MGoBBQ: Pork Steaks Comment Count

Seth October 12th, 2017 at 12:00 PM

[Sponsor Note: We started doing these recipes because Matt Gase, then CEO of a barbecue sauce company, offered to sponsor Joe Pichey’s materials for it. Later Matt and his wife decided to create a new company that makes #MichiganDifference good hummus.


Also it’s not made of cats!]



I have moved on from my obsession with pork bellies and gone ALL IN on the St. Louis classic, the PORK STEAK. Not that I don’t enjoy a good pork belly burnt end or pork belly braid every once and awhile, but I am officially on the PORK STEAK express. This is a staple in the St. Louis area and huge in the midwest. We just recently started getting pork steaks in at my local grocery store and butcher shop.

A pork steak is basically a steak cut from the shoulder of the pig. They are commonly referred to as a pork blade steak as well. If your butcher does not carry them, but carries bone-in pork shoulder or butts, he can cut them for you. Think of a bone-in pork butt sliced into 1 inch thick steaks leaving a little bone in each steak. These will be slow smoked to render some fat and finished over high heat to add some sweet an sticky BBQ goodness. You will love these, I promise!


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Load that smoker up with FOGO Hardwood Lump Charcoal and get to 275 degrees. Add a few chunks of Pecan and cherry wood. I love my fruit woods with the pork and this combo is a great one. Use 2 pieces of pecan along with a small hunk of cherry wood for this recipe.


Lay out your pork steaks and hope that your butcher cut all of your pork steaks the same size. As you can see from my pic, I need to write a strongly worded letter to my guy on consistency. Obviously, he snuck in a little taster piece in the middle of my order. Oh well, we will have one that will be done a little quicker than others.


As the smoker is heating up, season your pork steaks with a good sweet and salty rub. I chose Gentrys Smoke Stack for this recipe. This rub has a nice balance of sweet and salty and goes great with pork and chicken.


Once your pit hits 275 degrees, toss em all up on there. Thee will take about 2.5 hours from start to finish, depending on the thickness of your steaks. These are full of fat that needs to be rendered for tenderness. These will be worth the wait, I assure you. We added some pepper to a few just for S’s and G’s. I like me some pepper.


You’ve got some time to kick back and enjoy a beverage of your choice and some Lantana Hummus. What flavor do you prefer? I am hooked on the Black Bean Hummus because of it’s great kick. It’s got some heat!!!


Let these go for about 90 minutes before looking at them. They will start to color up nice after 90 mins.


I’ve made these twice over the last week. Once in a class we were teaching with the Pork Master Chris Prieto of Prime BBQ and once for lunch at the office. Keep a spray bottle around just in case you want to spritz with your favorite apple cider or cherry cola. My local Lowes carries these spray bottles and I love that this is my only color choice. I spritzed every 30 mins, but it is not mandatory. I was only trying to add some color and a little exterior sweetness to the steaks.


Once the pork steaks have reached 175 degrees internally, we can start saucing. I like a sweet glaze on my steaks, but feel free to use whatever sauce you prefer. Give them a good thick coating.


I repeat this step every 15 minutes on both sides. As long as the smoker temp is around 275, you will not have to worry about the sugars burning. After 45 mins of saucing, these freshly lacquered steaks will have a perfect gooey coating. The internal temp will be approaching the 190 mark. Some guys will say this is too high for a pork steak but I prefer to go a little longer on these. The fat has started to render and the tenderness is almost perfect.


After the 3rd coat of your favorite sweet sauce, remove them from the heat and tent loosely. Change your grill set up over to direct heat and get the flames going a little hot. We will finish these off over direct heat.


I like some char on mine, so I let them go a little longer. If you don’t like that char, hit ‘em for 30 seconds a side and remove. I went nearly a minute on my steaks. I Love me some char.


These finished around 200 degrees internally and were fork tender. I’ve tried the traditional recipe and finished around the 175 mark, but I prefer the overall tenderness with this longer cook.


