How to Cook Tender, Juicy Beef Chuck Shoulder Steak

Beef chuck shoulder steak comes from the shoulder area of the cow. While flavorful, it can be challenging to cook chuck steak so that it turns out tender. However, with the right techniques, you can transform affordable chuck shoulder steak into a delicious, tender meal the whole family will love.

Selecting Chuck Shoulder Steak

When purchasing chuck shoulder steak, here are some tips for picking the best quality:

  • Color – Choose steaks with bright red flesh. Dull brown or gray colored beef may not be fresh.

  • Marbling – Chuck steak is lean but should have thin streaks of fat running through it. Avoid large chunks of fat on the exterior.

  • Label – Check the label for a recent use-by date and opt for USDA Choice grade chuck steak when possible.

  • Firmness – Press gently on the steak. It should bounce back, not stay indented.

  • Butcher Shop – Purchase chuck shoulder steak from a butcher for the freshest, highest quality meat.

Preparing Chuck Shoulder Steak

Before cooking chuck steak, consider these prep steps:

  • Marinate – Soaking the steak in an acidic marinade for 1-24 hours helps tenderize it. Try red wine vinegar, lime juice or tomato juice-based marinades.

  • Salt – If not marinating, salt both sides of the steak and let sit 30 minutes before cooking. This seasons and tenderizes.

  • Room Temperature – Let steak sit out for 20-30 minutes before cooking so it cooks more evenly.

  • Pat Dry – Blot steaks with paper towels before cooking to prevent steaming.

  • Season – Just before cooking, season with spices like black pepper, garlic powder, oregano or smoked paprika.

Best Cooking Methods

Chuck shoulder steak does best with quick, high-heat cooking methods:

Pan Sear

  • Heat oil in a heavy skillet over high heat until very hot.

  • Add steak and cook 2-3 minutes per side until well browned.

  • Reduce heat to medium-low, flip steak, and cook to desired doneness, about 5 more minutes for medium-rare.


  • Preheat grill to high heat. Oil grates.

  • Grill over direct heat 2-3 minutes per side to sear.

  • Move to indirect heat, close lid, and grill until done, about 5 more minutes for medium-rare.


  • Place steak on a broiler pan and broil 5-6 inches from heat for 2-3 minutes per side.

  • Flip steak and broil 4-5 more minutes to desired doneness.

Cast Iron Skillet

  • Heat a lightly oiled cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking hot.

  • Sear steak 2-3 minutes per side.

  • Reduce heat to medium, flip steak, and cook covered 5 minutes for medium-rare.

Chuck Shoulder Steak Doneness

Use an instant-read thermometer to test steak doneness. Cook chuck shoulder steak to:

  • Rare: 125°F

  • Medium-Rare: 135°F

  • Medium: 145°F

  • Medium-Well: 155°F

  • Well Done: 165°F

The USDA recommends cooking beef to a minimum of 145°F for food safety.

Resting and Slicing

After cooking chuck shoulder steak:

  • Let it rest 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

  • Slice across the grain into thin pieces for tenderness.

  • Top with butter, aromatics or sauces. Try chimichurri, salsa verde or garlic herb butter.

Chuck Shoulder Steak Recipe Ideas

  • Fajitas – Slice cooked chuck steak thin and serve with peppers and onions on warm tortillas.

  • Stir Fry – Cut chuck shoulder steak into thin strips. Stir fry with veggies in a teriyaki or ginger sauce.

  • Steak Salad – Top colorful salad greens with sliced seared chuck steak, tomatoes, avocado and blue cheese.

  • Cheesesteak Sandwiches – Thinly slice chuck shoulder steak and pile onto hoagie rolls with sautéed peppers, onions and melted cheese.

  • Kabobs – Cut steak into 1-2 inch chunks. Thread onto skewers with veggies and pineapple. Grill until charred and juicy.

  • Steak and Eggs – Enjoy pan seared or grilled chuck steak with over easy eggs for breakfast or brunch.

With proper preparation and quick high-heat cooking, affordable chuck shoulder steak can become a wonderfully tender and flavorful meal. Experiment with marinades and spice rubs and serve it with zippy sauces to bring out the best in this economical cut.

What to Do With a Beef Shoulder Steak?


How is chuck steak best cooked?

Grill for 3-4 minutes per side. Move the steaks to the indirect heat, cover, and continue to grill until they reach your desired level of doneness. It is important that the steaks are cooked, but be careful not to overcook them, or they may become tough. The safe internal temperature for beef is 145 degrees.

What is beef chuck shoulder steak good for?

Shoulder cuts are so versatile that we encourage you to try them out as roasts or steaks, or in stews and dishes like barbacoa, beef burgundy, soups and stir-fry.

Does chuck steak get more tender the longer you cook it?

Chuck steak is an affordable steak to use for methods that cook food slowly over time, like slow cooking or sous vide. The extra time helps chuck steak break down some of its tough fibers to become more tender as it cooks.

How to cook a 2 inch steak at home?

To cook a 2-inch-thick steak, use direct heat. When grill is medium (you can hold your hand at grill level only 4 to 5 seconds), follow directions below; cook steak 20 to 25 minutes for rare, 27 to 30 for medium. To cook a 3-inch-thick steak, use indirect heat.

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