Juicy + flavorful Brined Pork Steaks with Prosecco Vinaigrette will become your new go-to for big summer entertaining. A little bit of Italian countryside, plopped right into your back yard!
What in the Heck is a Pork Steak?
If you’ve ever spent any time in or around St. Louis, Missouri, you are familiar with the pork steak. It’s a staple at every back yard BBQ. Grilled with a sticky coating of barbecue sauce, it’s not officially a party until these are served up. It’s one of the foods I missed most after moving away.
While I’ve come across this cut of meat readily available in a couple grocery stores here in Virginia, I usually have to ask for it specifically from the butcher. Before you go thinking it’s some mysterious cut you’ll never get your hands on, it’s just a pork shoulder (aka pork butt or picnic roast) cut into big slices, usually with the bone-in.
Yep, it’s the same cut you’d turn to for pulled pork — perfect for slow roasting to break down the collagen and ripe for accepting any kind of flavors you throw at it. Which brings me to the method I’ve chosen to employ for this recipe…an overnight brine, reverse sear, and not a single bottle of barbecue sauce in the picture! (My StL peeps: hold your tongues!)
Why Brine Pork Steaks?
A brine is simply a solution of water and salt, but you can also use this as an opportunity to add flavor and aromatics. Wet brines are great for leaner cuts of meat to help them retain moisture during the cooking process and helps to season the meat from the inside-out.
Pork shoulder contains a fair amount of fat and marbling, and that serves it well when roasting low and slow. But, the steaks will receive a fairly short roast in the oven, so brining will help to tenderize the meat.
The brine is also going to impart flavor with the use of herbs, spices and aromatics (evoking a little of the Italian countryside):
- kosher salt
- red chili flakes
- bay leaves
Roast, then Sear the Steaks
We aren’t going to just throw these steaks at the grill. There are a few steps involved, but it’ll be worth it. I promise!
After your pork steaks have had nice long soak in their refrigerated brine bath, you’ll remove them from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Place them in a roasting pan (or back in your brining vessel that’s been drained of all liquid) and allow them to rest on the counter for an hour before you put them in the oven. This step will bring the steaks closer to room temperature to ensure they cook evenly and properly for the specified cooking time.
You can reserve the rosemary sprigs and head of garlic from the brine and nestle them in the pan right alongside the steaks. Cover the pan with foil and roast them at 325°F for 45 minutes.
Now, you’re going to get your grill, or cast iron skillet, really hot. Sear the steaks for only about 2 to 3 minutes on each side to get some good color and little crusty bits (= more flavor)! Give them another 5 minutes or more to rest before serving.
How to Serve Pork Steaks
Once rested, cut the steaks into individual portions, or thin slices that you can pile up on a platter for everyone to help themselves.
Just because there’s no barbecue sauce, doesn’t mean these aren’t still perfect for your backyard BBQ! We’re just taking flavor in a different direction with a Prosecco vinaigrette. Grassy, tart and with a little punch of Dijon, the vinaigrette is a summery and bright accompaniment to these pork steaks.
A Final Word
Pork steaks are quite affordable, making them perfect for feeding a crowd. Don’t be afraid to ask your supermarket butcher to cut some for you if they aren’t stocked in the meat case. You can also purchase a boneless whole pork shoulder and slice your steaks at home. Enjoy!
You Might Also Like These Meaty Recipes…
- Grilled Steak Sliders
- Whiskey Glazed Chicken Wings
- Cast Iron Skillet Meatballs
- Chorizo Stuffed Turkey Breast
- Roasted Butterflied Cornish Hens with White Wine Pan Sauce
- Roasted + Grilled Pork Spare Ribs
Brined Pork Steaks with Prosecco Vinaigrette
- Non-reactive dish for brining (glass or stainless are good)
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns crushed
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 head garlic cut in half across the center
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 2 1-in thick pork shoulder steaks boneless or bone-in, about 2 to 2.5 lbs
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp prosecco vinegar or any white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot finely minced
- 1 large garlic clove finely minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper to taste
- In a small saucepan, combine the water through the head of garlic over medium heat. Warm slowly and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Turn off the heat and stir in 2 cups of ice cubes to cool it down.
- Place the pork steaks in a non-reactive container (a shallow glass or stainless steel dish works well). Pour the cooled brine over the steaks. If necessary, add just enough cool water so the steaks are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 12 hours.
- Remove the steaks from the fridge 1 hour before you begin roasting. Drain the brine from the steaks and pat them dry with paper towels. Reserve the rosemary and garlic if you'd like. Place the steaks into an oven-safe dish or roasting pan (you can use the same dish you brined in), and place the rosemary and garlic on top. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Cover the pan with foil, and roast the steaks for 45 minutes. The steaks should reach 140°F in the thickest part when done.*
- Preheat your outdoor grill. Clean and oil the grates. Grill the steaks on high for 2 to 3 minutes on each side to sear the meat and get some crispy edges.**
- Rest the steaks for several minutes before slicing. Serve with a drizzle of prosecco vinaigrette.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only.