Teres Major Steak is the second most tender cut of meat in the cow and has more flavor than the first (beef tenderloin/filet mignon). It is also much cheaper to feed guests than say rib eye or strip loin. This post will go over what the teres major is and how to grill it.
What steak is the teres major?
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 that teres majors steaks other names are petite tender, petite shoulder tender, shoulder tender, bistro tender, bistro 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, because I thought it might be a constellation:
Teres Major is often spelled wrong. Many people add an extra R to make it Terres Major. We know what you meant! Also, this is perfect for the keto crowd. Cheap, high in protein, not too fatty (even though it wouldn’t be a bad thing if it were even fattier). It’s a great way to get a ton of protein for that keto friendly diet without breaking the bank.
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.”
Is teres major the same as filet mignon?
Teres major 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 generally the teres major beef price is a third of that of the filet. 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 terres major . They generally don’t come larger than about 12 ounces. This is a fairly large one at about 14 ounces.
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:
And here’s the length:
Please no meat measuring jokes here. This is a family friendly site.
What is the best way to cook teres major?
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:
Other than the salt, I’m going to hit it with a rub:
Now off to the grill. For this steak, I want to sear it hot and fast. Wait till the grill is lava hot (north of 500F) and then throw that teres major (petite tender) steak on right over the heat:
This can be done on charcoal or gas, but for this recipe, I did this on a gas grill.
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:
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:
It is now an 1.75 inches thick. A half 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:
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:
But how does it look sliced?
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:
And here’s the sliced teres major (petite tender):
If that picture above doesn’t send you out to your local butcher to get a teres major, how about this one:
This steak has been rising in price since I wrote the original one, but still a cheap way to feed a crowd steaks compared to NY Strips, Rib Eyes and Filets. Here are some more that I grilled:
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:
I can’t put into words how delicious and tender the teres major (petite tender or terres major) is. It blows me away every time I grill and eat one. If you are going the keto route and the prices of steak is wrecking your bank account, this might be the key to a successful keto friendly diet
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.
Here is a link to a teres major I did with a coffee rub.
If you have any questions about this cut or this grilling recipe, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.
Also, you can follow us on our GrillinFools Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube feeds
Teres Major Steak - Outstanding and Cheap
- 1 Teres major steak
- coarse salt
- Code 3 Spices BBQ rub
- Coat the steak with coarse salt and the rub
- Prepare the grill for two zone grilling with super high heat on one side and none on the other
- Sear the steak on the side with high heat for 2-3 minutes and then rotate 45 degrees and sear another 2-3 minutes
- Flip over and repeat on the other side
- 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
- Remove the teres major (petite tender) steak from the grill and allow to rest 3-4 minutes
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…
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
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.
K W G
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…
Is there a certain way to slice it?? Is there grains like a brisket? Do you just slice like a Tenderloin? I’m looking forward to grill one soon.
Bob, just slice it like a tenderloin.
I have been using Teres major for a few years now. As a sous chef I had heard of it but never had it until my boss turned me on to it. He moved on and I am using it more than ever..it makes a wonderful black and bleu wedge salad, any salad really..
Scott, I am from the St. Louis area as well, can you say which stores sell the steak and what a good price is? I have called around and can’t find it. Thank you.
Schnuck’s and Dierberg’s carry them pre-packaged off to the side of the main meat counter. Ask one of the meat cutters and they will be able to help you
Joe, if you can’t find it and are willing to order meat online (which is a fabulous way to get grass fed/cage free/humane etc. for a good price) there are a couple places that carry it. The last ones I had were from US Wellness Meats, https://grasslandbeef.com
These guys used to have it, but it caught on and they would run out sometimes.
https://thetexassteakwarehouse.com. Good luck!
Awesome that you brought this cut to light. I’ve enjoyed grilling w it for years. As others have said, it’s not EXACTLY like T. Loin, but it is a favorful, tender cut that does give you that same sort of vibe. A simple maranade of EVOO, red or white wine, a squeeze of oj, salt, pepper and garlic really works well w this cut also.
Sara Anne Corrigan
At the “tender” age of 70, (and as a retired newspaper food writer) I VERY recently discovered teres major — served in a restaurant where I asked what the cut was — and was immediately smitten. Now my question(s) I found this cut of meat locally, called “mock tenders,” for $10 per pound but they appear much smaller (about 8 ounces per, I was told) and uniform in shape. Am I missing something? What is the average trimmed weight of these morsels? I am hungry to try them at home!
That’s my experience at my local butcher… They’re trimmed/detailed and the largest are about 8 ounces. The butcher takes the ends and makes “beef tips kabobs” with them.
Scott – thanks for the advice – I just grilled my first Teres Major – marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic, plus water, served with the leftover marinade thickened with cornflour. Excellent! Chris from WV
Picked up this steak from Hollywood Markets – I guess it’s one of their signatures. The meat cutter recommended it. I don’t own a grill and I’m new to cooking. What would be the best way to prepare this on the stove? Should I use a marinade? The cut is very lean and big!
Preheat the oven to 400 and then get out a skillet and set it to medium high. Sear the steak on one side until you get grill marks, flip it over and then put it in the oven. It will sear on the other side while it bakes. However long it took to get grill marks on the one side is how long you wait while it is in the oven before you check the temp. An instant read thermometer would help here. If you like it rare, then it just needs to be seared on each side. If you like it more done, the flip it back over inside the oven to let it bake a little longer.
I love this cut. I bought 30lbs through my supplier MJ Kellner. The prep work for all of it took a bit but totally worth it. Likely one of my fave cuts of meat.
Hi Scott, I’m grilling a Teres Major steak tonight. We purchased it at a local shop here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, called Getaway Farms Butcher shop. The gentleman behind the counter told us it’s his favorite cut of meat. I googled the best way to cook it and you popped up. I can’t wait to try our recipe!
Cheers from Canada,
Is the Teres Major steak also known as the Coulot Steak?
Coulotte steak is sirloin and cut from near the bottom of the cow. Teres Major is cut from the shoulder…
We are lucky to have a fantastic local butcher shop and they put this cut on special so I gave it a try, followed your process to grill it and it was amazing, flavorful and tender. I topped it off with some compound butter I made with garlic scapes and it was the best!