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 Grass​land​beef​.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 is also lean and uber ten­der, but not quite 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 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. And when I say not quite as ten­der, I’m not say­ing it’s tough. It’s just about the most ten­der steak on the cow not named ten­der­loin.

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 with my tape mea­sure. Here’s how thick the steak is:

Teres Major - 02
Almost exact­ly 1.25 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:

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 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:


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

Teres Major - 07

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. I’m OK if my steak is only in a coma. 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

It is now an 1.75 inch­es thick. A quar­ter inch does not seem like a lot, but it was only 1.25 inch­es before. That’s a full half inch thick­er or a dif­fer­ence of about 40%. 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
Ready to slice

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 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
Recipe type: Steak
Cui­sine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 Teres major steak
  • Coarse salt
  • Code 3 Spices BBQ rub
  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


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 — 2 months ago
Scott Thomas

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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!



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


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.


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.


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

Jean Den­ham, achef’sjourney.com



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…



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


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!



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


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



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…


I know this post is old. But I want­ed to share the fact that they sell this cut on US Well­ness Meats. It is a grass fed/wild caught meat site that I love.


Had one at a local steak house last night. Yep mak­ing Good Dog Food today! No Fla­vor, Tough, Was told it was a lot like sir­loin or ten­der­loin, Noth­ing like Ten­der­loin for sure, Sir­loin has a lot more fla­vor to it. Sor­ry it may make good Ham­burg­er but Not a good Steak!



Then go to a dif­fer­ent steak house. I have lit­er­al­ly eat­en hun­dreds of teres major steaks and they are always out­stand­ing…


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