Cooking picanha on a Traeger is really easy and makes for an affordable steak feast.
I wanted this to be the full on Traeger experience so I used the full line of Traeger products including the rub, sauce and pellets for this cook. The roast turned out pretty spectacular but there was at least one thing will change the next time I smoke one of these.
The only recipe for picanha that I could find in the Traeger app was unrealistic so I just sort of winged together this alternative recipe.
The Traeger app recipe starts with a wagyu picanha, cuts it into steaks and them skewers them on giant metal rods before grilling at 500F. Well, I don’t have any wagyu beef and I don’t have any giant metal skewers so I decided to just smoke this guy instead!
Season the Picanha with Traeger Beef Rub
I was using a two pound picanha roast with a generous fat cap. The roast was Choice Grade but since this is a pretty lean cut to start with so the grade of beef wasn’t that important. You can find this cut called a few different names such as:
- Top Sirloin Cap
- Rump Cap
The pichana cost about seven bucks per pound which is about a third less than what I have to spend on a tri tip (See Picanha vs Tri Tip for more info) and half as much as a ribeye (See Picanha vs Ribeye for more info).
I used Traeger’s “Beef Rub” dry rub to season both sides of the beef because, well, it sure seems like you should use the Beef Rub on beef!
If you don’t have any of the product on hand then here is the ingredient list so you can whip up a batch of something similar:
Traeger Beef Rub Ingredients
- Chili Pepper
- Cane Molasses
- Rice Concentrate
- Sunflower Oil
I am not 100% sure as to what is covered under “spices” but the rub tastes like it has some cumin and maybe a touch of celery powder.
This is basically a sweet and salty rub with just a touch of heat.
Choosing Wood Pellets
I was trying the Traeger Signature Blend pellets that I can find at Home Depot. These pellets are a blend of cherry, hickory and other hardwoods.
I believe the “Signature” pellets are the exact same as the the “Gourmet” pellets sold at Costco except the Signature pellets are twice as expensive.
The only reason I bought the Signature pellets was that I had a Home Depot gift card that I needed to use.
Set Your Traeger to 225F for Smoking
Turn on your Traeger and set it to 225F.
There is no need to use the Super Smoke mode on this cook and we are going to be running at 225F the whole time.
I put the picanha on the smoker with the fat side down. I wanted the fat cap to be closer to the hot grease tray so it would render better.
After an hour start checking the internal temperature of the picanha in the thickest part of the roast with a digital thermometer. At the one hour mark the roast should be around 120F.
At this point you can Choose You Own Adventure with two options:
- Let the pichana keep smoking until it reaches 130F.
- Remove the picanha from the smoker, turn the temperature to 500F and perform a Reverse Sear.
Since the Traeger Beef Rub has a lot of sugar I decided to keep smoking. I was concerned that if I tried a Reverse Sear that the rub would scorch and get bitter.
Once the picanha hits 130F remove it from the smoker, tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Slice and Serve the Smoked Picanha
Slice the picanha thinly against the grain and serve as desired.
I felt like making some sandwiches so I served mine on a soft roll with lettuce, tomato and Traeger ‘Que barbecue sauce.
The Traeger ‘Que sauce is a thin sauce with primary ingredients of water, sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Basically it is a thin, sweet sauce with some flavor aspects that works well with beef.
How Did it Turn Out?
The Traeger smoked picanha had a great smoky beef flavor.
My only complaint was that I thought both the Traeger Beef Rub and Traeger ‘Que sauce were too sweet for the beef. I like to pair beef with bold and spicy flavors, not sweet. FYI…I fixed this problem when I made a Traeger Smoked Tri Tip and the flavors were more appropriate.
Traeger Smoked Picanha
- Picanha (Top Sirloin Cap) 2.5 lbs
- 3 tbsp Traeger Beef Rub
- 3 tbsp Traeger Que Sauce
- Season the picanha with Traeger Beef Rub
- Turn on your pellet grill and set the temperature to 225F
- Smoke the picanha for one hour.
- Baste the meat with the Traeger Que Sauce.
- Smoke the picanha for 30 more minutes or until an internal temperature of 135F is reached.
- Remove the meat from the grill, allow to rest for 15 minutes and slice against the grain.