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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

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V#Grill­Porn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Oh my wow! There is so much per­fec­tion right there! 😲✔️👍😎 . Video shot by the insane­ly tal­ent­ed @carlaocarvalho77 …… https://t.co/uKHWyunSxp — 3 months ago
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/​e​v​e​/​f​o​r​u​m​s​/​a​/​t​p​c​/​f​/​5​9​8​0​0​6​9​0​5​2​/​m​/​6​1​4​1​0​6​485

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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