Do you want to try a new cut of meat but don’t want the hassle of learning something new and complicated?
Introducing the shoulder steak - an incredibly versatile, cheap, and easy-to-make steak.
Pork shoulder steak is often overlooked, many pitmasters preferring the more expensive Porterhouse, without realizing you can roast, smoke, grill, fry, and slice shoulder steak.
It is one of my favorite cuts of meat and is wonderfully flavorful.
In this article, I’m going to introduce you to the delicious shoulder steaks - where to buy them, where to use them, and my favorite ways to cook them.
Summary of the Key Findings
- Shoulder steak can be used in many recipes and be cooked in different ways, from the grill to the oven.
- This meat isn’t easy to find at the store, so you should know where you can buy it.
- A shoulder steak has to be prepared correctly before cooking.
- It can be cooked in two ways: grill or pan-fry. Both of these have several steps you should follow to end up with delicious tasting meat.
What is a Shoulder Steak?
Shoulder steaks are exactly what it says on the tin or the label, for that matter.
Coming from the shoulder area of the pig, the pork steak sees quite a lot of activity when the pig is moving around.
It has less marbling than most cuts, so it tends to be tough when cooked wrong.
This juicy pork comes from the same primal cut used for pulled pork and is quite chewy due to the high amount of collagen found in the meat.
Pork shoulder steak also holds a lot of flavors, making for a delicious cut when used for slow cooking.
“If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork.” - James Beard, Chef
Pork shoulder usually contains a bone; however, you can either ask your butcher to cut it out for you or do it yourself at home.
I love the shoulder steak due to its meaty texture, and even though it is a little coarser than most, it is still delicious in its own right.
Shoulder steaks are on the cheap side when it comes to pork and can often be found on sale.
However, the low price tag shouldn’t put you off - if anything, you’re getting a great cut of meat for less.
With a generic name such as shoulder steak, it’s no surprise that many people get confused.
In fact, you’ll want to be very specific when buying this cut, especially since the beef shoulder is a lot more popular than pork.
Many cuts also come from the pig's shoulder, some tougher and others more tender .
Pork shoulder steak is also referred to as:
- Pork Shoulder Blade Steaks - Pork shoulder is cut from near the neck and usually contains the shoulder blade bone.
- Boston Butt - Despite its name, it is not from the rear end of a pig.
- Arm Steak - Again, due to the placement of the cut.
Where to Use Pork Shoulder Steaks?
There are tons of recipes you can use pork steaks in. As I mentioned earlier, here’s what you can do with them:
- Grill - Prep time is quick, and grilling is easy
- Pan fry - Very easy, no need to fire up the grill
- Roast - Can take up to an hour but makes for tender meat
- Slow cook - This cooking process takes up to 8 hours, however, it makes the pork steak incredibly juicy and tender
- Smoke - Can take many hours, but adds great flavor and tenderizes the meat
- Oven - Best when cooked low and slow
Pork shoulder steaks work great as pulled pork or served as a pork roast. When you cook pork steaks properly, they may even be better than pork chops.
Where to Buy This Cut of Meat?
You may have a hard time finding pork shoulder steak at your local grocery store, but it is possible. You will, however, have more luck at your local butchers.
Asking for boneless pork will save you a lot of hassle.
If you’re friendly with your butcher, you could even ask them to slice the steak since it can usually be found at 5 - 8 pounds. Ask them to cut it down to 3-4 inches thick.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a popular cut of meat, so you may have to call ahead of time and ask your butcher to order it in.
Again, be specific about what you want. You don’t want to order pork and end up with beef steak - believe me, it can happen.
How to Prepare Pork Steaks?
There are two steps you’ll want to take before grilling or pan-frying your pork steak.
As mentioned, you can try many ways of cooking this steak. However, today I will be sharing two of my personal favorites.
How to prep your pork:
- Add a good marinade - Marinating the meat beforehand will not only infuse it with flavor but also help tenderize the otherwise tough cut.
- Tenderize - This step is optional, but pounding your pork with a meat tenderizer could help soften the steak if it doesn’t have much marbling.
To create the marinade, you should mix together garlic powder, olive oil, fresh or dry oregano, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and cumin.
How to Cook Pork Shoulder Steaks?
My favorite ways to cook pork shoulder steaks are to cook them on a charcoal grill or gas grill (either is fine) and pan-fried.
To grill your steak, you will need to:
- Step 1: Mix up your favorite marinade and place the steaks into a deep dish. Cover with the marinade and let them sit for a few hours in the refrigerator.
- Step 2: Pull your marinated pork out of the fridge and let it adjust to room temperature. Meanwhile, light up your grill to medium-high heat.
- Step 3: Take the excess marinade off the steaks and cook each side for 6-8 minutes, depending on how thick the cuts are. Before you flip the steaks, add some salt and pepper, adding some more black pepper a few minutes before taking them off the grill.
- Step 4: Loosely cover with foil and allow to rest. Always cut the meat against the grain to perfectly cut through the fat. Going with the grain will make the cut tough, even with a sharp knife.
Cook your pork shoulder steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
To pan-fry your pork, you will need to:
- Step 1: Let the pork steaks marinate inside the refrigerator for a few hours before bringing them to room temperature.
- Step 2: Heat a cast-iron skillet over your stovetop on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Once hot, add a splash of olive oil.
- Step 3: Place your marinated steaks into the stovetop, cooking each side for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook both sides until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit through the thickest part .
- Step 4: Season with salt and pepper, resting the pork before slicing and serving.
My favorite way to serve pork shoulder steak is on a big platter or cutting board, surrounded by an array of side dishes, such as potatoes, corn on the cob, sweet peppers, coleslaw, salad, potato salad, tomato sauce, etc.
You may also find craft beer to complement the boneless cut perfectly.
Do I need to trim the fat off pork shoulder steaks?
No, you don’t need to trim the fat off pork shoulder steaks. You can leave the fat on - especially if you enjoy that fatty flavor.
Pork steaks don't have much saturated fat to begin with, and cooking with fat will help make the steaks softer.
Is pork steak chewy?
No, pork steak is not necessarily chewy. If cooked properly, pork steak can be tender and flavorful.
My favorite way to cook it (when I have a lot of time on my hands) is smoking it for 8+ hours.
Why Choose Pork Steaks?
This cut of meat is incredibly flavorful, versatile, and not to mention cheap. Pork shoulder steak includes a good amount of vitamins, iron, and niacin.
When you cook this cut right, you’ll be left with a tender cut of pork, perfect for adding to a ton of recipes.
Remember, marinating your pork with your favorite marinate (I recommend lots of garlic powder) will not only tenderize your pork but also make it incredibly flavorful.