Pork steak recipes collection plus tips on the best cooking methods for this cut.
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The Lowdown on Pork Steak – Understand the Cut
There are three distinct types of pork steak.
Pork shoulder steaks or blade steaks contain a part of the shoulder blade of the animal. The area of the pig from which they are cut is known in the US as Boston butt or pork butt, which confuses people because it suggests a different location from where it is actually situated. The name ambiguity is rooted in the fact that salted pork shoulder used to be preserved in barrels called ‘butts’ in the past and a specific style of upper pork shoulder cut was known in New England as Boston butt.
In Europe, the neck area of the animal is regarded as a separate cut, called the collar or the neck, while in the US it is common for the neck to be lumped in with the Boston butt. The diagram below illustrates the difference.
Coppa pork steaks. Coppa (also known as pork collar) is a group of muscles which run from the neck of the animal through the pork shoulder. When the coppa (there are two per animal, one on each side) is isolated from the Boston butt it has a barrel shape and is easily cut into coppa steaks. Coppa steaks are la crème de la crème of pork steak and are also known as neck or collar chops. They are spectacularly marbled and do not contain a bone. The easiest ways to find them in the US is to request them from your butcher or purchase a whole pork collar and carve them yourself.
Arm pork steak. Finally, there is a lesser known pork steak cut, known as arm steak which is cut from underneath the picnic ham. Other names for it include arm chop and picnic steak. It is very tough and not common.
The recipes below are for pork shoulder blade steak and coppa steak, but you can substitute arm steak when braising – it will turn out tender given enough time.
How to Cook Pork Steak?
The neck and shoulder are hard working parts of the animal and both collar and Boston butt meat have strong flavor and generous marbling. Pork steaks lend themselves equally well to high heat, quicker cooking methods and low heat, slower techniques.
Thinner cut pork steaks are more suitable for faster preparations. The thicker they are, the better the results with a moist, low heat cooking method such as braising.
- Pan Searing/Pan grilling
Low and Slow Methods
- Oven baking/Slow roasting
- Slow Cooker
Good To Know Before You Cook Pork Steak
- BRINING: Pork steaks do not require brining like most pork chops do because they are not lean. You can confidently skip that step, but if you have the time it is useful to marinate them before cooking in the oven.
- MARINATING & SEASONING: While they definitely benefit from quality time spent in a marinade they are flavorful enough to be seasoned right before cooking (season generously!)
- COMPLEMENTARY FLAVORS: Cumin, oregano, paprika, thyme, rosemary, garlic, onion, ginger, malty beers, brown sugar, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar.
- TEMPERATURE & HOW LONG TO COOK: As a rule of thumb pork steak is cooked until tender, which means that while you can use internal temperature as a guide to determine food safe doneness, you should trust in your own senses and judgement to determine tenderness. You want the fat rendered, a nice char (if applicable), tender and juicy meat.
It is very difficult to overcook pork steak.
Pork Steak Recipes
Grilled Pork Steak Coppa (Vietnamese Style) – before hitting the grill these beautiful Coppa pork steaks (aka collar chops) are treated to a Vietnamese marinade perfect for summer. You can absolutely substitute pork shoulder in the recipe. Recipe and tips here.
Smoked Pork Steaks – tender, juicy and infused with the scent of hickory or fruit wood smoke. Barbecue sauce is optional, the unadulterated flavor of pork steak smoked to perfection has its own gustatory merits. Recipe here.
Pan-Seared Shoulder Blade Pork Steak – Cast iron is especially well suited for the purpose of searing a large bone-in pork steak. Seasoned generously and cooked until tender, then rested before sliced for sharing (or not). Recipe here.
Skillet Coppa Steaks – once again the reliability of a cast iron skillet helps to prepare tender pork steak on the stove top. The pan juices contain the layered nuances of garlic and fresh herbs mixed with the rendered pork fat. Juicy and simply irresistible. Recipe.
Oven Baked Pork Steaks – treated to a delicious marinade and then baked in the oven until tender these bone-in shoulder blade steaks are a quick weeknight dinner option. Mix the marinade in the morning, let them bathe in it all day and cook after work. Full recipe.
Braised Pork Shoulder Steaks with Onions – Exemplary low and slow cooking in moist heat and ideal as a comfort food option when served with a heap of mashed potatoes. The braising liquid in this recipe is flavored by a bit of chipotles in Adobo and dark ale. Absolutely delicious. Full recipe.