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Reverse Seared Pork Steaks Reverse Seared Pork Steaks

This will be my new method of grilling pork steaks from now on simply because of that smoke ring above, something I’ve never tried for when grilling pork steaks in the past, but now it seems so simple. I can’t believe I didn’t try this before.

First, what is a pork steak? I’ll hand that over to my dad to explain (you can find this explanation in our first pork steak post with a different cooking method.)

Outside of the Midwest region of the country (where pork steaks are an extremely popular grilling staple) they aren’t well known and retail grocers do not offer this particularly tasty cut of pork. My cousin, Carol, lives in Maryland and has used the information provided here to obtain a pork steak in her area where they are not normally available. You can obtain them most everywhere if your local purveyor handles whole Boston butt or pork butt roast or any of the myriad of other names such as the pork shoulder butt shown below:
What is a Pork Steak
A pork steak is also known as a blade steak and simply put, a pork steak is merely a sliced Boston pork butt.

***Editor’s Note ~ Why is it called a butt or even Boston butt when it actually comes from the shoulder? Because back in the days of wooden sailing ships, the sailors were often fed salted pork from giant barrels that were called butts. The pork was usually from the shoulder and thus the cut took the name from the barrels they were loaded in. And since Boston was one of the chief ports in the country, they were referred to as Boston butts since that’s where most of those barrels were destined***

I visited a local grocery store where the head meat-cutter, Mike, agreed to assist in illustrating how pork steaks are cut:

What is a Pork Steak

This is what the whole butt looks like prior to Mike performing his craft:

What is a Pork Steak What is a Pork Steak

Mike trims the end and any excess fat to fit the steaks to the tray used to sell:

What is a Pork Steak

The Boston butt is sliced into steaks (usually ½” to 1 1/4” thickness) on the saw:

What is a Pork Steak

Mike does not slice the whole butt into pork steaks. He saves a portion of one end to sell as a small roast (the back of the pic below) and sells the small end pieces as finger ribs which Mike thinks are the tastiest part, (the front of the pic below). What’s in the middle of the two are known as center cut pork steaks:

What is a Pork Steak

Some grocers slice the entire shoulder and that’s referred to as whole shoulder or butt sliced into pork steaks and usually offered at a lower retail price since the end pieces are included.

Finally we have a view of what the end product looks like before wrapping, pricing, and offering for sale in the display case – small roast on the upper left, finger ribs on the upper right and center cut pork steaks down the middle:

What is a Pork Steak

Our thanks to Mike who is a very accomplished griller in his own right (and a pretty good Texas Hold ‘Em player) for helping out with the explanation of what exactly is a pork steak.

Hopefully you’ll be able to take this information to your local butcher (careful here, they usually prefer to be called meat-cutters) and so you can get to grilling pork steaks in your area, no matter where that is.

Now for the write up by Scott

So, I lost the chip that had the pics of the first time I made a reverse seared pork steak. In order to show you how this is done, I had to bite the bullet and make it all over again. The things I subject myself to in order to help my fellow Grillin’ Fools make great BBQ!!!

I started with two fairly thick pork steaks. I don’t recommend trying this method with thin pork steaks as they can dry out too quickly. These were about 1.5 inches thick.

Here are the bad boys ready for the grill:
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks

All I did was add coarse salt, black pepper and white pepper. I forgot the rub in this second round so remember to dust with whatever rub you prefer here as it will make a great flavor crust later.

Then put them on the grill for an indirect smoke – coals and hickory on the right, pork steaks on the left. I went with the more robust hickory over my usual favorites of pear, peach or apple as I will be saucing the pork steaks and going with a milder fruit wood would get overpowered by the sauce. Click here for a lengthy list of different things you can use to smoke and what they pair the best with.
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
Most people put pork steaks right over the coals, sear them and put them off to the side to smoke. The problem with that is that the once the outside of the meat reaches a certain temp it no longer takes on any smoke. That’s why I am going with the reverse seared method from now on. I want that smoke flavor in the meat before I give it a sear and add a nice flavor crust. So, put the meat off to the side and let it stay there between 200-225. As you can see here, the temp is a little high, but once I lock down the vents the temp will get down to where I want it to be:
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
After just one hour look at how they are turning a nice golden color:
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
I realize that in this next pic you are seeing the pork steaks on a different grill. I needed the grill space on the larger grill for some ribs so I transferred these guys to my grill manufacturer that shall not be named. Here they are after 2 hours cooking indirect between 200-225:
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
And here they are after 2.5 hours. Look at how golden brown they are from all the smoke they have taken on:
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
Now it’s time for the second part of the reverse sear method. I added a few more coals to the small pile of coals in order to have enough heat to put on a nice flavor crust. Put the pork steaks right over the hot coals for a couple minutes on each side to give it a nice char:
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
After you sear each side of the pork steaks, pull them off the heat so they don’t burn or dry out and slather with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Here are the reverse seared pork steaks pulled to the side of the grill with no heat and slathered on each side with BBQ sauce:
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
I slathered them a couple more times over the next 30 minutes and allowed the BBQ sauce to thicken up and caramelize before I pulled them from the grill and plated one of them:
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
Let’s see if I recreated the magic of the first time I tried this method:
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
Smoke ring? Check.
Juicy? Check.
Tender? Check.
Multiple levels of flavor from the seared flavor crust, the penetrated smoke flavor and the barbecue sauce? Check.

