Top blade steak is a tender cut of beef from the shoulder area. The muscle of the top blade is the same as a flat iron steak. However, the top blade steak has a piece of tough connective tissue down the middle which makes it better suited for braising or smoking than for grilling.
Smoking, then Braising
Grilling (if connective tissue removed)
Low and slow is the best way to cook a whole top blade steak.
Though top blade steak contains very tender meat, there's a tough string of connective tissue running down the middle of the cut. This connective tissue breaks down over a long cooking time.
If you don't mind doing a little home butchering, you can cut out the tissue and use the remaining meat to grill, cut in slices for stir-fry, or in chunks for stew.
Use a smoking, then braising method to cook this cut on your Traeger. Again, the long cooking time will break down the connective tissue and make for tender, delicious meat.
This is a good cut for braising, and for slicing into stir-fry or stew meat. It is not the best cut for grilling.
A top blade steak should cost between $5 and $10 per pound. It should be one of the less expensive cuts available at your butcher or market.
When you braise top blade steak, it's done when the meat is tender. An internal temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit is the target.
Whole top blade steak is good for braising, or for anyone who wants to save a little money by doing some home butchering. With the connective tissue removed, it is an excellent cut for grilling, slicing for stir-fry, or cutting in pieces for stew.
Yes, it's been measured as the second most tender muscle on the animal. Only the tenderloin, aka filet mignon, is more tender.
A stewing steak is a category of several different cuts, while a blade steak is a specific steak. A blade steak may be called a stewing steak, but it is not the only stewing steak.
Top blade steak and flat iron steak are cut from the same muscle. The difference is how the muscle is cut. As mentioned above, top blade steak has a clear line of connective tissue down the middle, and the grain runs across the cut. A flat iron steak should show no connective tissue, and the grain will run vertically.
If you are grilling top blade steak, or have cut it in smaller pieces, you can cook it from frozen. Don't cook from frozen if you are cooking it low and slow.
Top blade steak is from the Infraspinatus muscle which food scientists have measured as the second-most tender muscle on the animal.
The tenderness of the muscle has inspired a new method of butchering. The muscle is butterflied, the connective tissue removed, and the resulting meat cut in steak-sized pieces.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association identifies the top blade steak with UPC numbers 1136 and 1144. You may see these numbers in the UPC code on the beef package label at the supermarket.
According to the USDA, a top blade steak contains 422 calories, 47.3 grams of protein, and 24.3 grams of fat.
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