To cook beef shoulder steak on the stove, first, pat the steak dry and season both sides with salt and pepper or your preferred seasonings. Heat a skillet or pan over medium-high heat and add oil or butter, then sear the steak for 3-4 minutes per side or until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful eating experience.
Beef shoulder steak is an affordable and flavorful cut of meat. While this cut can be tougher than some others, fear not, as I’ll guide you through the process of transforming this humble piece of beef into a tender and mouthwatering dish. In this post, I’ll provide you with practical tips I’ve learned in restaurants, explain some techniques, and make seasoning suggestions to help you master the stovetop cooking method for beef shoulder steak. So stick around if you want to learn how to cook beef shoulder steak on the stove,
What is beef shoulder steak?
Beef shoulder steak, also known as the chuck steak, is a flavorful and budget-friendly cut of beef that comes from the shoulder area of the cow. It is known for its rich marbling and intense beefy flavor. However, since the shoulder muscles are well-exercised, the meat tends to be tougher and may contain more connective tissue than other cuts, like the ribeye or filet. When cooked carefully, beef shoulder steak can become tender and delicious, though it requires experience dealing with tougher cuts.
How to prepare the beef shoulder steak before cooking it on the stove?
The best way to prepare beef shoulder steak before cooking it on the stove involves a few simple yet essential steps. First, remove the steak from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes to ensure even cooking. Next, use a paper towel to pat the steak dry, as this will help the meat develop a better sear in the pan. If desired, trim any excess fat or connective tissue, but keep in mind that some fat will enhance flavor and tenderness. Season the steak generously on both sides with salt and pepper, or use your preferred spice blend or marinade.
What type of pan or skillet to use for cooking beef shoulder steak?
It’s best to use a heavy-bottomed pan or skillet that can distribute heat evenly and retain high temperatures. Cast iron skillets and stainless steel pans are excellent choices, as they can handle high heat and promote a good sear on the steak. Nonstick pans, while convenient for certain dishes, are generally not recommended for cooking beef shoulder steak, or any steak for that matter, as they may not withstand high temperatures and can prevent the formation of a proper crust.
How to Cook Beef Shoulder Steak on the Stove
Here’s how to cook a shoulder steak and the ingredients and equipment you need:
- Beef shoulder steak;
- Kosher salt;
- Freshly ground black pepper;
- Fresh thyme;
- Fresh rosemary;
- Light olive oil.
- Cast iron skillet or heavy pan;
- Meat thermometer;
- Sharp knife;
- Cutting board;
- Paper towel.
- Season. After buying shoulder steak, you should first season it with a generous amount of kosher salt and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Ideally, leave it for 24 hours before cooking. Salt will help to tenderize the meat and make it juicier;
- Bring steak to room temperature. Take the steak out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking and season with freshly ground black pepper. Bringing steak to room temperature will ensure the steak is cooking evenly;
- Preheat the pan. Take your cast-iron skillet or any other heavy pan and place it on a stovetop over high heat until scorching hot. Add a few tablespoons of light olive oil. Avoid using unrefined oil since they burn easily.
- Sear the steak. Lay the steak away from you to the scorching hot pan and sear for 1 minute on each side. When a brown crust is formed, turn the heat to medium and continue cooking;
- Check internal temperature. About halfway through cooking the steak, check the internal temperature. You can do it with a meat thermometer or using a finger test method. I’m using a 1-inch thick steak and cooking it to medium rare. It takes 5-6 minutes to reach medium-rare. Remove the steak from the heat source when the steak’s internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness. Steak continues to cook for another few more minutes when off the heat source;
- Baste. Finish cooking the steak with a knob of butter and some fresh herbs. Add butter, fresh thyme, and rosemary to the pan and baste the shoulder steak for a few minutes until it reaches the desired doneness;
- Rest. Leave the steak to rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it. It’s a crucial step that allows steak juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat;
- Slice and serve. Slice steak against the grain into thin strips and enjoy with your favorite sides.
Note: thick and thin steaks cook at different rates. Thicker steak cuts can take several minutes more to reach the desired doneness compared to thin steak cuts. In case you want to learn how to cook steak in a pan like a pro chef, click on this link to learn more.
Steak Doneness Temperature Chart
- Rare steak: 125° F;
- Medium rare steak: 135° F;
- Medium steak: 145° F;
- Medium-well steak: 150° F;
- Well done, steak: 160° F.
To check the steak’s doneness, take a meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the steak.
If you do not have a meat thermometer, use a finger test method. It’s a reliable way of checking meat’s internal temperature. Most chefs and advanced home cooks use this method without needing any thermometer.
To keep in mind, take the steak out of the heat source when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness. When the steak is resting, it continues to cook for a few more minutes.
Beef Shoulder Steak Buying Guide
Picking a good quality steak requires some experience. However, here’s a bullet list of things to keep in mind when buying a beef shoulder steak:
- Marbling. Look for steaks with a good amount of marbling. Marbling is the streaks of fat running through the steak. Steak with more marbling tends to be juicier and more flavorful;
- Smell. Avoid steaks that smell sour or have an ammonia-like scent. Those are signs of a bad steak;
- Color. Look for bright red meat with a bit of purple hue. Avoid steaks with brown color since they tend to be old. Grass-fed, compared to grain-fed cattle, is leaner and has a dark red color. It’s easy to recognize grain-fed because it’s pink and has white marbling;
- Texture. The steak should have a firm texture. If it’s too soft, it can be an indication that the meat is old or not fresh;
Grass-fed steak is leaner and has a more intense flavor. Yes, it has less marbling, but at the same time, it has a more complex set of flavors because of its natural diet. Since grass-fed beef is on a diet of plants and sometimes grain, it’s more environmentally sustainable and packed with more nutrients. You can instantly recognize grass-fed steak from the marbling. It is slightly yellowish because of the pigments in the plants.
Grain-fed cattle are fed with corn, soy, or other grains. Those foods make cattle fat, and as a result, grain-fed beef has more marbling. Suppose you like the buttery taste, then grain-fed steak is for you. It’s quite a bit more tender and juicy, but at the same time, it lacks a beefy flavor. Grain-fed beef can be easily recognized from its white marbling and pink color.
Beef shoulder steak is readily available at most supermarkets. However, for the best quality steak, it’s advisable to visit a local butcher shop or an online shop. It usually comes in 10oz weight and about one-inch thickness.
How to store leftover shoulder steak?
Before storing leftover shoulder steak, allow it to cool down to room temperature for no more than two hours. Then, slice the steak into manageable portions, which will not only make it easier to store but also speed up the reheating process later. Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent air exposure, which can lead to spoilage or freezer burn. Place the wrapped portions in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags, and label them with the date to keep track of their freshness. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you want to learn how to reheat leftover steak, click on this link to learn.
Is shoulder steak a tough cut of meat?
Yes, shoulder steak is a tough cut of steak. It’s not as tender compared to the likes of rib-eye or filet mignon. However, if cooked properly it can be just as delicious.
How do you tenderize a shoulder steak?
The best way to tenderize a shoulder steak is with kosher salt or marinade. If you are using a marinade make sure to use an acidic ingredient such as buttermilk, yogurt, or citrus juice.
Why is my shoulder steak tough and chewy?
Shoulder steak is tough and chewy as it’s. It’s even chewier if cooked medium-well or well done. It’s best to tenderize the meat with kosher salt or marinade to prevent it from becoming tough.
What is the best way to cook beef shoulder steak?
The best way to cook shoulder steak is slow cooking. It’s generally not recommended to cook it on high heat as it can become tough and chewy. However, if you must cook it on high heat, make sure to not overcook it.