grill pan on the stovetop or even broil it in the oven for similar results.

Q: What are some good side dishes to serve with coulotte steak?

A: Some classic side dishes that pair well with coulotte steak include roasted vegetables like asparagus or Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.

Q: Is coulotte steak expensive compared to other cuts of beef?

A: While prices may vary depending on location and availability, generally speaking, coulotte steak tends to be more affordable than other premium cuts like filet mignon or ribeye.


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