Grilled Pork Steaks

Grilled Pork Steak Recipe

Being a guy born and raised in St. Louis, I love pork steaks, so I’m going to write about them several times to get you all acquainted with one of my favorite meats.

My first recipe was a smoked pork steak that took a couple of hours – this one is the extreme opposite.

When I was growing up my dad burned pork steaks on our grill once a week during the summer.  Yes, burned.  I’m pretty sure he’s the guy that invented the St. Louis way to cook pork steaks:  Salt and Pepper, blazing hot fire, grill til they’re black, then sauce and turn 17 times until they resemble a block of tasteless cement…coated in sauce.

Mmmmmmm…

Pork steaks are a delicious and cheap treat and can be prepared quickly or very slowly and have amazingly different – but all very tasty – results.

For those outside St. Louis, this is what you need to do:  Go to your butcher and pick out a Pork shoulder/butt – commonly called Boston Butt.  Then ask him/her to slice it into ¾” steaks.  Your traditional Boston butt will be transformed into St. Louis style Pork Steaks.

Get ready!

Prepare the Pork Steaks for the Grill

If time allows, marinade your pork steaks for a minimum of 30 minutes and preferably a couple of hours.  All this is going to do is maximize how tender and juicy your steaks are, you know, if you care about that sort of thing.

Marinade

  • 1/2 can Coke
  • 1/2 can Sprite
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

Remove the steaks from brine, pat dry, and set on a tray.

If you want to go with a simple rub, then sprinkle both sides of the meat with kosher salt and pepper.  If you want to get fancier, then throw on some all-purpose rub.

All Purpose Rub

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp oregeno
  • 2 tsp cayenne

Set the steaks aside and go set up your grill for direct cooking.  By the time the coals are ready your steaks will be ready to throw on.

Get Your Grill Hot

So for my quick steak recipe, I get the coals blazing hot.  400+ degrees is the goal.  My Weber Performer has a built-in thermometer for ease.

This setup uses a full chimney of lit charcoal spread evenly across the charcoal grate.  Keep your top and bottom air vents completely open.

If you are using a gas grill then turn all of your burners to HIGH and let the grill preheat for at least 15 minutes.

When my coals are ready, right before I put my steaks on, I throw on a chunk of fruit wood – apple, pecan, cherry – whatever you have.  Or you can toss a handful of wood chips if you prefer.  These are available for a couple bucks at any local grocery store.

Grill The Pork Steaks

Grab an ice-cold frosty beverage and head outside.

Put the pork steaks on the grill and sear on one side – maybe about 5 minutes, take your tongs, flip and sear the other side the same.  What you’re looking for is a bit of the fat to blacken, and a pretty golden brown to your steaks, as pictured.

Grilled Pork Steak Recipe

Oh, and remember those half cans of soda?  Pour those into a spray bottle (You can pick one up almost anywhere – Dollar Store, Home Depot, etc.).  I often will spray my meat while grilling – adds flavor and moisture.

After searing your steaks, they are ready for a layer of your favorite bbq sauce.

Grab another beverage, sauce and a good brush.  I use our homemade team sauce, but you can use whatever your favorite sauce might be.  Take your brush, dab – don’t smear! – DAB the sauce on.  This will keep the spices and juices from brushing right off the meat.  Flip and do the same thing on the other side.

At this point, I close my vents and let the smoke seep into my steaks for a few more minutes before pulling off the grill.  Even just 5 minutes and you’ll be amazed at how more juices appear on the surface of your steaks.

Carefully pull your steaks off the grill onto a cookie sheet, being careful to try to keep the juices on the steak, not pouring onto your grill.  Let sit for 5 – 10 minutes and once again, you’ll see more juices pouring out.

For gas grill users, check out your options for using a smoke box you fill with wet chips and place on your burners.  They work great and have a similar effect.  Here is a great video showing how to use a smoker tube to smoke and grill pork steaks on a gas grill.

Pork Steak Temp

Getting your pork steaks to the right internal temperature is the key to this whole recipe.  The ideal pork steak temp is 145F.

