What Is Teres Major Steak (10 Popular Questions Answered)

Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: March 8, 2024

If you’ve been reading our site, then you’re probably familiar with most standard beef cuts and frequently use them in your carnivore diet. But, what about the lesser-known cuts such as teres major beef?

If you haven’t tried this cut, then you’re missing out. We’re here to give you a quick rundown of this cheap and delicious option. We’re sure you’ll love it just as much as we do.

Quick Summary

  • Teres Major steak is a cut from the shoulder or chuck area of the cow, also known as shoulder tender, petite tender, or medallions.
  • Originating in Lockhart, Texas, this steak is part of Texas mesquite-style BBQ and is known for its flavor and tender texture.
  • According to a 2002 study by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, muscles from the chuck, including the teres major, generally produce more palatable steaks compared to those from the round, despite the round's higher yield and number of steaks [1].
  • The best way to cook Teres Major steak is by searing it on a hot grill for 3 or 4 minutes on each side.

What Is The Teres Major Cut?

teres major meat

The Teres Major steak, a tender cut of beef from the shoulder or chuck area, is often seen as a hidden gem. Known by various names like shoulder tender, petite tender steaks, medallions, or beef clod to an American butcher, it is a highly valued cut among those in the know.

A 2006 study published on PubMed, checked the effects of postmortem aging on the tenderness of seventeen individual beef muscles. Teres Major was among the only two types of beef whose values of muscles didn't decrease with increasing postmortem aging time, which shows improved tenderness [2].

If you're aiming to grill Teres Major steak, it's a prime candidate for being cooked medium rare to maintain its tender texture.

For the best results, consider searing the Teres Major on high heat, which imparts a delightful crust while preserving its juicy interior. Using a meat thermometer, aim for an internal temperature of around 130-135°F for medium rare.

The process yields major steaks that, when properly rested and sliced against the grain, offer a melt-in-your-mouth experience similar to more well-known cuts, making it a fantastic choice for steak enthusiasts seeking something a bit different.

Brief History

The teres major steak originated in Lockhart, Texas, and it’s a central part of a Texas mesquite-style BBQ recipe. It has been prepared since 1900 using the same recipe with low heat and a slow cooking method.

"It has become a popular part of the chuck because it resembles filet mignon, but it’s cheaper and just as tender.

There's a lot of work that goes into retrieving these small steaks (we only get 2 lbs from every 1,400 lbs beef!), but it's so worth it!"

- Porter Road Butchers [3]

meat questions

1. What Part of the Cow is Teres Major Steak?

Teres Major Steak comes from the shoulder area of the cow and lies directly above the flank and flat iron steak.

It is part of the muscle and connective tissue that connects the shoulder blade to the front of the steer’s shoulder.

It resides near the chuck steak, which is usually reserved for a roast due to its tough exterior. The teres major steak is never as tough as chuck roast meat, however.

A good butcher will know exactly where to find the Teres Major bistro filet.

2. Is Teres Major Steak Tender Cut the Same as Beef Clod?

Beef clod is another name for the Teres Major beef tenderloin. You can ask for either of these names at a butcher shop, and you’ll get the shoulder tender to which we are referring. The beef clod is best-served medium-rare or rare.

3. What Does Teres Major Steak Taste Like?

The Teres Major steak tastes like a beef tenderloin or a petite tender cut. It has more fat than a filet mignon, which makes it taste way better.

It may not have the tenderness of a great filet mignon, but it’s packed with more flavor.

There’s a reason that filets are often wrapped in bacon, which is to add extra fat to the cut.

You will never find a teres major steak wrapped in extra fat since it cooks well by itself. Many people say it tastes pretty much like a mix of tenderloin and a filet mignon.

4. What Makes Teres Major Steak Taste so Great?

The reason the Teres Major steak tastes so good is that it comes from a portion of the cow that has very little tough connective tissue. It is the muscle that connects the humerus to the back of the shoulder blade.

It is never sinewy or tough like other steaks from the shoulder area. It has a fantastic flavor without adding much to it except kosher salt.

