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Sirloin cap (also called culotte, coulotte, or picanha) is a tender, versatile, and slightly lesser-known cut of beef. It’s a great candidate for our easy reverse sear method, which you can do in the oven or on the grill. Don’t miss it.

sliced culotte steak / sirloin cap / picanha with chimichurri
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Why we love this recipe

Reverse searing is SUCH a genius technique. (Our reverse sear pork chops have gotten super-popular, in case you’re into that sort of thing.) You cook the meat in a low oven or grill until it’s almost done and then sear the bejeezus out of it briefly to finish. This results in perfectly cooked, tender meat with a gorgeous golden-brown crust.

This fabulous cut of beef is:

  • Super-flavorful (known for its bold, beefy flavor)
  • A very tender cut
  • Amenable to a wide variety of marinades and sauces, but also great on its own
  • Quick-cooking
  • Great by itself or sliced for sandwiches and salads
  • Among the most prized cuts of beef in Brazil, where it’s called picahna and used for churrasco

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make a great reverse sear sirloin cap. Psst…it ain’t much!

raw sirloin cap, salt, and pepper
  • Sirloin cap (a.k.a. culotte // coulotte // picanha — so ask for any of those at the butcher) can weigh in anywhere between about a pound and two and a half pounds. Buy one or two, depending on size, to serve four to six people. It has a fat cap on one side, which is great for searing. This cut is fabulously tender and is known for its hearty beefy flavor.

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

How to make it

Reverse searing this cut of beef really couldn’t be easier. This cut is so tender — and the method is so controllable — that you can relax and enjoy even if you’re not super-experienced cooking meat.

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.

  1. First you’ll slice a crosshatch pattern into the fat cap. Cut just deep enough to go all the way through the fat, without slicing into the meat. Leaving the fat on helps the meat stay tender. Crosshatching lets the fat cook up crispy without changing the shape of the meat.
  2. Roast the meat in a low oven (250°F / 121°C) or grill it over low, indirect heat.
  3. Then get the pan blazing hot and sear it until golden-brown and cooked to your desired final temperature (or grill briefly over direct heat).
  4. Resting is important to let all the gorgeous juices reabsorb into the meat. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and then slice against the grain.

Why reverse searing works

This cooking method, which works best for thicker cuts of meat, has several advantages. Compared to traditional roasting or grilling, it gives you:

  • More even cooking throughout the steak or roast, thanks to the lower oven temperature and longer timeframe
  • More tender results, because the meat spends more time in the temperature zone where enzymatic activity helps break down tough muscle fibers
  • Better browning, because the low and slow stint in the oven creates a thin, dry layer on the surface that takes well to searing

Expert tips and FAQs

Is sirloin cap tender?

It really is! This is a GREAT cut of meat. It’s tender and super-flavorful on its own but also works well with whatever marinade, rub, and/or sauce you like.

Is top sirloin the same as sirloin cap?

It’s not, exactly. The cap is the triangle-shaped part at the top of the top sirloin, which is a larger cut that sometimes includes the cap and sometimes is sold “capless.” You can see the distinction easily in this great butchering video.

Where can I get one?

North American butchers tend to divide the cap and include it in other cuts, so you won’t often find it in the grocery store. We get ours from Butcher Box, and you can ask for one at the butcher, too.

What does it mean to cut steak against the grain?

Beef has visible muscle fibers that run in one direction. You can see them before and after cooking. To cut against the grain, which results in more tender slices, you want to cut across those muscle fibers rather than parallel to them.

Final internal temperature

As with all beef, the final temperature of your sirloin cap should be:

  • 120° to 125ºF / 49° to 52ºC for medium-rare
  • 130°F / 50ºC for medium

A note on timing

In the oven

Depending on the size of your sirloin cap and the performance of your oven, it may take longer than the designated time to come up to 105°F (or 115°F for a medium- to medium-well final result). A common mistake is to turn up the oven at this point. Just be patient and leave it in at the prescribed temperature until it reaches 105°F.

On the stovetop

The timing of the final sear will also affect the final temperature. Start by searing the side with the fat cap for several minutes, until nicely browned and rendered. Then flip and sear the other side until the meat reaches your desired final temperature.

How to serve it

This is a super-versatile cut that’s great sliced with or without sauce (like the chimichurri pictured here, or our popular cilantro sauce). It would be great in a sandwich or on a salad, or in tacos or burritos.

In the summer, try it with potato salad and/or esquites and a green salad.