If the internal temperature is any lower than 145F, then the meat is undercooked and will be safe to eat. If you cook the pork steak past 145F it will become tough and chewy.

The exception to this guidance is if you are smoking the pork steaks and take them up to about 200F where they become fall apart tender.

This is another spot I’m asking you to rethink bbq.  Pork steaks don’t have to be grilled for 45 minutes and completely dried out. (Please don’t tell my dad) They can be seared quickly just like you would a beef steak!

You’ll love the results.

Finished and sliced Grilled Pork Steak with Pineapple

This is the easy, quick way to have something similar to pulled pork in your kitchen any time of year.  And you can change the flavor by simply using different spices and different sauces.

I also recommend trying different woods until you find the flavors you enjoy.  Try maple wood for a tasty twist.

Serve these pork steaks with some grilled pineapple and you have an easy, delicious, quick meal!

Grilled Pork Steak Recipe

Grilled Pork Steaks

Pork steaks are soaked in a flavorful brine for 30 minutes, seasoned with salt and pepper and then grilled over direct heat to an internal temperature of 145F.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 450 kcal

Ingredients
  

For Marinade

  • ½ can cola
  • ½ can Sprite pour other ½ of your soda’s into spray bottle
  • 1 - 2 cups apple juice depending how many steaks
  • 1/2 c kosher salt
  • fill in with water as needed

For Pork Steaks

  • Salt & Pepper
  • All Purpose Rub
  • BBQ Sauce

Instructions
 

  • Marinade at least 30 minutes
  • Rinse off brine, pat dry, lay on tray.
  • Sprinkle with salt & pepper or all purpose rub.
  • Sear over direct heat for about 7 minutes per side.
  • Dab sauce on one side, flip and sauce the other side. Do it twice if you want more.
  • The Pork steaks are DONE at an internal temperature of 145F.
  • Close all vents, let set for 5 minutes, and remove from grill.
  • Let rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Notes

Pork steaks are typically cut from the shoulder (Boston Butt) of a hog. This cut has a high fat content which makes it incredibly juicy and flavorful.
You might want to trim off some of the exterior fat before grilling to minimize flareups. There is enough fat in the interior of the meat that removing the exterior fat will not significantly impact the flavor.
Keyword Grilled Pork Steak

54 thoughts on “Grilled Pork Steaks

  1. These are very good! Reminds me of the way my dad always grilled them in KANSAS CITY..not St Louis. Seriously….St Louis?

    1. I was born and raised in StL but lived in KC (Kansas side) for 9 years…I never met one person from there that even knew what a pork steak was! They thought I was crazy when I mentioned my favorite meal being pork steaks, mashed potatoes and asparagus. “Pork steak, what is that?”
      It is totally a St. Louis thang!!

    2. The cut of meat known as the pork steak began in St. Louis. It is an STL delicacy as are toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake. Here is the history of the pork steak:

      Pork Steaks, sometimes referred to as a Boston butt or pork blade steaks , are steaks cut from the shoulder of the pig made which originated from St. Louis, Missouri. Pork Steaks were invented by Winfred E. Steinbruegge of Florissant, MO in 1956 in honor of the birth of his youngest son, Mark W Steinbruegge. Winfred asked Tom Brandt of Tomboy grocery stores, to cut a pork butt into steaks that could be grilled. The new “pork steak” quickly became popular with local residents and eventually made its way to being sold in Schnucks grocery stores. Shoulder steaks are cut from the same primal cut of meat most commonly used for pulled pork, and can be quite tough without long cooking times due to the high amount of collagen in the meat. Because of this, pork shoulder steaks are often cooked slower than a typical beefsteak, and are often stewed or simmered in barbecue sauce during cooking. Pork steaks are considered a cheaper cut of meat, and they are often found on sale.

  2. These too were a favorite of mine growing up except my dad would fry them up in the oven till the fat was nice and crispy!!!!!!!!! I love the flavor of meat off a BBQ grill more for sure though!!!!! My step-dad however is always marinating with different flavors of soda, my favorite would be dr. Pepper. And recently as of about four days ago instead of using my propane grill I went a bought a charcoal grill and I can’t wait to try this recipe out with charcoal instead of gas!!! Wish me luck but I’m sure with all the comments I have read that my pork steaks will come out delicious!!
    Thanks!!!