5. Why Is Teres Major Steak Tender Cut Such A Rare Cut?

The Teres Major beef steak is a rare cut because it takes a lot of skill and practice to extract it from the chuck of the steer. It is much easier for a butcher to extract the flank and flat iron steaks. It is also a small piece of meat. You will rarely find any of  Teres Major steaks over 10 oz.

6. Why is the Teres Major Steak Tender Cut Steak so Cheap?

The Teres Major steak is cheap because it has less fat marbling than a standard filet or tenderloin.

It doesn’t quite have the same buttery texture as an expensive ribeye, but it still has the intense flavor punch that many of us carnivores love. It is almost a third cheaper than filets.

7. Should You Trim the Fat on Teres Major Tender Cut Steak?

We recommend leaving the fat on the Teres Major steak when you cook it. It usually only has a small bit of fat towards the back and around the edges, which will help keep it tender when you sear it on the grill.

This steak has very little fat throughout so it’s not particularly marbled. The fat around the edges keeps the meat tender and moist over high heat.

Recommended Article: What's Our Favorite Knife for Cutting Meat?

8. What is the Best Way to Cook it?


The most popular way to cook Teres Major steak is to use a searing method, which we will explain in the steps below. You can also prepare a grilled Teres Major steak over indirect heat, which will take longer but add a smokey flavor.

Another thing we find fascinating about this cut is that it gets a bit thicker as it cooks.

During our review cookout, we noticed that it came out a full half-inch thicker when we pulled the steak from the grill.

While it doesn’t seem like a lot, the difference still makes a good story to tell.

Step 1

We would suggest that you cook this cut of meat on the grill every time. We like to season it with coarse kosher salt and some pepper. You don’t have to do too much to it.

You can also season it with a rub or other steak seasoning, but if it’s your first time, then we would tell you to stick with the kosher salt and pepper. Please don’t overdo it.

Step 2

Make sure that your grill is hot and nice so that you can get a great sear on each side of the steak. The best way to cook this meat is hot and fast.

Throw the meat on the grill and sear it on each side for about 3 or 4 minutes. You’ll see that the meat gets puffy and juicy almost right away.

If you like your meat rare, then it will probably be done after a quick sear. If you would like a more medium-rare teres major, then turn off the grill and close the lid.

Leave the meat on the grill to bake in the heat until the desired doneness.

Next, get the meat off the grill and let it rest for 3 or 4 minutes. While searing, you can also insert a dual-probe meat thermometer to check the internal temperature every minute to ensure you achieve medium-rare goodness.

9. What to Serve with the Teres Major Cut?

Since seared Teres Major meat is similar to beef tenderloin, we think it goes best with savory side dishes. We love it with a savory mashed or baked potato recipe.

It also goes well with roast asparagus, cherry tomatoes, or other vegetables, even with medium-rare ones. We advise cooking what you like since this steak goes well with almost anything.

You can also prepare a peppercorn or mushroom sauce in just a few minutes which will help bring out the natural flavors of the meat.

Related Recipe: How to Grill Eggplants

10. Where Can I Buy Teres Major Steaks?


You might be able to see the Teres Major muscle meat cut at your local grocery store, but the last time we went, we didn’t see it. Some people have been able to get it at a specialized or whole foods store.

We recommend checking with your local butchery to see if they have it in stock. If they don’t, they’ll probably be able to give you a call if they get any.

The other option is to shop around online with one of the meat delivery services that we use.

One of the best options is Snake River Farms, which carries the American Wagyu teres major cut.

Related Articles:


  1. https://extension.okstate.edu/programs/beef-extension/research-reports/site-files/documents/2002/4-elam.pdf
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17093232/
  3. https://porterroad.com/products/teres-major
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About the author

Arianna Foster
Nutritionist/Editorial Director
Arianna is a nutrition expert with unmatched management skills and a love for steaks. The only thing she enjoys more than educating people on how to improve their diet and live a healthier life is cooking and hiking.
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