One of the most tender cuts of meat from the chuck primal — the blade steak — is often overlooked because it requires some extra preparation. In fact, the full blade steak is often cut in two just to avoid its long center stripe of cartilage (aka gristle)!
But if you’re willing to do a little home butchering, the blade steak is an affordable and delicious cut.
Today, we’re going to take a full-scale look at the blade steak. You’ll learn what it tastes like, how to cook it, and a few recipes to make the best of it.
Then, we’ll give you the lowdown on its nutrition facts and a few similar cuts as alternatives, as well as where to buy a fine quality blade steak.
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What Does Blade Steak Taste Like?
Every cut of meat from the chuck primal is known for its pronounced “beefy” taste, and the blade steak is no exception. It’s rich and flavorful, with a refined marbling that gives it a soft and buttery finish.
But there’s a reason that not many butchers leave the blade steak fully intact: It has a line of connective tissue directly down the center.
And if you throw this directly onto a hot grill, you’ll end up with an unpleasantly chewy center. There’s a few ways to get around this, and we’ll get into that in a moment.
What Are the Best Ways to Cook Blade Steak?
If you leave a blade steak whole, your options for cooking a tender and flavorful meal are limited. And it’s all because of that line of connective tissue.
Heat it too quickly or over too high a heat, and it will tense up and become tough as shoe leather.
That means the best ways to cook blade steak are those that involve low heat, long cooking, and plenty of moisture. Braising works well, as does smoking low and slow.
Alternatively, you can cut the blade steak into two pieces and remove the cartilage altogether. Then you’ll have two separate steaks (one’s called a flat iron, the other a top blade) that are fit for grilling, broiling, or oven roasting.
So in summary: If you leave the steak whole, cook it low and slow with plenty of moisture. If you want to cook fast and over high heat, cut the steak in two and discard the central band of connective tissue.
Blade Steak Nutrition Facts
Nutritionvalue.org gives the following nutrition facts for a 4 ounce portion of blade steak:
- 157 calories
- 7.3 grams of fat, with 3.1 grams of saturated fat
- 78 milligrams of cholesterol
- 23 grams of protein
- 16% daily value of iron
- 8% daily value of potassium
That’s in addition to a rich and complex serving of all your daily B vitamins, and plenty of trace minerals like selenium and zinc, too.
Overall, that makes blade steak a high protein, high vitamin and mineral option — with the only downside being its fairly high fat and cholesterol content.
This makes it pretty standard as far as steak cuts go, but definitely healthier than fattier ground beef blends.
How to Cook Blade Steak – Recipes
The recipes that make the best use of blade steak have one thing in common: They’re very specific about how to prepare it before you even start cooking.
So let’s take a look at three different ways to cook it — whole, and cut into top blade and flat iron steaks.
Braised Blade Steak
Whenever you’re working with a cut of meat that has a tough or fibrous component, you should look first towards wet heat cooking methods. For a full blade steak, oven braising is the easiest way to get a tender, full-flavored, well-seasoned steak — and as a bonus, you can make a darned good gravy out of the drippings.
The basic procedure for braising a tougher cut like a full blade steak is this:
- Pat both sides of the steak with plenty of kosher salt, then leave covered in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat, and then sear the steak on both sides. Set it aside.
- Cook sliced onions and garlic in the Dutch oven with a little oil, 10-12 minutes, until translucent.
- Return the steak to the pot, and add enough braising liquid to partially cover it
- Cover the Dutch oven and put it in the oven at 350 degrees. Cook for 2 hours, then lower the temperature to 250 degrees. Cook for 2-3 more hours, until the steak is pull-apart tender.
Now the question is: What should you use for your braising liquid? Beer, wine, and beef stock all work well as a base. Then you can add more aromatics like herbs and spices if you’d like to make a more intense gravy.