In the winter, serve it over Yukon gold mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower with smoked gouda.

sirloin cap / picanha / culotte steak with chimichurri

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picanha with chimichurri
4.44 from 73 votes

Reverse Sear Sirloin Cap with Chimichurri

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Sirloin cap (also called culotte steak, coulotte steak, or picanha) is a fantastic, tender, slightly lesser-known cut of beef. It lends itself beautifully to our easy reverse searing method. You can serve it with the chimichurri linked here, or however you like. On salads or sandwiches, plain, or with your favorite sauce.
Cook: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds sirloin cap
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Chimichurri, to serve

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 250°F (121°C) with a rack in the center.
  • Pat sirloin cap dry with paper towels.
  • Score the fat in a crosshatch pattern. Make the cuts deep enough to cut through the fat but not through the meat. See video and step-by-step photos in post for visual cues.
  • Sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper.
  • Place meat cut-side down in a cast iron pan.
  • Roast for about 30 to 45 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 105°F (41°C) if you'd like the final result to be medium-rare, or 115°F if you'd like the final result to be medium to medium-well. Depending on the size of your sirloin cap, it may take longer. Don't be tempted to turn up the heat — just be patient and cook it until it reaches the prescribed temperature.
  • Remove meat from pan and place pan over high heat on stovetop.
  • Place meat back in pan and sear for several minutes on the side with the fat cap, until nicely golden brown and rendered. Flip and sear on the other side until the outside is browned and the roast has reached your desired internal temperature — 120° to 125ºF / 49° to 52ºC for medium-rare, or 130°F / 50ºC for medium.
  • Rest 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.
  • Serve with chimichurri sauce (if you like).

Notes

  1. We source our sirloin cap from ButcherBox.
  2. To cook the steak on the grill, use two zones. Cook the steak over indirect heat until it reaches 105°F (41°C), and then sear briefly on all sides over direct heat.
  3. Be sure to let steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  4. Slicing against the grain means finding the direction in which the muscle fibers run and cutting across them rather than with them. In the photos and video here I did it wrong! I was lulled into a false sense of security by the cross-hatching on the fat and didn’t pay enough attention. You can see how the muscle fibers run parallel to the slices. Luckily sirloin cap is beautifully tender, and these slices were great anyway. But do as I say, not as I do!
  5. Sirloin cap is great hot or at room temperature.
  6. Leftovers will keep tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week.
  7. This is a very versatile cut and a simple preparation. Use it on sandwiches or salads, eat it plain, or dress it up with virtually any sauce or compound butter that you like.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 552kcal, Protein: 61g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 209mg, Sodium: 1185mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Beef
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.44 from 73 votes (73 ratings without comment)

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23 Comments

  1. What should the final internal temp be? I cooked my butcher box top sirloin in the oven until 105?F but had to sear for soooo much longer to get the internal temp above 135 even, at least 15 minutes.

    1. Hi Aaron, final internal temp for sirloin cap should be the same as for other beef. 120° to 125°F for medium-rare, 130°F for medium. 135°F would be too high for most people, but it’s a matter of personal preference. Thanks for your question — I updated the post with more information about final temperatures.

  2. Yum!!! I made this on the grill last night. Indirect heat for 30 min, then a quick sear. It came out perfect! I also subscribe to Butcher Box, & the reverse sear method is beautiful for this cut of meat. Thanks so much for posting!

  3. Recently retired from ESPN. Had crazy hours for many years and ate mostly packaged frozen meals and take out. Love cooking and now have the time to explore and try out new things. This one was a joy to prepare and perfectly exquisite to eat. Thank you for your excellent instructions and tips. This is a keeper for me. A great big culinary bravo to you. Definitely going g to keep you on my radar! Thanks again.

  4. AMAZING! I had never cooked a sirloin cap and was hesitant to try…I am so glad I tried it. My Husband is super picky and he loved it. Easy recipe and directions were perfect.

    Thank you!

    1. I made this with chimichurri the other night and it turned out delicious, extremely flavorable. I made two big pieces together. The first night we ate one, however, it was not very tender.
      I took the second piece and put it in sous vide at 130 degrees for 12 hours, and it turned out magnificent! Very tender!
      In the future I’m always going to sous vide it for 12 hours before searing.
      Excellent recipe though and we love the chimichurri!

  5. I do have a question about the temperature. 250* F for 30 mins? Mine was not even 80* internally at 30 mins. Did I do something wrong?? Thank you..

    1. Hi, Kim! 250°F is the correct temperature for this method. The 30 minutes is just a guide, since both the meat itself and people’s ovens vary pretty dramatically. Keep it in the oven until it reaches 105°F, even if it takes longer. Hope you love it!

    2. Same thing happened to me. Not even close to 105° after 30 minutes. And my oven is brand new. Ended up finishing it off in a hot oven for about 8 minutes to bring it to 125.

      1. Hi Laura, the best way to reverse sear would be to keep cooking at the low temperature until it reaches 105°F. I know it’s tempting to turn it up, but patience is rewarded with perfectly cooked sirloin cap. There’s nothing wrong with cooking it in a hotter oven — it’s just not really how reverse searing works.

  6. Followed this recipe to a T and the results were absolutely perfect! I had this cut of meat sitting in my freezer for months because I was too intimidated to cook it. So glad I found this recipe and that it worked out so well. Thank you!

  7. I’m from Argentina, It takes me more than an hour to slow grill a 3-4 lbs coulotte
    Thick layer of Bbq salt on the fatty side over indirect or low heat on the grill ( wood preferably or propane with wood chips)
    Fat side down for 45 to 60 min, no flames, don’t touch it, enjoy a Malbec drink and once charred, flip it for another 15 or 20 minutes
    Some chimichurri or salsa Parrillera goes great

  8. Just wanted to add a correction to the part where you say leftovers will last for a week. If there are any leftovers, they will not make it through the night. I guarantee it.