Coulotte Steak: Its Names, Location, Size, and Flavor Profile

Coulotte steak is a very popular cut in Brazilian cuisine. The Brazilians have a special name for it: “picaña”. “Picaña” is simply the Portuguese term for Coulotte. Conversely, the term “coulotte” comes from the French word “culot”, which means “cap”. This name refers to the thick layer of fat present on the side of the steak. Here’s a fun: picanha steak, coulotte steak, and top sirloin cap steak are all just different names for the same delicious cut of beef.

What is Coulotte Steak?

Coulotte steak, also known as the top sirloin cap steak, is a cut of beef from the top sirloin. Butchers usually cut this steak from a coulotte roast to a thickness of about 1-1.5 inches. This steak stands out with its generous layer of fat and a good amount of marbling. The coulotte steak offers a tender, juicy bite with a decent beef flavor when perfectly cooked and sliced correctly. While many prefer to grill it, this steak also shines when prepared via sous-vide or pan-searing. A valuable tip to remember is to always slice the cooked coulotte steak against the grain to achieve the best tenderness.

Raw coulotte steak also known as picanha steak
Raw coulotte steak

What Are the Other Names for Coulotte Steak?

The Coulotte steak has several other names in the United States, such as coulotte, top sirloin cap, sirloin cap, and picanha steak. Interestingly, picanha is currently the most popular term, even though it originates from Portuguese. On the other hand, not many use “Coulotte” possibly because it’s a bit tricky to pronounce.

raw picanha roast
Raw coulotte roast

Where Does Coulotte Steak Come From on the Cow?

Coulotte steak comes from the coulotte roast in the sirloin area of the cow. This roast comes from the top sirloin butt sub-primal, a part of the biceps femoris muscle.

Coulotte steak location on cow

What is Coulotte Steak Good For?

Coulotte steak is a top pick for those who love grilling. You can cook it just like any other steak or even skewer it. After it’s cooked, it goes well with whatever side dishes you love. Many enjoy it as a salted steak with veggies or salads and your favorite sauces. Coulotte steak also works wonderfully when thinly sliced for sandwiches, tacos, and other similar dishes.

How to Cut Cooked Coulotte Steak?

Always cut your cooked coulotte steak against the grain to ensure maximum tenderness. For coulotte steak, this isn’t just a suggestion; it’s a must. If you decide to cut along the grain, you’ll find that each bite becomes tougher, making it harder for your teeth to tear through the long muscle fibers.

Butchers usually slice the coulotte roast into steaks along the grain. This choice makes cutting steak against the grain easier once it’s cooked. To better illustrate this, imagine a raw coulotte roast sliced into steaks in two ways: one along the grain and one against it. After cooking these steaks, you’ll notice visible differences in their muscle fiber structures.

Where to Buy Coulotte Steak?

Buying the coulotte steak may be tricky because it’s often available under different names. Many stores label it as picanha or top sirloin cap steak. While a choice-grade coulotte steak is flavorful and will impress most, there’s always the option to upgrade to prime-grade beef or even the wagyu for an enhanced experience. Finding the right grade of coulotte steak in your local store might be challenging. That’s when online butcher shops can be a lifesaver.

Five 1.5-inch thick Coulotte steaks
Five 1.5-inch thick Coulotte steaks

Based on my experience, shops like Snake River Farms, Crowd Cow, and Porter Road are top picks. They offer a range from choice grade to prime and wagyu beef. And remember, this steak might pop up under one of its alternate names. 

The Bottom Line

I’ve covered the basics of coulotte steak in this article. For a more in-depth look, check out my other article, “What is Picanha: Its Location, Size, Names, and Flavor Profile“. Picanha is just another term for coulotte steak. That’s why I suggest that article – it has all the deeper details, so I don’t have to double up on content here.

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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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