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The blade steak—aka shoulder steak—is our nominee for the most-underutilized cut of pork. While we usually think of pork shoulder as a primal destined for roasts, braises, carnitas, and low-and-slow barbecue, meat sliced from the Boston butt portion of the shoulder yield juicy, flavorful, and pleasantly chewy steaks that cook up like rib-eyes or at a fraction of the cost.

Pork blade steaks are plenty flavorful on their own, but we like to push them into barbecue territory dust with a fragrant spice rub, then finish the skillet-seared chops with a brushing of barbecue sauce and a quick turn on the grill grates, which finishes the meat with a sweet and spicy glaze.

Photo: Benjamin Muller

Field Notes:


If you can’t find pre-cut blade steaks at your grocery store, ask your butcher to slice them for you (we like 1-inch-thick steaks) or cut them yourself from a boneless Boston butt or pork shoulder roast, which you can find in most meat cases.


The recipe below is sized to make four steaks and serve at least 8 people. If you don’t have a No.16 Field Skillet, two steaks fit nicely in a No.12, or you can cook the steak individually in a No.8 or No.10 skillet.

Recipe: Spice-Rubbed Pork Blade Steaks with No-Cook Barbecue Sauce

Yield: 8 servings



Make the spice blend: In a Field Skillet, toast the fennel seeds, peppercorns, and pepper flakes over medium heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice mill or mortar and pestle and let cool. Grind into a powder, then stir in the salt and chipotle powder


Rub the spice blend all over the pork steaks, then cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature for up to 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.


Make the barbecue sauce: In a blender, combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.


Prepare a medium-high heat grill and place a No.16 Double-HandledField Skillet on top to warm up for a few minutes. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the pork and cook, turning the steaks over every minute or so, until deeply browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 140°F for medium, 10 to 15 minutes total.


Transfer the pork steaks to the hottest part of your grill, brush with some of the barbecue sauce and cook, turning once or twice, until well glazed, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve with more barbecue sauce on the side.