Teres Major - 09

Teres Major, Outstanding and Cheap? I know, I know. First you’re wondering what the heck is a teres major and why do you care if it is outstanding or cheap. What if I told you it also goes by petite tender? Petite shoulder tender? Shoulder tender? Doesn’t help. OK then. It’s steak. Tender, delicious, amazing, stupendous steak. Does that help? I was as clueless as you are when I first saw one. I asked what it was too.

Teres Major - 1
Bistro Teres Major

One of the meat cutters told me that I’ve probably already had it and never knew.  He said local restaurants serve teres major all the time as steak modiga or as medallions.

I decided to do a little more digging.  According to Grasslandbeef.com:

“The teres major is a seldom used muscle in the shoulder that is second only to the tenderloin filet in tenderness. This muscle requires skilled craftsman to extract, but yields a wonderful dining experience and is a new leader in trendy white table cloth restaurants.

The teres major steak is also referred to as a shoulder tender. If sliced into medallions, they are appropriately named petite tender medallions.”

It is very similar to beef tenderloin (or filet mignon) in that it also lean and uber tender, but not as lean as filet or tenderloin and thus, it has better flavor and is generally about a full third cheaper. There’s a reason filets are wrapped in bacon. The fat from the bacon gives the filet flavor it just doesn’t have due to a lack of fat. While the petite tender is not quite as tender as the filet, it has more fat and thus is tastier.

Don’t bother looking for a huge petite tender or teres major . They generally don’t come larger than about 12 ounces. This is a fairly large one at about 14 ounces.

Teres Major - 01
The Glorious Teres Major

There is something fascinating about the teres major that I can’t explain. It gets thicker as it cooks. I’m not kidding. When I pull this steak from the grill it will be thicker than when I put it on. Don’t believe me? Fine. I’ll prove it to you. Here’s how thick the steak is:

Teres Major - 02
Almost exactly 1.5 inches at its thickest part

And here’s the length:

Teres Major - 03
Exactly nine inches long

Please no meat measuring jokes here. This is a family friendly site.

To season the teres major, all I do is remove it from the packaging, pat it dry with a paper towel and then hit it with some coarse salt to start:

Teres Major - 04
Mmmmm, Salty

Other than the salt, I’m going to keep it simple and dust it with a BBQ rub from Code 3 Spices:

Teres Major Steak
A fantastic and very versatile rub

The Code 3 Spices line of rubs is great from top to bottom and it gets even better in that 50 cents from ever bottle sold goes to charities supporting first responders and military personnel. I like to say they are fantastic rubs and a better cause.

I love this stuff, so I gave my steak a liberal coating of the 5-0 rub from the blue bottle:

Teres Major - 05

Now off to the grill. For this steak, I want to sear it hot and fast. In doing so, I use my Char-Broil TRU infrared gas grill because it flat out makes a mean steak. Infrared grills produce juicier meat than regular gas grills. That’s a scientific fact:

Teres Major - 06

If you want 15% off an Char-Broil grill or accessory, use my discount code: B15ST

Wait till the grill is lava hot and then throw that teres major (petite tender) steak on:

Teres Major - 07
STEAK’S ON!

I had this grill at close to 700 degrees, so all it took was about 2-3 minutes before I rotated the steak 45 degrees. I did not flip it over yet. I rotated it to get some nice grill marks. After a second 2-3 minute stretch, I flipped the steak over to repeat on the other side:

Teres Major - 09
Mmmmmm, Grill Marks!

This steak does not make for the greatest cross hatch grill marks. As it puffs up (I’ll show you that in a minute) it goes from flat to round. It will never have the beautiful marks of a NY strip or rib eye. But it still has a fantastic flavor crust going here, if I do say so myself.

Once the teres major (petite tender) has been seared on each side, move the steak to the side of the grill with no heat and close the lid to bake until the desired doneness. For me it was done after the searing, but I like my steak with a faint pulse. If you like your steak more well done than that, don’t cut into it to find out if it is grilled properly. Use the thumb test to determine the doneness of the steak.

Now it’s time to prove that the teres major (petite tender) steak indeed gets thicker as it grills. Here’s the steak right after it came off the grill:

Teres Major - 10
Thicker!

It is now an 1.75 inches thick. A quarter inch does not seem like a lot, but it was only 1.5 inches before. That’s 16% thicker. Alas, it also gets shorter:

Teres Major - 11
Insert length vs girth joke here

Now that the teres major (petite tender) steak is off the grill, it is vital to let it rest so the juices, in an excited state due to the heat, can calm down and redistribute throughout the meat. A steak this size only needs 3-4 minutes rest:

Teres Major - 12

But how does it look sliced?

Teres Major - 14
Dare I say perfect? I dare!