To make the gravy, use the reserved braising liquid. Strain any leftover bits out of it, then whisk in a few tablespoons of flour while cooking it over a medium heat in a sauce pot. This will give it a rich, silky texture that pairs wonderfully with the tender blade steak.
Grilled Flat Iron Steak
The flat iron steak, one half of a full blade steak, is much revered by butchers and chefs. It’s affordable and easy to handle, with a robust meaty flavor and rich texture. In short: It’s a near-perfect steak for grilling.
My basic procedure for grilling any steak is this:
- Salt both sides of your steak generously, then leave it covered in the fridge for around 12 hours. This will break down the proteins on the outside of the steak, allowing for a quicker and fuller sear.
- Prepare your grill with one hot side, and one unheated side. The hot side will be used to sear the steak, and the cold side will be used to rest it while ambient heat continues to cook the inside.
- Pat your steak dry on both sides before getting ready to put it on the grill. Using the hot side, cook for 1 minute at a time, flipping and monitoring the steak’s doneness.
- Preferably, you’ll have a meat thermometer to guarantee the degree of doneness. If not, you’ll have to go by the texture of the steak when you press on it with a pair of tongs.
- The ideal outcome: A steak with a deeply seared crust and perfectly cooked interior.
The whole process takes a fair bit of practice to do just right. But when you master this general method, you can use it for any cut of steak — and things like chicken and pork chops, too.
Oven Roasted Top Blade Steak
The partner cut to a flat iron steak comes from the other side of the full blade steak. It usually has as much or more marbling as the flat iron, and makes for an excellent one-sheet-pan dinner for the whole family.
Start by salting the top blade steak on both sides, and leaving it in the fridge for 6 to 12 hours, covered. Pat it dry, and heat your heaviest skillet over medium high heat. When it’s fully heated, sear the steak on both sides, then set aside.
Now prepare your sheet pan. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees, and add a bit of good quality olive oil to cover the sheet pan. Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes, and season them with salt, pepper, and a dash of chili powder or your favorite spice mixture.
Now add a layer of green onions over the top of the potatoes, and add a final sprinkle of salt and olive oil.
Return the steak to the sheet pan, and roast the entire meal for 15-25 minutes, depending on desired steak temperature. Rest the steak for a few minutes, cut it against the grain, and voila! You have a full dinner, ready to serve.
Other Cuts Similar to Blade Steak
If you can’t find a full blade steak at your butcher’s, fear not: There are plenty of other cuts that make a good substitute for it.
First of all, look for the blade steak’s two component parts. Many butchers will now separate the steak into a flat iron and a top blade steak, and sell them individually.
Next, consider a blade chuck steak. It’s an inexpensive cut with a fair bit of connective tissue, just like the blade steak. Follow the recipe above for braising, and you’ll end up with a tender and juicy steak with tons of beefy flavor.
A shoulder steak is a darned good option for wet cooking methods, too. It really benefits from either marinating before grilling, or braising just as recommended above.
Just keep in mind that if you’re working with a steak that has a lot of connective tissue, use a wet cooking method. And if you have a tender cut of steak with good marbling, season and grill it instead.
Where to Buy Blade Steak
The first place you should look to buy a blade steak is from your local butcher. In addition to getting some of the freshest cuts of meat, buying locally will put you in your butcher’s good graces — which is a great place to be when it’s time to ask for a specialty cut of meat.
Of course, if you don’t have a local butcher, ordering online is a good option. Here are a few of my favorite places to buy steaks online:
Porter Road is a Nashville-based butcher shop that dry ages their steaks before shipping them off to steak lovers around the U.S. Their steaks are never frozen, only refrigerated, making them perfectly tender and juicy.
Their blade steak is a great example of this style; its dry aging further accentuates the intensely beefy flavor of the cut.
Farmer’s Fresh Meat sells blade steaks at a very affordable price, but their stock is always subject to change. If you find them in stock, it’s a great deal for a tasty cut of meat.
