Drew’s Clues: Grilled Boston Butt Steak

by firsthandfoods on June 4, 2014

One of the best things about meat is that there seems to be no end to the new experiences that can be had cooking and eating it.  We’re all familiar with the most popular cuts like pork chops and beef ribeye, but once you get off the beaten path a little you can find some amazing things.  And I’m not just talking about an unfamiliar cut, but also a cooking method that highlights it’s best qualities.

Of course, boston butt is hardly that far off the beaten path. But treating a thick slice of it as a steak is a little less common.  When it comes to boston butt, my personal experience with it is always some sort of slow cooking.  I’ve slow roasted it in a low oven, slowly smoked it for BBQ, braised it in various ways, but I had never treated boston butt as a “steak.”  So as an experiment I took 1” thick slices of butt, brined them in a standard brine and grilled them over charcoal just like I would a ribeye.  In fact they look a lot like a ribeye the way there’s an “eye” of muscle surrounded by smaller muscles with fat running in between.  After cooking almost to medium I was treated to just about the best pork I had ever eaten: just as tender as the loin (if not more so) but with more marbling,  flavor and variations in texture.  There’s also a good bit more fat which I like but for some it might be too much.  Each steak can be trimmed of some of the fat if desired.

By the way, ever wondered why it’s called a Boston butt when it comes from the top of the shoulder?  According to Wikipedia, in pre-revolution New England this particular cut of meat was packed into a barrel for storage and shipment and that barrel was called a butt (from Italian word for barrel – botte).  So there.

So here’s what you do: 

Make a brine – The basic brine recipe that I always use is 1 gallon of water to 1 cup of salt and ½ cup sugar (this can be brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc.).  Bring this mix to a boil with any aromatics that strike your fancy (onions, garlic, herbs, spices, tea, citrus zest, etc.) and then cool completely.  You can take this basic ratio and method and increase or decrease as needed.  For a couple of butt steaks you’ll barely need a quart of brine.  To really speed the process along I bring to a boil half of the water desired for the final product with the salt and sugar and then add ice to bring it up to the final volume.

Brine the pork – Once the brine is cool, add the pork and stick it in the fridge for just an hour or two. Because it’s a relatively thin piece of meat it won’t take long.

Grill the steaks – After removing the pork from the brine, dry thoroughly with paper towels and get your grill hot.  You won’t need to season the pork with any more salt as it’s been brined but you can grind on some pepper if that’s your thing.  Grill to medium or desired temp, let rest for 10 minutes and enjoy.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Hendricks January 11, 2017 at 12:43 am

I was curious about buying a pork butt and cutting chops or steaks from it. This article helped me alot. I have a large family and im always looking for ways to get more meals for less. Thanks for this advice. I will definitely be buying one and cutting lots of steaks from it to freeze. Thanks!!

Sandra Lynn Zielinski March 29, 2017 at 4:37 pm

I have been broiling Boston Butt steak for years. My family prefers it to beef! I season it with pepper and Lawry’s seasoning salt. Rub it in with the back of a spoon and broil for about 7 minutes a side. It’s delicious! I serve it with garlic roasted potatoes.

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