Pork Steaks

 

Pork steak. It's what's for dinner.
Pork steak. It’s what’s for dinner.

Growing up in St. Louis,  I was exposed to some unique foods to the region: gooey butter cake, toasted ravioli, provel cheese, and pork steaks. It wasn’t until I moved out West that I realized these things were not commonplace everywhere else. Being the BBQ nut that I’ve quickly become, I’ve craved the mighty pork steak and while not many folks know about this out West, I am thankful I can find them at my local grocery store. I get the feeling they keep stocking them because I keep buying them up. The pork steak comes from the pork shoulder (Boston butt), so you know it is good.  To learn more about this cut of meat, the folks at Grillin Fools made an excellent post about it’s history and the many ways it can be prepped. To quote them, they say, “A pork steak can be prepared in a multitude of ways. It can be marinated, rubbed, brined, sauced, or left naked.  Once on the grill it can be smoked, indirected or grilled directly. It can be made spicy or sweet or salty or any combination thereof.”

I’ve made them both savory and sweet and since my local store sells them in two packs, I sometimes do one of each. The recipe is quite simple:


PORK STEAKS

INGREDIENTS

-2 pork steaks

-1 Tablespoon olive oil

 -2 teaspoons rub/seasoning of your choice

SMOKE

-250 degrees

-your choice of fruit wood

-internal temp: 110 degrees, then reverse sear to 145 degrees


The way that I prep this is by doing a reverse sear. Simply put, you slow cook before you sear. Since this is a BBQ blog, we will be smoking them before they hit the high heat. You can brine the pork steaks beforehand if you wish, although it isn’t necessary. When I have done it, I’ve done a dry brine, meaning that I skip the water and simply use salt and a little rub. I’ve dry brined these for a couple of hours to let the salts penetrate the meat and bring out more flavor.

Pork steaks getting their dry brine on.
Pork steaks getting their dry brine on.

Once this portion is done, then start your smoker and get it up to the desired 250 degree range and use your fruit wood of choice. I’ve done apple, apricot, peach, and cherry. I like them all and each gives a little distinct flavor, so feel free to experiment and find out which one suits you best. If you haven’t brined, then use this time to prep the meat. Simply put on the rub/seasoning of your choice and let it rest so it can both penetrate into the meat and bring the meat to a little warmer of a temp so you don’t have to smoke as long.

Once that is done, then throw them in the smoker and let them go for at least an hour. You will notice the smoke from the indirect heat starting to cook the meat and make it sweat some.

Beginning portion of the reverse sear: smoking the meat for about an hour.
Beginning portion of the reverse sear: smoking the meat for about an hour.

I usually check the meat after an hour and it seems to get to internal temps in the 110-120 degree range. This is when I remove it and put in on the high heat of the grill to get the sear action going. When I sear, I usually only flip it once. Once the internal temp hits between 140-145 degrees, I remove and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Resting the meat afterward is beneficial because it helps the meat be juicier to the taste.

The finishing part of the reverse sear: the actual sear itself.
The finishing part of the reverse sear: the actual sear itself.

You may notice in the picture above that the juices start to pool on top of the meat. I make sure to leave it facing that side up so I don’t lose that extra flavor. Slicing meat against the grain makes it more tender to the taste, so I recommend cutting it up that way. You just might be surprised at how much flavor is packed into these cuts of meat, especially for the low price compared to most other cuts of steak. Give it a try and let me know how it goes by either commenting on this post or reaching out to me on Instagram at @learningtosmoke or Twitter using the same name. Good luck and enjoy!

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