Truth be told, I redid this post because the original pictures I took sucked. Originally I made this steak with some Andria’s Steak Sauce brushed on while I grilled it. The problem was the lighting was terrible and it was a few years before I figured out how to compensate for that. The inside pictures weren’t so bad. Here’s a plated shot of a steak I made around Christmas in 2011 when I did this post originally:

Teres Major - 16

And here’s the sliced teres major (petite tender):

Teres Major - 17

If that picture above doesn’t send you out to your local butcher to get a teres major, how about this one:

Teres Major - 18

This steak has been rising in price since I wrote the original one, but still the best way to feed a crowd steaks without breaking the bank and I do so often. During football season in 2012 I grilled these steaks on Sunday night, and then on Monday night, when I had the guys over for Monday Night Football and some home tailgating, I made two more to serve as appetizers:

Teres Major - 19

One I did with the Andria’s Steak Sauce and the other I brushed with a jerk paste to spice things up. Both were well received:

Teres Major - 20

Teres Major - 21

These guys thought it was great:

The Crew
From the left, Roy, Brian, Chad, Scott, and Arthur

I can’t put into words how delicious and tender the teres major (petite tender) is. It blows me away every time I grill and eat one. If you are going the paleo route and the prices of steak is wrecking your bank account, this might be the key to a successful paleo diet strategy.

All of this begs the very obvious question. Where do you find teres major (petite tender) steak? Your grocer might carry them from time to time in vacuum packed packaging from time to time. Otherwise, you need to go to your meat cutter. You should be going there anyway. You’ll thank me later.

If you have any questions about this cut or this grilling recipe, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

Teres Major Steak - Outstanding and Cheap
Author: 
Recipe type: Steak
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Teres major steak
  • Coarse salt
  • Code 3 Spices BBQ rub
Instructions
  1. Coat the steak with coarse salt and the rub
  2. Prepare the grill for two zone grilling with super high heat on one side and none on the other
  3. Sear the steak on the side with high heat for 2-3 minutes and then rotate 45 degrees and sear another 2-3 minutes
  4. Flip over and repeat on the other side
  5. Move the steak to the other side of the grill with no heat and close the lid until it is baked to the desired doneness
  6. Remove the teres major (petite tender) steak from the grill and allow to rest 3-4 minutes
  7. Decour

 

 

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool

http://t.co/FxaUMvg9r4 - Dedicated to step by step, picture by picture, foolproof grillin' instructions.
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12 comments

This steak is great. The price had me convinced that it was a shady cut, but the end result was shocking. It truly does grow as you grill too because it was about 50% bigger when it was finished.

I’ve always loved the grill, but this site has taught me more in a handful reads than I’ve learned my whole life. I can see how this can become addicting. Thanks for the great info and ideas!

Reply

Matt,

That may best compliment we’ve ever received. Glad to have you aboard…

…….Scott

Yo! After reading your blog entry on the Teres Major, I went out in search of the cut. I found about 3 lbs of it at a local butcher shop (although not all butchers will take out this portion of the chuck for you). The steak was very tender considering it was from the chuck but was far from being as velvety as Filet. I did up about 3 of them just putting a rub on them. Cooked them up to MR. They turned out very good and in fact, the flavor of this cut can certainly stand up to a marinade that is a bit more bold. I am looking forward to trying to some other flavor profiles with this cut.

Just heard or read about Teres Major “mock tender” last week, so of course had to go in search…my Safeway butcher was able to help me out; which surprised me in this little town, but he came thru.

Googling to see how to play with the cut, ran across this post – and you caught my eye. will be playing with it later this week. thanks for all the info and play by play of your method.

Reply

Back after smoking and grilling a ‘Teres Major’ or ‘Mock Tenderloin’ – I agree, what a surprisingly tender cut of beef and tasty as well. I dry rubbed it and allowed to sit overnight, then smoked for 1 hour 20 minutes. Grilled for dinner, but grilled just a tad too long for us, since we love rare, but the flavor was certainly there.
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y72/cjdacook/FOR%20FUTURE%20COOKBOOKS/MockTSmokedGrilledto120F.jpg

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y72/cjdacook/FOR%20FUTURE%20COOKBOOKS/MockTSmokedGrilledApr2012.jpg

Thanks so much for posting your method – I’m so ready to play with the cut again!!

Jean Denham, achef’sjourney.com

Reply

Jean,

Glad you enjoyed the post and found this delicacy!

I happened upon a great deal for 10 plus lbs of this cut but had never heard of it! I am so happy to have found this site-thank you! Honestly I’m not much of a griller but more of a baker/broiler lol. I am going to thaw a couple and try my hand at it. The supplier I bought it from suggested butterflying it open (mine look thicker than the pieces you showed here I think) and stuffing it with a crab and parmesan mixture then topping it with some kind of sauce-I’m thinking maybe bernaise.Results to follow lol…

Reply

Laurie,

Please let us know the exact recipe for that. I would love to try it…

…….Scott

Great article! The pictures are great, along with the detailed play-by-play. Just stumbled upon this cut of meat and found your site. Haven’t cooked it up yet, but your adoration leaves me eager to try it!

Reply

Scott,

Glad you found us. Let us know how it comes out…

……..Scott

I have been purchasing these steaks at the grocery I normally shop. I was told by the butcher that they wouldn’t have any more until summer. I am so curious as to why. I found them at a butcher shop today and was told he has them all year.I use to buy the tenderloin but times are hard and this is a God- send as they satisfy both of us completely

Reply

Anne,

It sounds like your grocer only carries them for parts of the year which is common. It was the same way here in St. Louis until I started really promoting them and now one of the three major grocery store chains carries the, year round. I absolutely love them. Ate one on Saturday night, in fact…

…….Scott

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