As a coworker said who tried the first batch said, “The flavors just keep going and going.”

Reverse seared is now my go to method for making pork steaks, and many other cuts. Try it and I bet it becomes yours too.

If you have any questions or comments about reverse seared pork steaks feel free to shoot me an email or simply leave a comment below.

If you like this BBQ recipe, click here for other pork done on the grill.

Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on Facebook and post your own grilling pictures, share grilling recipes, or join the general grilling conversation. You can keep up with us on Twitter@GrillinFool (no S).

5.0 from 1 reviews
Reverse Seared Pork Steaks
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
My go to recipe for grilling pork steaks
Ingredients
  • Two pork steaks at least 1.5 inches thick
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Your favorite rub
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
Instructions
  1. Coat each side of the pork steaks with salt, black pepper and the rub
  2. Prepare the grill for two zone grilling with charcoal and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
  3. Target internal temperature of the grill is 225
  4. Place the pork steaks on the side of the grill with no coals and close the lid
  5. Smoke the pork steaks until they reach and internal temperature of 160 degrees (about 2-2.5 hours depending on the heat of the grill)
  6. If the fire is not hot enough at this time to sear, add more charcoal and leave the lid open until it heats up
  7. Move each pork steak over to the side with the coals and give them a good sear
  8. Move over to the side with no heat and slather with your favorite sauce
  9. Close the lid to allow the sauce to thicken and absorb some smoke
  10. Hit the steaks with a couple more layers of BBQ sauce over the next thirty minutes
  11. Remove from the grill, allow them to rest for approximately three minutes and serve
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

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Scott Thomas

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20 comments

Scott, don’t you know that pork steaks have to be fire blasted, and then thrown in a bath of Maull’s bbq sauce? lol

Looking forward to the rest of the story!

Reply

Great post, pics, and pork steaks Scott!

I’ve sorta tried this method, but see that I didn’t keep my temps low enough at the start.
Can’t wait to give it a go!!

Reply

Well I attempted this today and it came out OK, however I had one fatal mistake – not keeping the temp low enough. I kept it around 250 and overshot the cooking time enough to dry it out a bit. Reverse Seared Pork Steaks, I will not let you down next time! Thanks for the awesome method, this is really great.

Reply

Brass,

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Same thing happened to me the first time I did this method. The pork steaks were too thin and the fire was too hot. Happens to the best of us. But us Grillin Fools keep trying till we get it right…

…….Scott

Made these tonight. Steaks were a little thin, but still amazing!

Reply

Hey Scott, just wanted to let you know that GrillinFools has inspired a Prague, CZ griller.

Link to the TVWB forum post:
http://tvwbb.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/5980069052/m/614106485

Reply

Webert,

I caught that over the weekend. Not sure if he found the site on his own or through a Dutch website I hit a lot. For some reason I’m very popular in the Netherlands. Some very cool comments from our European Grillin Fools. It’s great to get other perspectives on this art form. Some of it’s in English, the rest I translate with a google app. [url=http://barbecueselwerd.forumcircle.com/viewforum.php?f=5&sid=0a2a199721becbedc1825a852249e392]Check it out.[/url]

Oh, and I registered on TVWB.com over the weekend. Got in a couple posts today…

…….Scott

WOW! These look amazing! Will try these myself. Scott, would you say these steaks are an inch thick? My apartment doesn’t allow coal grills so I have to use a gas grill :(. Will stuff some chips wrapped in aluminum for an imitation smokey flavor. Will definitely try these!

Reply

Darren,

The second ones I did were about an inch thick. The first ones were just under that. The thicker the better here.

And nothing imitation smokey about chips in a foil ball. Smoke is smoke as long as it isn’t liquid…

…….Scott

Tried this today. Awesome.

Reply

Scott,

You may be very popular in the Netherlands, but you are a grillin’ G-d in the Midwest!

Thanks for the ideas.

Reply

I going to try this recipe but I’m going to use a brine first.

Reply

I have lived in the STL area my whole life and thought I had tried pork steaks every way possible. This is truly the best way to make pork steaks. The biggest tip is what has already been touched on which is keep your temps under 225, especially if they are thinner. If done right they will be fork tender but will in no way be like they have been in a Maul’s barbecue bath!! Awesome tip!!

Reply

Mark,

I agree. This is the best way to do them. I can still be creative with rubs and sauces, but this way I get the smoke flavor and the flavor crust from the sear. Starting to crave some pork steaks now. I may have to do them this weekend…

…….Scott

Going to give these a try on the Big Green Egg next weekend. Reverse sear is quickly becoming my grilling method of choice.

Reply

Tried this last month with regular 3/4″ thick steaks on a charcoal grill with Hickory…awesome. Today I’m doing it again with big fat-daddy 1 1/4″ cuts on a gas grill, expectations are high!

Reply

Excellent! Thanks. Smoked with apple and hickory and finished with just KC Masterpiece Honey BBQ sauce. My family loved them. Get out of the way pork chops!!

Reply

Timmy,

Glad they came out well…

…….Scott

Love the printer friendly recipe in the middle of this what seems to be an amazing way to grill these Pork Steaks. Love the detailed instructions. I justhope to be able to find this site again for future grilling

Reply

Joe,

Thank you for the kind words. Bookmark us and you will never forget…

…….Scott

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