Snake River Farms is also a good option for blade and a wide range for steaks.
Outside of these options, few online butcher shops sell a full blade steak. Most break them down into flat iron and top blade steaks instead.
How to Store Blade Steak
If you’re not ready to cook a blade steak right away, it’s important to store it in a way that both maintains its flavor and prevents cross-contamination in your fridge.
Alternatively, store your steak in a tightly sealed plastic bag or meat container, with as much air pushed out as possible. Then store it on the bottom shelf of your fridge with a plate under it, just in case any juices escape the bag.
You don’t want to keep a steak in the refrigerator for more than a few days, as it will begin to oxidize. When the outside of the meat starts to turn gray, it’s already begun to degrade and will lose a lot of flavor.
At this point, your best bet would be to trim the oxidized parts off, then cube up the steak meat for a stew.
If you end up with more steak than you can possibly eat in a week, the clear answer is to freeze it. Once again, it’s strongly recommended to vacuum seal your meat, this time to prevent freezer burn.
Blade Steak FAQs
Here are a few common questions we hear about blade steaks.
What is a blade steak good for?
Blade steak is one of the most tender meat cuts when it’s cooked properly, and the best way to cook this delicious steak is to cook it slowly with moist, low heat. The blade steak is ideal for oven braising, in casseroles and stews, or cooking in a slow cooker.
Can I fry blade steak?
It’s possible to fry a blade steak, but if you do, you’ll need to marinate the beef before frying it. The marinade will help to tenderize the steak and it will also infuse plenty of delicious flavor. Fry a blade steak in a deep skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.
How do you tenderize a blade steak?
To tenderize blade steak, you can follow any of the following methods.
1 – Pound the blade steak with a good tenderizer or mallet.
2 – Tenderize the blade steak with salt, which will pull the moisture from the steak.
3 – Marinate the blade steak with a basic marinade.
4 – Allow your steaks to rest.
5 – Cool the blade steak slow and low.
Are chuck and Blade Steak the same?
Chuck steak and blade steak both come from the chuck area of the cow, which is located near the shoulder blade in the upper part of the shoulder. Chuck steak has less connective tissue and collagen than the blade steak.
Is Blade Steak and flank steak the same?
Because it is located near the cow’s shoulder blade, blade steak is a completely different cut of meat from flank steak. Flank steak is located below the sirloin and loin of the cow.
Are blade steaks tender?
The blade steak is a very tender cut of beef, but it’s easy to overcook this steak. To avoid overcooking your blade steak, be sure to cook it with a wet heat cooking method. Both oven braising and slow cooking are effective ways to get a tender blade steak.
What is better chuck or blade?
Rather than a matter of which is better, it depends on how you’re planning to cook the steak. Also, to cook blade steak, there is some prep work involved because you have to remove the band of connective tissue or cut the blade steak in half.
Is blade steak same as chuck?
While the blade steak and chuck steak are located in the same area around the cow’s shoulder, the blade steak is slightly different from the chuck steak. The blade steak has lots of collagen and connective tissue, whereas the chuck steak does not.
Is blade steak good for slow cooking?
Because a blade steak is more tender when it’s cooked with long cooking and low heat, this cut of beef is ideal for cooking in a slow cooker. To cook blade steak in the slow cooker, remove the central strip of connective tissue and provide sufficient moisture.
Is blade steak good for stir fry?
Stir fry recipes are cooked quickly with a good sauce. Because blade steak benefits from being cooked slowly on low heat, it’s not the best steak for stir fry recipes. For stir fry, go with top sirloin steak, skirt steak (or alternative since it’s expensive), flank steak, Denver steak, sirloin tip center steak, or ranch steak.
Is blade steak good for stew?
Is blade steak the same as flank?
Blade steak is not the same as flank steak.
Does blade steak have a bone?
