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What is a Patio Steak? The Steak of Many Names

Mehgan Zheng
a sliced patio steak on top of a bed of lettuce to show what is a patio steak

The patio steak has taken the industry by storm since it entered the market. However, it remains a mystery to most consumers. The age-old question is: Where did patio steak come from? Where was it hiding for hundreds of years? And how can it be so good, yet so affordable?

 

What is a Patio Steak?

The patio steak is a cut of meat from the chuck primal section of the cow. If you need more information about the primal sections, check out this guide to beef cuts.

Meat enthusiasts know it as the flat-iron steak, or they may even call it a top blade steak. This cut specifically is located along the cow’s shoulder blade and wasn’t discovered until roughly two decades ago. 

top view of two raw patio steaks on top of a towel

The chuck section of the cow is known for its tough and chewy meat because the muscles are used for movement and support. Chefs would hammer down their cuts to prepare them for the grill. Consequently, it came as an ultimate surprise when two meat scientists presented the world with the patio steak.

The patio steak is a well-textured piece of meat that is full of flavor. Further, it remains juicy and moist after cooking due to the even marbling of fat in the meat. What's more, it doesn't require a hammer to get it ready for the grill!

Since it'll be an attractive, unpounded piece of meat, consider stepping up your presentation by serving it on a wooden cutting board. Just be sure to choose the right kind of wood for your board.

 

The Birth of the Patio Steak

Believe it or not, if you ordered a patio steak at a top-rated restaurant 15 years ago, you would have gotten some puzzled looks! With the high supply of meat in the market and not enough premium cuts to sustain an entire industry, the steak trade was in shambles. Once they sold off the premium cuts, butchers would grind the rest of the meat, turning it into ground beef. Then they sold the meat for close to nothing.

Profits were low, and something needed to be done. In 1998, the National Cattlemen's Association funded a $1.5 million research to help butchers find more ways to utilize a cow.

cow cuts chart

Professor Chris Calkin and Dwain Johnson led a team of food scientists on this mission. Early on in the research, it was clear that the most underutilized parts of the cow were the chuck and bottom loin sections of a cow. Since these sections generally produced tougher meats, butchers didn't sell them as steaks.

During their research, it became clear that the infraspinatus, located just beneath the shoulder, was a tender portion of meat. However, it had a large seam of connective tissues running through the center. The dilemma became how to find a quick way to cut around the muscle so butchers wouldn't spend time extracting a low-value steak.

After multiple attempts, the meat experts completely cut off the connective tissue to create two separate pieces. Thus, the patio steak was born.

The steak resembles an old-fashioned metal iron, so butchers introduced the flat iron steak a few years after its discovery. As with all new things, it took time for consumers to become accustomed to buying a patio steak. However, it is now one of the most popular value steaks because it’s a high-quality steak without the hefty price tag.

 

How to Prepare Your Patio Steak

The patio steak is versatile and can be prepared differently to suit different occasions. However, there are some ways to ensure you get a winning dish each time. As you're prepping your steak, remember to think about the kind of cutting board you are using. We recommend a medium-sized walnut wood cutting board for all things steak!

hands using a virginia boys kitchens knife to cut raw steak on a wood chopping board

Here are the best ways to serve your patio steak:

 

Grilled

Grilled steak is always a pleasure whether or not it's barbeque season. The patio steak is your friend on the grill as it has marbling that ensures you retain all the flavor and its tenderness to supplement. To make this steak,

  • Heat your grill.
  • Add your well-seasoned steak on the grill and cook under direct heat for 5 minutes (try this steak seasoning)
  • Flip and allow your steak to cook through and reach your desired internal temperature.
  • Remove from heat and allow it to rest before cutting.

 

Pan-Seared

You can easily get your steak done within minutes if you pan-sear it. Pan-searing also ensures that you have a buttery and juicy steak. To pan-sear your patio steak,

  • Heat your cast iron skillet.
  • Add butter into the skillet generously.
  • Add your steak and allow it to sear.
  • Flip your steak and begin to baste with the butter.
  • You can add garlic and herbs at this point to improve the richness of the flavor, or try this steak seasoning rub.

 

Oven Baked

Steak done in the oven is healthy, full of flavor, and takes the cooking out of your hands allowing you to focus on your sides. Here is how you can make a lovely steak without doing the heavy lifting.

  • Preheat your oven to 350
  • Add your seasoned steak with a steak rub like this one, into the oven and allow it to cook
  • Flip your steak midway through the cooking time
  • Use a thermometer to determine doneness
  • If you prefer a crisp crust, remove your steak from the oven a few minutes before it’s done. Then, sear it on the pan to get some good browning.
  • Allow it to rest and cut.

 

Final Thoughts

Since the introduction of the patio steak, you don't have to reserve a steak dinner for special occasions. In fact, if you can't find a patio steak at your supermarket, you may find other forms of affordable chuck wagon steaks. But hey, if you want a show stopping piece of steak, be sure to try out a Tomahawk steak.

We are all welcome to splurge on the more premium pieces once in a while, but a good steak night at home is also a welcome idea. Don’t be shy to invest in a beautiful board to highlight your masterpiece.

 

RELATED PRODUCTS YOU MIGHT LIKE

View our double sided (one side with juice groove) walnut cutting boards made in USA - there are many shapes and sizes to choose from. Find your perfect board for your next steak, bbq, stew, or smoked meat!

 

wooden cutting boards

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