    Grilling it up in Colorado!

  3. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that other parts of the country besides St Louis do have Pork Steaks! I live in CA and we raise our own hogs and our butcher has always given us pork steaks! I have been eating them here for at least 20 years! I didn’t know that parts of the country don’t have pork steaks! I didn’t know they started in St. Lois either! That is interesting to know! Enjoying reading your recipes!

    1. I agree with you Carol..not really sure why St Louis thinks they have an exclusive on Pork Steak because I grew up in Cali during the 1950’s & we BBQ’d Pork steak almost every weekend…I still would rather have it than beef steak…a truely, awesome piece of meat!

  4. Hi There! Born and raised in the STL and love me some pork steaks. With all the great comments and reviews, I am going to give this weekend! Just have a quick question in which I hope you can get to before weekend.

    After you sear it on both sides and add the sauce, are you moving the steaks over on the grill to indirect heat or you still keeping in on the direct heat, 400 degrees? I don’t want to serve any hockey pucks :).

  5. You never once mentioned flair ups! I have a gas grill, and they’re ‘gonna happen, so what do you suggest how to handle it or prevent it?!

    Thanks,

    Wink

  6. Y ‘all are over thinking it! I was first introduced to butt steaks during my husband’s 20 years in the US Navy. We were always able to find them at the Commissary, although the meat departments of the local grocery stores never got on board. In any event, we just seasoned them with salt and pepper – sometimes seasoning salt – and put them on the grill. YUM! Just be careful not to overcook, you want them to be at their juicy best, but you know EVERYTHING pork taste great when grilled!

  7. Thanks for this Kevin, I am brining as I type. However 10 minutes x 2 is 20 minutes on a 400 degree grill and that seems a little long for steaks less than an inch thick. I see nobody complaining so I will assume this wont overcook the steaks, but even with pork I do not feel the need to cook it to well done. Can I drop the cooking time a bit? Should I?

    1. You can definitely try dropping the cook time, just be careful – this is pork, not beef – so you don’t want to serve it medium. You want it to be, basically, just barely done. My times are always estimates..it all depends on temp of grill, thickness of steaks.

      1. The USDA came out with new guidelines for pork in 2011: “New cooking guidelines from the nation’s food-safety agency confirm that pork can be consumed safely when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.” (unless it’s ground pork, then you still have to cook it to 160 degrees.) In other words, if you have a cut of pork like a chop or a steak, then you can serve it medium.

  8. Tried this recipe and loved it. The meat was very salty. We let it soak in the brine overnight and we did not wash brine off. Would it still have a good flavor if I omitted the salt?

    1. Rose – I always wash my brine off before cooking – I think that will help a ton with the saltiness. But if not, then you can definitely omit the salt from the marinade and it will still give the pork steaks a great flavor!

  9. Hi Leoan

    I haven’t Barbecued Pork Butt Steak in a Long Time..Let’s give this one a whack hey? See what April thinks?

    Oh !! It sure will be Nice to start Cooking again too!!! I wish there were more people too.LOL

  10. Here’s our recipe (over 70 years old) for Old St. Louis Sauce for BBQ pork steaks:
    1/4 cup vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon onion
    2-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
    Combine ingredients and simmer for 1/2 hr.

    Came from Laclede Gas recipe book

    1. Awesome BBQ sauce recipe! Although I did add some ketchup to thicken:). I am from Michigan and my family has been dining on pork steak all of our lives. It has been a family favorite during summer months at our family property up north. I have now passed this tradition on to my family. I will certainly be adding this great sauce recipe to my tradition. Thank you.

  11. I first learned about Pork Steaks when I lived in St. Louis most my working career. I’m glad to say Pork Steaks are in many meat markets in Oklahoma City. I bought package and used your recipe to fix them. Where St. Louis folks often went wrong making these was using Maulls. Sorry, worst barbecue sause ever.

    1. I’ll kindly disagree on the Maull’s comment. It’s a great base sauce. Even Mike Mills – he of 3 world championships and 17th Street Grill fame – agrees. Maull’s is a great sauce to start with, then doctor up to your taste preferences; sweet, spicy, smokey, etc.

