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What Are Pork Shoulder Steaks?

Different cuts of pork, including the shoulder.
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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
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Pork shoulder steaks are relatively thin slices of pork cut from the shoulder area of the pig. The shoulder cut of meat comes from the area directly above the front legs of the animal, just closer to the head than the ribs. The meat contains the bone of the arm, and the outside of each steak is covered in a thin layer of fat. Many different dishes including the cut of meat exist, such as Guinness-braised pork shoulder; pork shoulder with parsley, red chili, and apple butter; and pork shoulder and beetroot pilau. As a steak, it is usually served with a side dish, as opposed to being a small part of a larger recipe.

The specific area of the pig that pork shoulder steaks come from is what determines its properties. Above the forelegs of the pig, on the main body of the animal, the pork shoulder can be found. The shoulder is between the ribs and cheek area of the pig, both of which are also eaten. Most often, the shoulder joint of the pig is sold and cooked as one large cut, but it can be sliced to form steaks. A shoulder joint is usually coated in a thin layer of fat and roasted to cook.

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Individual slices taken from a pork shoulder joint are called shoulder steaks. Most shoulder steaks have a small section of bone which comes from the “arm” or foreleg of the animal, as well as the muscle tissue which composes the meat. The outer sides of the steaks are usually framed with the thin layer of fat which covers the pork shoulder joint. Usually, chefs shallow fry or braise the meat to cook it, but some opt to cook it in a stock in the oven.

Seasoning is usually applied to pork shoulder steaks prior to cooking to increase the flavor of the meat. Most often, chefs will just add salt and pepper, but some also coat the steak in flour or cook it in stout. This can infuse different flavors into the steak, and can bring some variety to the flavor of the dish. Chefs should add seasoning to suit the tastes of his or her guests.

Many different side-dishes can accompany pork shoulder steaks, including parsley, red chili and apple butter, and beetroot pilau. As a steak, pork shoulder is rarely chopped up and made into part of a different dish, but instead is served with side-dishes, like beef steak usually is. Some chefs do cook the pork steaks in stock, on a relatively low heat for a long period of time. This can help to make the meat even more tender.

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