Crispy and Succulent: The Best Grilled Pork Steak!

August 26, 2022

I have been on many a self-guided food tour in the south, which is how I came across the famous St. Louis pork steaks. It was love at first bite and I was determined to recreate my very own version.

I feel like I have finally perfected my grilled pork steak and am ready to share it with you so here you go!

Grilled Pork Steak

Grilled Pork Steaks Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 pork shoulder steaks
  • 1 cup of sweet BBQ sauce
Steak Flesh Schnitzel

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbs. of soy sauce
  • 1 tbs. of brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. of onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of black pepper

Dry Rub

  • 3 tbs. of brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. of smoked paprika
  • 1 tbs. of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of black pepper

Method

Step 1

Combine the ingredients of the marinade.

Marinate the pork shoulder steaks for an hour.

Step 2

Preheat your grill to medium heat - 300 to 375°F.

Step 3

Combine the ingredients of the dry rub in a bowl.

Rinse the steaks and pat the pork steaks dry and sprinkle the dry rub on both sides. Press into the meat.

Step 4

Grill pork steaks on each side for 5 to 7 minutes or until the internal temperature registers at 120°F.

Make sure to keep the lid closed and the vents open during this time.

Step 5

Brush one side of the pork steaks with the barbecue sauce. Wait until a glaze forms and then flip and brush the other side as well.

Take off the grilled pork steaks off the heat when the internal temperature registers 145°F

Let the grilled pork steaks rest for up to 10 minutes.

How to Choose Pork Steaks?

If you live in the Midwest or in the South, pork steaks should be pretty easy to find. The key to choosing pork steaks, however, is knowing what to ask for.

You are most likely to find them being sold under the name pork shoulder steaks or pork blade steaks.

Of course, depending on where you live, these pork steaks may not always be so easy to come by. Not to worry, though, there is a solution!

Look for the cut pork butt (also known as Boston butt) instead. This is where the pork steaks are taken from. You can then slice this cut into steaks yourself or ask your butcher to do it for you. I would suggest choosing a boneless pork butt for this endeavor, however.

Slice the steaks into 3/4 inch thick steaks or 1 inch, depending on your preference.

Your Pork Steaks Marinade

There are lots of marinades to choose from for your grilled pork steaks. You can choose the mix that I have provided in this recipe.

You can also choose to marinate the pork steaks in beer. Others prefer a combination of apple juice and cola or brown sugar.

It is all about deciding what flavors you want to play up. If you are using a dry rub as well, make sure that the marinade complements the rub or the flavors may contrast a little too much.

The Dry Rub

Seasoning for pork steaks can be a contentious affair. On the one hand, pork shoulder steaks have an incredible amount of flavor all on their own. As a result, they don't require too much of help in this department.

This is why some people feel that a sprinkling of salt and pepper will do. If you agree, then this is the only seasonings you should use. After all, there is also the sauce to come.

On the other hand, I do love a nice and spicy crust on my steaks. As such, I find that a little bit of spices adds to the overall flavor party. Although you can certainly opt for the rub that I have mentioned here, you can also play around with your own flavors as well.

Pork Chop Dinner

The Barbecue Sauce

Of course, you can't make great BBQ pork steaks without the right sauce. The key here is to choose a very sweet barbecue sauce.

There are two reasons for this - first, you will have noticed that pork steaks (or any pork cut really) works incredibly well with sweet foods. This is why it is often paired with apples, pineapples, etc.

Secondly, this barbecue sauce will only be applied to the pork steaks in the latter part of the grilling stage. As such, it acts more like a glaze than anything else. The high sugar content in the sauce will help with this, creating an almost caramel-like taste.

If you are buying a store-bought version, look for one where brown sugar or molasses is a main ingredient.

Choosing the Grill Temperature

Once again, each individual has their own idea of how to grill pork steaks. Some believe that pork steaks should be grilled on a lower temperature for a slightly longer period of time.

There are also individuals who feel like mid-high heat is the way to go, resulting in your pork steaks being done a bit quicker.

I would argue that regardless of which option you chose that your pork steaks would still come out tasting amazing. It is just a matter of determining which method is most comfortable for you to use.

For instance, if you do opt for higher heat, you do have to stay on the ball. At most, your steaks will only need to be cooked for 5 to 7 minutes on each side in total.

With a lower heat, though, you can let the steaks cook for about 12 minutes on each side. Thus, you get a bit more breathing room which can come in handy if you are cooking several steaks at once.

Should You Baste Your Pork Steaks?

I know that a lot of people will baste their pork shoulder steaks with either apple juice, beer, or cola while they are grilling. This is meant to add moisture and flavor.

I don't think that it is necessary, though, and can mean extra hassle for you. If you have marinated your pork steaks for up to an hour, then you should have all the flavor and moisture that you need.

There is also the fact that pork steaks do have a good amount of fat in them, which helps to maintain their moisture levels just fine. Add to this, you aren't really cooking the pork steaks on high heat so there is a lower risk of them drying out.

I also don't like basting while making grilled pork steaks because it sprays all the seasoning off the surface off the meat.

Cooking to Temperature

I am always surprised to learn that people are still cooking grilled pork steaks according to time and not to internal temp.

On the one hand, I do get it. A pork steak tends to be a lot more forgiving than beef and other cuts. As such, you don't have to pay as close attention when grilling it.

However, I am a big believer that if you are going to do something, you should do it right! Thus, I like to monitor the temperature of the pork steaks using a thermometer.

I find that they are most tender when cooked up to 145°F. However, you can cook it up to 10 degrees more if you wish, particularly if the steaks are a little thicker.

Anything more than this and you are compromising both the flavor and texture of the pork steaks.

Grilled meat displayed in the baking tray

Flipping the Steaks

I have always felt that there should be a class on when to flip steaks! This is something that most people get confused about, often flipping them far too soon, resulting in a steak surface that is never seared quite well enough.

I have found that the halfway point is a good enough time to flip the steaks. Thus, if you are grilling on low heat, then this endeavor may take up to half an hour so flip at the 12 minute mark. For mid-high heat, the 5 minute mark is good.

As tempting as it can be to keep flipping the meat around, exercise patience as much as possible.

Applying the Barbecue Sauce

The sauce needs some time to be glazed. This is why it is a good idea to apply it when the steaks need to be cooked for a little longer. Thus, when the steaks register 125°F, it is as good a time as any to apply the sauce.

Make sure to do so liberally on each side. Spoon the sauce and ensure that there is a thick layer. Otherwise, the sauce will dry up and not be quite as appetizing.

Letting the Meat

Yes, even pork steaks must be given time to rest. However, you don't have to wait any longer than 10 minutes before serving and cutting into the meat.

Wrapping It Up

This is your ultimate guide to grilled pork steaks. Follow this recipe as well as all the little tips I have left you and you should have no trouble at all whipping up a dish to remember!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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