  12. This is not just a St. Louis thing. I have been cooking these in Alabama for over 30 years. They are available at just about any grocery store around here. Regardless of where they started, they are delicious on the grill. My kids prefer them to steak.

    1. Great question, Shane, and the answer is – it doesn’t matter if the lid is open/closed. With my Weber, I do it both ways depending how hot the grill is. Sometimes the lid needs to be open for increased oxygen flow to get the fire hot. Sometimes it’s TOO hot and I close the lid so the flames don’t get crazy. If you’re using a gas grill I’d say leave the lid closed to maximize the heat.
      Wood chips – I never soak them, but you can. It doesn’t matter either way, in my opinion.

  13. I am from St. Louis and here’s an even better way to BBQ pork steaks but talk about pulled, you won’t have to pull just catch the meat when it falls off the bone. Steam is the key. My Aunt Nadine did it with a pressure cooker, before grilling. I use a rice cooker and steam them for about 25 minutes or until almost falling off the bone but still one piece, preferably not quite falling apart. Then you can sear for a few minutes and start slathering with your favorite sauce. Start your smoking and turn them over, on low heat, every 5-7 minutes until the BBQ sauce is well carmelized and get the potato salad. You should use some kind of grill insert or spread foil because unless you screw this up, the meat will fall off in pieces and you will not find any fat left to surprise you and the meat will be as tender as, well, properly cooked St. Louis pork steaks! Gooey butter cake for desert?

    1. Dennis, hi. How many steaks are you talking about steaming at one time? Do you just stack them one on top of the other? Could you explain please?

  14. I love this recipe and have already shared it with a few friends. I actually found my pork steak at at butcher shop pre-marinated! So instead I used your cooking times, they were perfect. We bought another one a week later, THIS IS THE BEST!

    How come I never heard of pork steak before? It’s so juicy and delicious!

    1. Hey Robin – great to hear about your success! Pork steaks are definitely a St. Louis thing. Most other areas of the country just cook the whole pork butt. A genius in St. Louis many years ago came up with the bright idea of cutting the pork butt into steaks for grilling! It just hasn’t caught on in many other areas yet.

      1. Not so! I live in the Great Northwest. Washington state, and my family has always preferred pork steaks to chops. So much more flavor and tender as well. For me its like chicken breast versus chicken thighs. Give me the thighs, thank you very much and always give me pork steaks over chops. Hands down! And they’re cheaper too. So far…

  15. We made these last weekend.

    I had never brined anything before so I wasn’t sure how much rinsing was involved. I did the best I could, but salting them AFTER brining was too much. I think next time I won’t salt/pepper them before searing. Also, 10 minutes was too long per side on our charcoal grill, and we didn’t even get the heat to 400, just around 375 or so. They were a skooch dry.

    BUT, they were still pretty good. I’ll make them again and again this summer.

    1. Lisa, you need to rinse them well after brining and dab of the moisture with paper towels. That will he;p. Maybe cook after that and then decide if you will need to salt the 3rd time you make it!

  16. I have never prepared or eaten a pork steak before today. I bought a package at Sams Club and looked online for recipes when I got home. Fortunately for us, I picked yours! They were delicious and juicy and tender, I did brine exactly as written for about 2 hours. I think that really helped them to stay moist and tender. Thanks for the great instructions, I’m a pork steak fan as of today! I also used the spray bottle of soda, great idea.
    Nancy

  17. If I am using a gas grill, During the searing period do I close the lid or leave it open? (Ps I am very excited to make these – my family is all fromSt Louis but I only get them when I make the trip there during the summer . I am really hoping this works out!)

    1. Either way is ok, actually. I close the lid for 2 main reasons: to keep smoke in or to put out a fire. If you’re not doing either of those 2 things, you can leave it open!
      Have fun and I hope your family enjoys!

  18. Great recipe! I have used this a few times now and it’s quite good! When it’s this time of year and cold I use the remainder of Cola and sprite as a braise and finish them in the oven.

