What is blade steak: The ultimate guide

Grilled blade steak
Grilled blade steak

Blade steak is a cut of beef taken from the shoulder of the cow, specifically the top blade muscle. It’s a delicious piece of meat worth exploring if you want to try something new. It’s a versatile cut; however, you should know how to cook a piece of meat from the chuck primal as it tends to get chewy if not cooked properly.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the taste and texture of the blade steak. I’ll explain the best ways to cook it and how to buy the best quality blade steak.

What is blade steak?

Facts about blade steak
Facts about blade steak

Blade steak is a cut of beef from the shoulder’s top blade muscle. It’s located above the shoulder blade and is well-exercised, contributing to its rich flavor profile. Blade steaks are cut directly across the top blade muscle. It has a seam of tough connective tissue running through the center of the steak, which is chewy and tightens up like a thick rubber band when cooked on a grill or pan.

Blade steak has a moderate amount of marbling (intramuscular fat) distributed throughout the meat. It gives it a nice beefy flavor and moist texture.

Depending on your location, blade steak is also known as flat iron steak, oyster steak, book steak, butler steak, top blade steak, boneless top chuck steak, and breakfast steak.

How does blade steak taste, and what’s the texture like?

Blade steak has a rich beef flavor and tender texture. The blade muscle is used for movement and support, contributing to the blade steak’s flavor. Marbling, on the other hand, adds natural sweetness to the meat, which enhances the beefy flavor. At the same time, the texture can vary depending on the cooking method and how it’s cut. However, generally blade steak is pretty tender.

How to cook blade steak

How to cook blade steak using one three cooking methods
How to cook blade steak using one of three cooking methods

Blade steak is a versatile cut; however, you’ll need to handle it carefully since it can become tough and chewy if overcooked. Here are a few essential tips to follow when cooking blade steak:

  • Bring blade steak to room temperature: Take the steak out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking. It’ll help steak to cook evenly throughout and prevent it from drying out. At the same time, it’ll speed up the cooking process. Here’s an entire article explaining the benefits of bringing steak to room temp.
  • Season blade steak 4-24 hours before cooking: Use kosher salt to season the steak. It’ll bring out steak’s natural flavor and tenderize meat simultaneously. Salt will tenderize the steak by breaking muscle fibers and denaturing the proteins, making it juicy and tender.
  • Check the steak’s internal temperature: Blade steak can become tough and dry if overcooked. Use a meat thermometer to check the steak’s internal temperature. It’s best if the steak is not cooked past a medium level of doneness, 145°F/62°C. Use this steak temperature chart as a guideline for cooking blade steak.
  • Let blade steak rest: Allow blade steak to rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking it. It’ll allow the juices to redistribute and prevent the steak from drying out. Here’s an entire article explaining why it’s beneficial for the steak to rest after cooking.
  • Slice blade steak against the grain: Slicing steak against the grain will ensure that the steak is as tender as possible.

The best way to cook blade steak and a few other chuck steaks are by using high-heat methods such as grilling or pan frying. These methods help to create a crusty exterior while keeping the inside juicy and tender. However, there’s one downside, high heat cooking methods make the connective tissue running throughout the blade steak extremely chewy. You can remove the tissue after the steak is cooked or slice the steak extremely thin. In fact, if you remove the connective tissue, you’ll get flat iron steaks.

To grill the steak, prepare the grill for two-zone cooking. Sear the blade steak over the direct heat side of the grill for 2 minutes on each side until it caramelizes. Move it onto the indirect heat side of the grill and continue cooking for 3-4 more minutes unit the steak is medium-rare, 135°F/57°C.

To cook steak in a cast iron skillet, preheat the skillet on a stovetop over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is smoking hot, add high flash point cooking oil and carefully lay the blade steak away from you into the skillet. Sear the steak for two minutes on each side. Turn heat to medium and continue cooking for 2 minutes until steak is medium-rare, 135°F/57°C.

Sous vide is an excellent way to cook blade steak. It’s a slow cooking process that allows for precise control over temperature, making the steak cooked evenly throughout. To sous vide the steak, seal it in a plastic bag and cook it in a water bath set at 129°F/54°C for 2 hours. Take the steak out of the oven and finish it off by searing it in a hot skillet.

Blade steak recipes

Here are a couple of blade steak recipes you’ll love:

Blade steak buying guide

When buying blade steak, there are a couple of things you should know to ensure you’re getting the best quality steak:

  • Check the packaging: Ensure the steak is packaged well when buying steak from the grocery store or butcher shop. If the steak is vacuum sealed, the packaging prevents the air from getting to the meat. Oxidation can cause meat spoilage; therefore, quality packaging should be sealed.
  • Check the color: The color of the blade steak should be bright red or slightly pinkish, depending on whether the cattle were grain-fed or grass-fed. Steaks should not have a brown or gray area. If the color is off, the steak has gone bad.
  • Check the firmness of the steak: Blade steak should be firm to the touch and have no slime. A firm steak is a good indication that the meat is fresh.
  • Look for steak with a good amount of marbling: Blade steak should have a moderate amount evenly distributed throughout the steak. It adds flavor and juiciness to the steak, so make sure it has enough of it.
  • Make sure to purchase steak from a reputable supplier: When buying blade steak, make sure the supplier can provide high-quality meat. Ask the butcher about the origin and raising conditions of the cow, as it can significantly influence the quality of the meat.

Blade steak is less expensive than other premium cuts. However, the price can vary depending on the meat’s quality and source. Buying blade steak online is one of the easiest and most convenient ways of getting high-quality meat at a competitive price.

How to store blade steak

It’s essential to store blade steak properly in a fridge or freezer to maintain its flavor and texture.

To store steak in a fridge, place the steak in a zip lock bag and remove as much air as possible before zipping the bag. It’ll prevent air from spoiling the steak too quickly. Alternatively, vacuum seal the bag. It’s a sure way to remove air from the bag. Place the steak in a fridge on the lower shelf as it’s cooler and will prevent contaminating other foods in case the package gets damaged. The steak should be used within 3-5 days of storing it. The USDA provides guidelines.

To freeze the steak, vacuum seal the bag or place it in a freezer-safe zip lock bag and press out as much air as possible. Place the steak in a freezer. Ensure the steak is laying flat, as it will make it easier to thaw the steak. The steak can be stored in a freezer for up to 6 months. When you plan to use the steak, thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking.

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