Give these a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy the game and GO BLUE!



October 12th, 2017 at 12:14 PM ^

My family tried Lantana hummus last weekend for a variety of reasons, one of which was the sponsorship of mgoblog. It's really good - we had the blackbean/spicy corn relish. 


October 12th, 2017 at 12:48 PM ^

The flavor-to-effort ratio is incredibly low. Anything from Marinade to a last-second covering with season salt and pepper will take. They cook super fast if you need them too, especially for the meat content -- though you have to be super careful not to char them to a brick. Of course, this is the proper method, but you can cook them at a higher temp and have them done pretty quick. 


October 12th, 2017 at 1:04 PM ^

I have never heard of a pork steak. Is that the same thing a a pork chop?

Would I have to go to a butcher/ ask the butcher in the grocery store? I usually just buy the pre-packaged stuff.


October 12th, 2017 at 1:03 PM ^

May be the best value-cut of meat at the butcher counter.  You just can't go wrong if you use some patience.  This recipe looks awesome, I will need to try to expand my pork repetoire. 


October 12th, 2017 at 1:33 PM ^

Rub on a mixture of black pepper, ginger, chopped garlic and soy sauce.  Garnish with lots of white onion (carmelize it on, with and around the meat).  The glaze/spritz should be a mixture of soy sauce, mirin and powdered ginger.  You can add a tiny bit of sriracha if the ginger leaves you wanting more of a bite.  Serve with steamed white rice and. . . grilled vegetables, if such things are not unholy in your household.

I can't make it work (I can't make ANY pork work), but the fundamental usage of sweet & salty are very similar to Western style cookin'.  Mirin provides the sugar, soy sauce is the salt, rice is the side of starch.  Onion is just a flavoring trapped in the body of a vegetable.  Different ingredients, but otherwise you're not doing anything different.


October 12th, 2017 at 1:15 PM ^

High temp, low temp, sliced thin, sliced thick, cooked long, cooked fast, front of pig, back of pig, salty sauce, spicy sauce, sweet sauce. . . tried it, doesn't matter, don't even suggest it.  Whatever I do, they come out looking like styrofoam with the flavor and consistency of a dry towel.

Nothing beats well-cooked pork but I'm content to let chefs prep it for me.


October 12th, 2017 at 2:37 PM ^

Have you tried using a stove/oven for pork?  Probably the easiest to make and not screw up is a braised pork shoulder.  Can just put it in a dutch oven, fill about 1/3-1/2 up with liquid, bring to a boil on the stove then stick in a 300 degree oven for 3-4 hours and it's super tender.  Any liquid you like, add and seasoning you like and aromatics and it's delicious.  Can brown it before to add flavor.

Another option is pulled pork, start on a smoker and finish in the oven.  You don't get much mroe smoke after the first couple of hours, so no harm finishing in the oven.  And if it's a bit dry, you can add vinegar or bbq sauce to moisten it.

Either way, you can't beat $.99 a lb for delicious easy pork.


October 12th, 2017 at 1:27 PM ^

There is a great "restaurant" on Chicago south side that is just a hole cut into the side of a brick wall, you walk up, hand money through the "window" and they hand you either a pork steak sandwich or a pork steak sandwich with fries. Perfect post bar.


October 12th, 2017 at 2:55 PM ^

I agree on the Weber Smokey Mountain. Its a great smoker and easily transportable.  Go with the 22.5 inch.  It's only $100 mre and gives you the ability to cook larger hunks of meat and full racks of ribs without issue.  I have the larger and smaller and never use my smaller WSM.  You cant go wrong with this one.


late night BTB

October 12th, 2017 at 3:19 PM ^

haha you know the meat itself is not very tasty when all this has to be done!

BBQ was invented in order to make crap cuts of bad meat, edible!  Enough low and slow, smoke, sauce, and cider and one could choke down shoe leather!


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