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What is Blade Steak?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A blade steak is a cut of meat from the shoulder of a cow or pig. Most people think of beef when they think of this type of steak, with pork blade steaks sometimes being referred to as “pork steaks” to avoid confusion. This cut can be tough, making it more suited to marinating and braising than quick grilling or searing, but it can also be quite flavorful, and sometimes remarkably tender, depending on how it is handled.

This cut of meat comes from the primal cut known as the “chuck,” a section of the animal that basically covers the shoulder. It is classified as a cross cut steak because it is made by cutting across the chuck to produce steaks. There are two types: the top blade steak and the under blade steak. The top cut is much more tender, while the under tends to be a bit tougher and more difficult to work with.

Blade steaks are easy to identify, because a streak of gristly connective tissue runs down the middle of the steak. A variant on the steak, the flat iron steak, is made by cutting around the connective tissue on a top blade steak to yield a single piece of meat that can be quite flavorful. The very top of the shoulder is also quite tender, once the connective tissue is cut away, making the flat iron steak a coveted item in some butcher shops.

When working with blade steak, it is important for a cook to find out whether the cut is from the top or the bottom, as top and bottom steaks need to be handled differently. The more tender top cut is a more versatile cut of meat, and it can be cooked lightly for people who like medium and rare meats. The under steak usually requires more work to tenderize it, such as a slow braising or roasting. In both cases, overcooking will yield a tough, rubbery steak, and excessive marination can lead to soft, mushy meat.

Cooks may also see top blade steaks referred to as book steaks, top chuck steaks, petite steaks, or lifter steaks. Under cuts are known as bottom or California steaks to some butchers. As with any meat product, steak should be kept under refrigeration until it's ready to be used. Cooks can thaw frozen blade steak by placing in the refrigerator overnight, as room temperature thawing can promote the growth of bacteria.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By atomicgirl — On Aug 03, 2011

People, if you want to do Chinese style stir fry with soft, melt in your mouth beef, use "top blade." Slice it up nice and thin, then marinate it for a half hour or more. The beef will cook up tender and juicy in under two minutes.

Don't waste your time with recipes that tell you to get "flank" or some other tougher cut, and then to tenderize it with baking soda. Not only is it hard to get the baking soda taste out of the meat, it makes the texture weird and mushy, even *if* you put in a little. So look for "top blade", which sometimes gets labeled as "chicken steak" at the local supermarket.

By googlefanz — On Sep 20, 2010

@charlie89 -- Here's what I do with blade steaks.

First, I make a blade steak marinade out of vinegar, soy sauce, cooking oil and ketchup. You combine all these together (about 1/4 cup of vinegar, and a tablespoon or so of everything else, according to taste), then add in a minced clove of garlic.

Then place all this in a ziploc bag with your steak and let it marinate for at least eight hours, preferably overnight. You need to turn it at least once during this time.

You then place it in the oven and let it broil for no more than ten minutes on each time, less depending on how well you want it done.

Best of luck!

By LittleMan — On Sep 20, 2010

I am usually a sirloin or skirt steak fan, but I have found that a good beef chuck top blade steak is the best for when you want to broil a steak.

Broiling a steak can be a little tricky, but these steaks are tough enough to take a good broiling.

I usually marinade them beforehand either in some olive oil or red wine, but they do OK on their own too.

By Charlie89 — On Sep 20, 2010

What is the best steak sauce to use for grilling chuck blade steak? I guess what I'm looking for is a fail-proof blade steak marinade.

Does anybody have any good blade steak marinades, or for that matter, tips for cooking blade steak?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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