How to Grill St. Louis Pork Steaks
ST. LOUIS – No backyard barbecue or home kitchen in St. Louis is complete without it: a pork steak fresh off the grill.
“Everyone has their stories about pork steaks in their backyard with Schnucks MAULL’s BBQ and Pork Steaks,” David Sandusky told the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast team on a recent episode.
That’s what prompted him to add St. Louis’ quintessential summer dish to the menu at his Beast Craft BBQ locations.
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But Sandusky also touched on the tougher side of the classic barbecue dish. Despite the good intentions of your crew’s grill master, we all got a taste of the chewy, tough pork steak disappointment.
“There are so many of us who tell this similar story, you know, like what we used to grow up with, and you would have your dad or your uncle burn the pork steak,” said Sandusky, d a tastier way. that we can write here.
That’s because so many St. Louisians grill one of our signature dishes—to put it bluntly—badly.
Tips for a Perfect Pork Steak
The meat pros at Kenrick’s Meat & Catering know pork steaks. They slice and sell more than 125,000 pounds a year.
They said the steaks are cut from the butt of the pork which means when done right they can leave you going back for a few seconds.
“If you cook a pork steak well, it really has a lot of flavor and can be very tender. If you don’t really know what you’re doing, it can be difficult,” said Kenrick’s COO Mike Pesca.
So how do you get that perfectly grilled pork steak? Pesca and his colleague Steve Wineman gave us their advice. They said that overall, even though there’s “steak” in the name, you don’t want to cook your pork steaks like a traditional beef steak. Instead, the key is to go low and slow.
How to Grill a Pork Steak
Step 1: Start with a three quarter inch thick steak that is about 12-16 ounces.
2nd step: Fire the grill and keep the heat low. Place the pork steaks on the grill. If you’re using a charcoal grill, try cooking them indirectly, on the side of where the flames are coming from, almost like you’re smoking them instead.
Step 3: Be patient. It could take 45-60 minutes for them to cook.
Step 4: Cover with a light layer of sauce and grill a little longer.
Step 5: Remove from the grill and enjoy!
Wineman said grilling pork steaks should be a tasty process.
“You want to take advantage of it. You want to be by your grill having a cocktail and enjoying the moment, because it’s not something that takes 10 minutes. If you cook your pork steak in 10 minutes, you’re not going to enjoy it,” he explained.
Done right, “they will be melt-in-your-mouth buttery and tender,” Pesca added.
If you want to leave it to the pros, Sandusky of Beast Craft BBQ described his restaurants’ version as “high” and that it will “knock you over with flavor.”
“I wanted to take it to a different level where it was super moist, it was full of flavor,” he said.
And that flavor doesn’t come cheap compared to the cost of a typical pork steak you buy at the grocery store.
The 30-ounce version of Beast is $19 — unaccompanied — because it takes a lot of work to make it look as good as it does. Sandusky said his barbecue joints draw criticism over the cost of pork steaks, but he promises one bite is enough to keep you coming back for more.
“There was a lot of impact from the first bite. Take a bite and you’re like, holy [expletive], I have to take another bite of this thing because it just, it makes you taste good,” he said. “That’s what I wanted to accomplish.”
While it may be high in style, flavor and cost, Sandusky said it’s still rooted in those backyard barbecue roots.
“It’s paying homage to our origins with the cut, the style of sauce, the grilling and the basting. But it’s mine. It is what defines us and it is [expletive] gorgeous,” he said with a flare.
You can read more about this story in the Abby Eats St. Louis episode titled “It’s pork steak szn.“The Abby Eats Podcast is available for free on all major podcast platforms.
About the Abby Eats St. Louis Podcast
The Abby Eats St. Louis podcast tells the story of St. Louis based on what’s on the table. From the thirst for local ingredients to the burgeoning brunch scene and craving for creative cocktails, Abby dives into the details of how St. Louis became the foodie town it is.
Subscribe and download free weekly episodes wherever you get your podcasts. We’ve included links to some of the most popular podcast platforms below.