  19. I made these this week and they were devine! My 7 year old ate 2 helpings for dinner and 2 more the next night! Instead of using bbq sauce, we used a salmon rub on the pork steaks (really good on pork) before grilling. The combo of the brine and the rub were amazing. We will definitely be making this recipe more often, thank you for sharing!

  20. So the funniest thing happened. I googled grilled pork steaks, found your recipe and made some amazing pork steaks, and then saw your picture and realized…I know this guy!!! These steaks were amazing and I laughed out loud reading how and why to do it the way you described! Thanks and great to see you again. I will be back to see how to grill our farm raised organic beef!
    Blessings to you Kevin!

  21. Kevin, I’m just learning the art of barbeque and I really appreciate your clear instructions. Like you, when I was a kid and had pork chops or steaks they were always tough charcoal bricks. Tonight I used my own marinade, but your advice on cooking them was spot on and the steaks turned out perfectly. I felt like a master, right out of the gate. Thanks!

  22. I grilled some pork steaks last night on my Weber Q320 following your recipe. I brined the steaks for about 3 hours. I rubbed them down with some Weber Roasted Garlic and Herb Spices. Grilled them as per your direction. Just before they were finished I put a little Diet Coke in some Sweet Baby Ray Barbecue Sauce and got them nice and sauced up. The first bite was so awesome but the best reward came from my Grand kids raving as to how great they tasted. I will only cook pork steaks this way from now on. Thanks for such a great recipe.

  23. This was amazing! Thank you so much! I detest dry pork, and this was far from that. It is definitely going to be one of my go-to recipe for some evening Q-ing the rest of this summer. I needed a recipe that was less than an hour because I have a very active toddler, haha! Even though I didn’t have a thermometer, and I didn’t have *quite* enough coals in my grill these turned out splendid. Thanks again!

  24. St. Louis born and bred, I’m SO glad you posted this online. NOBODY outside of St. Louis knows how delicious and inexpensive pork steaks are. Your recipe is terrific – and I’m using my St. Louis mom’s great BBQ sauce to finish them up. Question – do you ever par boil the steaks? My sister does and she says they don’t lose flavor but I’m unconvinced. If you do – what method do you use? Thanks!
    Susan

    1. Hey Susan – fellow St. Louisan – thanks so much for reaching out and I’m glad you enjoy the site!

      I never par boil any meat. Ever. All goes back to the science of how to get flavor in the meat. Once the internal temperature is too high, the pores close and flavor cannot get in. That’s why marinades and dry rubs work so well on raw meat. Once boiled, you give yourself no chance of getting flavor any deeper into the meat than the surface.

      Keep coming back, Susan!

  25. Hi, Kevin,
    Neither my husband nor I have been successful at grilling. It usually turns out something like your dad’s BBQ. Anyway, I bought a small gas grill at Walmart and a beautiful package of pork steaks at Costco. Not wanting to ruin the meat, I looked on the Internet and found your suggestions for grilling. I didn’t have any apple juice on hand, so I mixed a can of cola, a can of 7-Up and a can of root beer! I seared the steaks and then turned the grill down to low and cooked them a while longer (for a total of 30 minutes) because they were really thick. Then I let them rest, sauced them, put them in a baking dish covered with foil and cooked them in the oven for 30 more minutes! Wonderful! Thanks for the cooking lesson. I’m not afraid anymore! How about tips on beef steaks? We like to be able to chew them! 😀

    1. Gayle, great job with the pork steaks! I’m so glad you tried out our recipe! As for beef steaks, we have a couple recipes on the site.

      This is a recipe for a poterhouse: https://www.extraordinarybbq.com/grilled-porterhouse-steak/
      Here is a marinated strip steak: https://www.extraordinarybbq.com/marinated-strip-steak/
      And if you are feeling adventurous, you could try a bison steak!: https://www.extraordinarybbq.com/bison-steak/

      See if you like any of those recipes and let me know if you have questions after you read them. Happy Grilling!

  26. Tried this tonight, and it was great! I actually worried that the cooking times seemed long, but it turned out great, even without the brine. My husband loved it, too. We’ll be trying this recipe again – delicious!

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