Pan Seared Picanha Steak

PREP TIMEREST TIMECOOK TIMETOTAL TIME
5 mins45 mins to 24 h10 mins1 to 24 hours

If you love picanha but can’t grill it the classic way, this pan-seared picanha steak is a game-changer. It’s packed with the goodness of herbs, garlic, and butter, making it a close runner-up to your favorite grilled version. Perfect for anyone who’s either stuck inside or doesn’t have a grill.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

To prepare a picanha steak in a skillet on the stovetop, you’ll need:

  • Picanha steak (1.5 to 2 inches thick)
  • 1 tablespoon high-smoke point oil (I recommend avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme or rosemary springs

The Tools You’ll Need

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Instant Read Thermometer

How to Cook Picanha Steak on a Stove

First, gather all the ingredients together. Then, follow the steps below. But this isn’t just any recipe; I’m sharing some of my favorite tips to help you cook the perfect picanha steak on the stove.

all ingredients for pan seared picanha steak
Ingredients: Black pepper, garlic, salt, butter, avocado oil, rosemary, and picanha steak

Step 1: Prepare the Picanha Steak

Take the picanha steak out of the fridge and pat it dry with some paper towels. Then, choose how you want to salt it based on your time and what you’re after:

  • Option 1: Salt the steak generously on both sides, put it on a rack so air can circulate around it, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This method brings out the best flavor, crust, and tenderness.
  • Option 2: Give your steak a good salt rub and let it rest for 45-60 minutes at room temperature. That gives the salt plenty of time to penetrate the meat, making it tastier. However, please remember that this will still not beat the taste and tenderness you’d get from Option 1.

Important: Remember to take the steak out of the fridge at least half an hour before cooking it. A steak that rests at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking will be more evenly cooked and have a smaller gray band. To learn more, see my guide on Resting Steak Before Cooking: Why & How Long.

I usually choose option one because the results are so good. I only skip it if I absolutely have to. I know waiting a whole day seems like a lot, but trust me, it’s worth it. The steak is way more flavorful, with that perfect crust we all love. Option two is your next best bet if you’re short on time. It’s still tasty, just not as spectacular.

Step 2: Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet

Did you follow the recipe and prepare the picanha steak as suggested in the first step? If you’re all set, let’s heat the pan. Put your cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes. After that, add in a bit of refined avocado oil and let it heat up for another minute. The skillet should reach around 400-450°F in 3-4 minutes, perfect for searing steak.

Now, let’s get back to the steak. If it feels still wet on top, pat it dry with a paper towel. Then, season it well with finely ground black pepper on both sides and move to the next step.

Cast iron skillet heated to 464.1°F
raw picanha steak on a wooden board with the Steak Revolution logo
Picanha steak seasoned with ground black pepper

Step 3: Place the Picanha Steak in the Skillet

Gently lay the seasoned picanha steak on the hot pan. Press it down with your hand or tongs so it makes good contact with the pan. Flip the steak about every 30 seconds; this helps cook it more evenly.

Cook the steak until its internal temperature hits about 90°F. Then, move on to step 4 below.

Step 4: Add the Herbs, Garlic, and Butter

Once the steak hits 90°F, add herbs (thyme or rosemary), garlic, and butter to the pan. While the butter melts, give the sides of your steak a quick sear.

After the butter has melted, turn down the heat to medium-low. Then, give the pan a little tilt so all that lovely melted butter gathers in one spot. Now, grab a spoon and start spooning that butter over the steak. Please keep it nice and rhythmic for about 30 seconds on each side. Do this until the steak reaches about 20°F below your target temperature, then take it out of the pan.

If spoon-basting isn’t your thing, there’s an easier way. You can tilt the pan to collect the butter, then dip the steak into that buttery goodness. Flip it every 30 seconds, just like before. Honestly, it’s pretty much the same deal as the spoon method, just a bit more straightforward.

Step 5: Let the Pan-Seared Picanha Steak Rest

After you remove the steak from the pan, set it on a cutting board or a rack if you have one. Let it rest for about 5-7 minutes. This resting time is important because the steak will continue to cook from the residual heat (carryover cooking), increasing its internal temperature by 20-25°F and ensuring it reaches the perfect doneness.

Picanha steak internal temperature: 135.9°F
Picanha steak internal temperature: 135.9°F
Picanha steak cooked to medium-rare and sliced on a wooden board
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pan seared picanha aka coulotte steak

Pan-Seared Picanha Steak

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  • Author: Adam Wojtow
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Rest Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Discover the rich flavors of this pan-seared picanha steak at home with this simple recipe. It guides you through the simple steps to achieve a flavorful, herb-infused steak right on your stovetop.


Ingredients

  • Picanha steak (1.5 to 2 inches thick)
  • 1 tablespoon high-smoke point oil (I recommend avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • 23 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme or rosemary springs


Instructions

  1. Prepare the Picanha Steak: Take the picanha steak out of the fridge and pat it dry. Generously salt the steak on both sides and choose between two methods:

    Option 1: Let it rest at room temperature for 45-60 minutes, then cook.
    Option 2: Refrigerate overnight for the best flavor and tenderness. (The next day, let the steak sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking.)

  2. Preheat the Skillet: Preheat the cast-iron skillet on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Add some avocado oil and let it heat for another minute until the skillet reaches 400-450°F. Pat the picanha steak dry if needed, season with black pepper on both sides, and move to the next step.
  3. Sear the Picanha Steak: Place the seasoned picanha steak in the hot skillet, pressing it down for good contact. Flip every 30 seconds for even cooking until the internal temperature reaches 90°F.
  4. Add Flavorings and Baste: Once the steak reaches 90°F, add herbs (thyme or rosemary), garlic, and butter to the pan. Sear the steak’s sides while the butter melts.

    Lower the heat to medium-low and tilt the pan to gather the butter. Spoon the melted butter over the steak for 30 seconds on each side until it is 20°F below your target temperature, then remove from the pan. Alternatively, tilt the pan to collect the butter and dip the steak, flipping every 30 seconds.

  5. Rest the Steak: After removing the steak from the pan, let it rest on a cutting board or rack for 5-7 minutes. This allows the steak to finish cooking and reach the perfect doneness.

FAQs

When’s the best time to remove picanha steak from the pan?

Thanks to carryover cooking, it’s best to remove a 1.5-inch thick picanha steak from the pan when its internal temperature is 20°F below your desired final temperature. Letting the steak rest 5-7 minutes after cooking will bring it to the perfect temperature.

Many people overcook their pan-seared steak because they miss this tip. So, don’t wait for the steak to reach your target temperature in the pan. Remove it earlier. This trick ensures your steak turns out just right every time. Always use a meat thermometer to monitor the steak’s internal temperature.

What is the best doneness for a pan-seared picanha steak?

I prefer my picanha steak cooked medium-rare (about 135°F). At this temperature, the fat starts to melt, making the steak juicy and flavorful. That’s my preference, though; feel free to cook your steak to the doneness you like best.

More Pan-Seared Steak Recipes To Try

Photo of author

Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow is a Polish entrepreneur and writer who founded Steak Revolution in 2020 because of his passion for steaks. Adam has been cooking steaks for over five years and knows a lot about them, including the different types of steak cuts, how long to cook them, and the best ways to cook any steak.

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