I was in grade school when our farm changed over to raising cattle. What had been fields of dry bean seed were now planted in alfalfa, and a kitchen table once filled with seed catalogs became piled up with catalogs of black Angus bulls.

Often, we ate the cheaper cuts of meat, those with little market value. I used to call these cuts the caps and flaps. Today, these cuts are prized by restaurants and carry higher price tags, although still, they are more economical than the common cuts displayed in most meat counters.

This is a recipe for a ‘cap’ cut, sometimes called the Coulotte but is, perhaps, better known by its Brazilian name – Picanha. Many butchers will try to tell you the Coulotte is the same cut as the tri-tip, but they are not the same. The picanha is the sirloin cap, and it should be left with a quarter-inch layer of fat on it. The fat can be removed after cooking if you wish.

Cap cuts are tougher and are usually tenderized before cooking. But with sous vide, tenderization comes with time in the water bath. I believe sous vide is the best ways to cook picanha since you can pick the perfect doneness. Finish with a quick sear on the barbeque or in a cast iron skillet. Serve sliced thin with a fresh herb sauce like chimichurri.


1 sirloin cap with ¼ “of fat left on – sliced into 1-inch steaks

Salt and Pepper


Salt and pepper both sides of the steaks then put them into a vacuum bag and seal (I use the Food Saver). Set the desired temperature on your recirculation bath (136 for medium). Let cook for 2 – 3 hours. Remove the bag from the water and dry the steaks with a paper towel. Quickly sear the dried steaks in a cast iron pan or on the grill. Let rest for ten minutes and then slice before serving.

Serve with chimichurri sauce (see recipe) and a fruit forward red wine like our 2015 Syrah.