Blade steak does have a bone. It is a relatively affordable cut that offers a rich beef taste. It is recommended to marinate the steak before grilling. The cut is located in the flat bone section of the blade, which originates from ribs 4 through 5.
Is blade steak the same as oyster steak?
Blade steak is not the same as oyster steak. While oyster blade steak can be called flat iron steak, true flat iron steak is prepared by removing all connective tissue and silver skin from the oyster blade. This results in lean, tender, juicy, and flavorful meat that can be easily portioned.
Is a blade steak a good cut of meat?
A blade steak is a good cut of meat because it is highly marbled and juicy. Its tough connective tissue can be tenderized through pounding, marinating, and slow cooking. Additionally, it can be grilled or sautéed to achieve tender and flavorful results.
Is blade steak a cheap cut?
Blade steak is considered a cost-effective cut of meat, despite its intimidating name. Butchers and professional chefs recognize the value of these lesser-known cuts, such as flank, chuck, and blade, as they often offer more flavor compared to pricier alternatives.
Is blade steak chewy?
Blade steak can be quite chewy if the strip of gristle running through the middle is consumed or if it is overcooked. However, the meat surrounding the gristle line is very tender and has a buttery flavor. Additionally, it lacks a fat cap and has excellent marbling throughout, which contributes to its creamy taste.
Why are blade steaks so cheap?
Blade steaks are inexpensive due to the presence of gristle, but if you consider this factor while preparing and cooking, there is no need to pay extra to have it removed. Therefore, blade steak remains a cost-effective option.
Is blade steak good to fry?
Blade steak is best fried for 2-3 minutes on each side until it is browned underneath. It is recommended to cook the blade steak rare or medium rare for the best results.
Is blade steak fatty?
The blade steak is not fatty. It is a lean cut of meat taken from the oyster blade, offering a robust beef taste and retaining moisture even when cooked to medium-well.
Is blade steak similar to flank steak?
Blade steak is not similar to flank steak.
What is the most favorable cut of steak?
The most favorable cut of steak is the Filet Mignon, which is also referred to as the Tenderloin Steak, Beef Loin Steak, or Filet. Its unparalleled tenderness makes it the superior choice among all cuts of steak.
What cut is similar to blade steak?
The cut that is similar to blade steak is the beef bolar roast, which is taken from the shoulder blade, just like the blade steak.
Is blade steak the same as chuck roast?
Blade steak is not the same as chuck roast. The distinction lies in the cut of meat. Chuck roast refers to the inexpensive beef derived from the muscle between the neck and shoulder blade of the cattle. This is why it is also known as blade pot roast. Chuck encompasses both roasts and steaks, which are highly favored cuts.
How do you cook under blade steak?
The under blade steak can be cooked by grilling it quickly over high heat, but it is important to avoid cooking it beyond medium doneness to prevent the meat from becoming tough and dry. This cut of steak is also suitable for braising, as well as for creating delicious kebabs, fajitas, and stir-fry dishes.
Can you eat blade steak medium rare?
You can eat blade steak medium rare once it reaches an internal temperature of 135ºF. If you prefer medium, you can cook it to 140ºF, but we advise against cooking it beyond medium. After removing the steaks from the grill, allow them to rest for 5 minutes, then slice them thinly and serve. Enjoy!
What is the difference between flat iron steak and blade steak?
The difference between flat iron steak and blade steak is that the flat iron steak is cut from the same area as the top blade, but without the gristle, resulting in a more tender and flavorful cut. However, it is often scarce in supermarket meat cases as most are sold to restaurants.
Is there another name for blade steak?
The blade steak is also known as book steak, butler steak, oyster blade steak, or simply oyster steak, and it can also be referred to as petite steak.
Is blade steak the same as flank steak?
Blade steak is not the same as flank steak. The flat iron steak, also known as a top blade filet or sometimes a flank steak, is a piece of beef shoulder that is similar to flank steak but more marbled. It gets its name from its shape, which resembles an iron.