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Teres Major Steak – Outstanding and Cheap

12 comments

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I had to ask the question too when I first saw it in the freezer at a local butcher.  What’s a teres major?  Or in this case, it was labeled as bistro teres major:

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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 ask him to carve them up into 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 can also be found under the name petite shoulder tender or petite tender. It is very similar to beef tenderloin in that it is both very lean and uber tender. It needs a little flavor added, much in the same way a filet is wrapped in bacon, due to how lean it is. Let’s face it, fat tastes good.  For this, I have just the thing and it doesn’t involve bacon:

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LOVE this stuff

Andria’s Steak Sauce is the ideal brush on steak sauce in my opinion. It’s the perfect combination of saltiness and garlic with a certain something I’ve never been able to quantify, but have always craved since having it for the first time close to 20 years ago. It’s not a sauce like A-1 that you dip a steak into and completely mask the flavor. Andria’s is to be brushed on while cooking or used as a marinade to enhance flavor. Click here to find out how to get some. You won’t be disappointed.

Let’s start with the teres major. I simply pulled the steak from the fridge, applied salt, black and white pepper to both sides and let it come up to room temperature:

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Properly seasoned

Why black and white pepper? Because both types of pepper hit different areas on the tongue and thus using both adds a little depth to the flavor profile.

I decided to do this on my Char-Broil Big Easy which is an infrared gas grill and cooks a very mean steak.  I cranked it up to high, lit the grill, and let it heat up while the steak came to room temperature and then threw the teres major on:

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Here is a close up of the teres major on the grill:

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I closed the lid for four minutes of grilling and then I rotated it about 45 degrees but did not flip it over to get those cross hatch grill marks:

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I closed the lid for another four minutes and then flipped it over and brushed on a little Andria’s Steak Sauce:

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Normally, I get much deeper cross hatch action, but it was a really cold night and the grill didn’t get as hot as fast as it normally does on a warm summer evening.

After I brushed on the Andria’s Steak Sauce, I closed the lid for 4 minutes and then rotated 45 degrees:

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After another 4 minutes of grilling, I flipped it over and applied more Andria’s:

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I left the steak on the grill for another 4 minutes or so, for a total of 20, to caramelize the Andria’s Steak Sauce a bit and then plated it. I took this shot to get an idea how cold it was outside.  The steam coming off the steak was intense. I don’t know what setting to capture that effect perfectly, but this will have to do:

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I brought it in the house to rest while I sipped a little red:

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After a few minutes resting, while I tried like hell to get the glass of wine and the Christmas ornaments into the picture, I sliced the teres major:

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

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So how was it?  As I say in the title, it was outstanding. I grilled that steak 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:

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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:

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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 is. It totally blew me away. I’m already thinking of ways to kick it up in the future. Maybe a little olive oil and fresh rosemary? Brush with a little red curry paste? The options are endless.

One curious thing about the cut is that if puffs up during the cooking process.  It has to be 50% thicker when it goes on the plate from when it goes on the grill.  So it may not look all that thick when you pick it out, but by the time it comes off the grill, it will be.

All of this begs the very obvious question. Where do you find teres major? Your local grocer might carry them from time to time in vacuum packed packaging from time to time. Otherwise, you need to go to your local 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.

If you would like other beef recipes, click here.

Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on their Facebook page where you can post your grilling own pictures or join the general grilling conversation.  Or, you can follow them on Twitter @GrillinFool

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  • Matt

    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!

    • http://www.GrillinFools.com Scott

      Matt,

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

      …….Scott

    • James Umberger

      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.

  • http://achefsjouney.com Jean Denham

    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.

  • http://achefsjouney.com Jean Denham

    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

    • http://www.GrillinFools.com Scott

      Jean,

      Glad you enjoyed the post and found this delicacy!

  • Laurie

    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…

    • http://www.GrillinFools.com Scott

      Laurie,

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

      …….Scott

  • 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!

    • http://www.GrillinFools.com Scott

      Scott,

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

      ……..Scott

  • http://google anne murdoc anne murdock

    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

    • http://www.GrillinFools.com Scott

      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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