Don’t be fooled by the fancy name, coulotte is a cut everyone can enjoy

Mole-Rubbed Coulotte

A hidden delight of being a ButcherBox member is the monthly unpacking. As proof, check out one of the hundreds of videos people have posted online of them opening and discovering the cuts included in each month’s shipment.

One of the reasons the unboxing can be so exciting is that each month we include unique, difficult to find, and often underappreciated cuts of beef, pork, and chicken.

In the February box, some members may have come across a slab of beef that has a name they may not be familiar with: Coulotte, which is also known as top sirloin cap.

This cut is derived from the triangular muscle of the top sirloin butt, also known as Biceps femoris. Coulotte is a lean steak that comes from this hindquarter section of the cow, specifically between the loin and the round. Often a couple of inches thick, Coulotte is usually identified by the thin layer of fat that covers one side of the cut. The fat layer gives coulotte much of its flavoring as there is little marbling inherent in this cut.

The name ‘coulotte’ itself has a bit of complicated backstory. There is some confusion over the derivation of the word from the original French. Some believe the word is closest related to ‘culot,’ meaning cap, a reference to the location and thin layer of fat of the top sirloin cut. However, there is also a belief that the name coulotte is derived from the French word ‘cul,’ meaning bottom or, to the dirtier-minded, is slang for the human derriere. This interpretation is taken from the French word’s relation to the Latin word ‘culus,’ meaning bottom, and refers to the location of the muscle in the cow’s hindquarters or backside.

To complicate matters further, another cut, the ribeye cap, which is very different steak altogether, is known in France as the ‘calotte,’ a name also related to the cap-like nature of that cut.

One thing is clear, when dry-seasoned and cooked carefully — do not overcook — the coulotte is a delicious steak. The cut is fantastic when cooked on a grill, but it is also has a great deal of other uses, including for kabobs, steak sandwiches, stews, stir fry, shredded Mexican-style beef, and more. However, most people are first introduced to the top sirloin cap by its Brazilian name, picanha, which is the specialty of Brazillian churrascarias — steakhouses that grill and slice the steak off a skewer.

“Coulotte is hugely popular in Brazilian BBQ,” our in-house ButcherBox chef Yankel Polak said.

“It’s crazy tender with a beautiful fat cap that just melts and crisps as you cook it,” he added. “Sliced thin and against the grain, this hunk of sirloin will literally melt in your mouth when treated properly, which is medium rare or skewered and slow roasted over an open fire.”

Chef Yankel loves a good mole. However, preparing the dish can be time-intensive. “Cheat the system by using mole-inspired flavors — peppers, nuts, spices, and chocolate — as a rub instead of a sauce,” he suggests. “Then top it all off with a spicy tomatillo salsa.”

Here’s Chef Yankel’s recipe for Mole-Rubbed Coulotte (Top Sirloin Cap) with Tomatillo Salsa.

Servings: 4 Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 1½ hours


  • 1 ButcherBox Coulotte (Top Sirloin Cap)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup pecan
  • ¼ cup almond
  • 1 dried ancho chili
  • 1 dried chipotle chili

Tomatillo Salsa

  • 6 tomatillo, husk removed and rinsed
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice


  1. In a food processor, combine kosher salt, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, cocoa powder, both chilies and nuts.
  2. Pulse until chilies and nuts are finely chopped.
  3. Rub both sides of coulotte roast with the spice rub.
  4. Refrigerate for 3 hrs or overnight.
  5. Place coulotte on sheet pan and roast in 200℉ oven until internal temperature is 115℉.
  6. Remove from oven and sear in hot pan on all sides, 1½ min per side. Let rest for at least 8 min, then slice thinly against the grain.

Directions: Tomatillo Salsa

  1. Toss tomatillos, garlic, and whole peppers in avocado oil.
  2. Place on sheet pan and roast in a 400°F oven for 15 min or until tomatillos and peppers are browned from roasting.
  3. Remove from the oven and place items in a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 min.
  4. Remove the skin of the tomatillos and peppers, and the seeds from the peppers.
  5. Place tomatillos, peppers, garlic and the liquid from the mixing bowl in a food processor.
  6. Add lime juice and puree.
  7. Serve over the coulotte and enjoy!
*New customers only.

This post first appeared on the ButcherBox blog, Roam. If you want some of the delicious, healthy meat mentioned in this post, subscribe by clicking here or on the banner above.

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