Regardless of what your meat counter is telling you, Tenderloin, Sirloin, Ribeye, and New York strip aren’t the only quality pieces that come from beef.
The Denver steak is an example of a less popular cut with all the flavor and taste of a New York steak, but it is cheaper per pound.
Even though you have to visit the local butcher to buy one, the Denver steak’s marbling and texture will be worth the effort.
If you are looking for a tasty steak with rich flavor and an excellent price, Denver steak should be the next thing to put on your grill.
Table Of Contents
- What Is a Denver Steak?
- How to Cook a Denver Steak
- Denver Steak Recipes from Around the World
What Is a Denver Steak?
The Denver steak, also known by the names Denver cut, under blade steak, or chuck steak, comes from the cow’s front shoulder. While the chuck area is known for containing beefy-flavored and fatty cuts, the Denver steak is different.
The chuck subprimal muscle is tough if it is not slowly cooked at a low temperature. However, the chuck muscle is divided by a large bone, and the meat that surrounds the bone requires less preparation than the rest of the shoulder. It is like finding a rare diamond.
Even though the Denver steak isn’t something new, it is not as popular as the New York strip or Tenderloin steak. It takes a strong hand and an experienced butcher to remove the blade-shaped bone, divide and remove the muscle, and pull out the steak.
What Does Denver Steak Taste Like?
Every steak cut from the chuck primal is flavorful, so Denver is no exception. It has a beefy and rich flavor. Compared to other steak cuts, Denver has been ranked as one of the tenderest steaks, so you can expect a juicy lunch or dinner as long as it is cooked right.
The Denver steak comes from the chuck or shoulder area of the cow—more specifically, from the section underneath the blade bone of the shoulder. Compared with other muscles, this one doesn’t get much action, which gives the cut extra tenderness.
Denver is a boneless cut of steak, which can be tenderized by pounding.
Other Names for Denver Steak
The Denver steak was discovered in the 2000s by meat scientists at Colorado State University’s Center for Meat Safety & Quality. The scientist Dale Woerner was asked to find a way to make low-value steaks more valuable and appealing. Then he discovered the hidden gem among the cow’s shoulder tissue.
Why it is called “Denver steak,” no one knows. It is also known as chuck under blade steak, under blade center, and boneless cut short rib.
Where to Buy a Denver Steak
You probably won’t find a piece of Denver steak in your local supermarket store or your local steakhouse either. However, there is a good chance you can find Denver steak at your local butcher shop, especially if your butcher is well-known for selling quality steaks.
If you can’t find it in your local butcher shop, you should try the internet. There are a few excellent online beef providers known for sourcing cuts of steak like the Denver steak.
Some of the best online butchers for purchasing steak are Snake River Farms, Porter Road, Holy Grail Steak Company, and Crowd Cow.
How to Store a Denver Steak
If you aren’t preparing and eating your steak immediately, it helps to know the best ways to store it properly. You can keep the steak in the refrigerator for up to five days or freeze it for a more extended period. With a Denver steak, you can freeze it for three-four months.
The best way to maintain its taste and freshness is to remove it from the original packaging and put it into a freezer bag. Also, remove as much air as possible to keep its rich flavor; if you have vacuum-sealing bags, that would be even better.
Based on a 3oz serving, a Denver steak has 180 calories, 22g of protein, 2.8mg of iron, and 8.4 mg of zinc. In addition to the nutrients above, Denver is a rich source of sodium (60mg), calcium (102mg), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, selenium, choline, riboflavin, and phosphorus.
How to Cook a Denver Steak
While different chefs have different recipes, most will tell you that the best way to prepare a Denver steak is to do it quickly on a hot grill. The secret to a great steak experience is how you slice the meat, and the Denver steak is no different.
How you cut your Denver steak will have a significant impact on tenderness and taste. Cut it like an amateur, and you’ll eat a steak that is tough to swallow and less flavorful.
Like many muscular cuts, the Denver steak should be cut against the grain. By doing so, you will enjoy maximum tenderness and taste.
A sharp knife is also essential. While most knives for cutting steaks are serrated, the best type is a flat blade. The best steak knife should be at least double the length of the width of the meat. A knife like this will allow you a steady and smooth motion while cutting.
Once you cut your steak, you can throw it on the grill and cook it fast. However, if you want to experience maximum tenderness and taste, try the reverse sear cooking method to enjoy the best from the Denver steak.
Prepare the Steak
To season your steak like a professional chef, sprinkle kosher salt on both sides and rest the meat in the refrigerator for one day. If you are in a hurry, salt your steak before you put it on the grill.
Set up the Grill or Oven
The next step is setting up the grill or oven. If you’re using a charcoal grill, you need to create cool and hot zones. Slide your coals to one side and leave the other side to cool down. If you’re using a gas grill, turn one burner up to a maximum temperature and leave the other on low. For those who are using an oven, preheat it to 250-275°F.
Cook the Steak
Once your grill or oven is ready, put your seasoned steak down. Remember, you want the steak to cook slowly so that the middle gets warm and tasty. Move it regularly from the hot to the cool zone. The indirect heat from the cool zone will cook it low-and-slow.
Use a thermometer to check the steak’s internal temperature—105°F for rare, 115°F for medium-rare, 125°F for medium, and over 130°F for well-done.
Sear the Steak
Turn off the grill or oven and take your steak off to rest. You don’t want to leave your steak in a hot oven because the added heat will cook it further.
If you cook steak often, you know that it is essential to leave it to rest when you’re finished grilling.
Brush your Denver steak down with melted butter, and then sear it while it is still hot.
Cut it into thin slices, finish off with some salt, and enjoy.
While you might have to invest a little more effort into finding and preparing a Denver steak, it is worth its flavorsome and tender cut. It is high in protein (around 22 grams per serving) and contains a high percentage of zinc, which boosts the immune system.
Denver Steak Recipes from Around the World
Here are three recipes we recommend you to try with your newfound cut.
If you are looking for a simple yet delicious recipe, the North 44 Denver salad is the perfect one to try.
All you need to do is marinate the Denver in olive oil and roasted garlic, grill the meat, and slice it before serving. Then, place it on top of beets, arugula, and goat cheese.
The Little Italy Denver steak is another popular recipe to try. Marinate the steak with vinegar and herbs and let the steak sit overnight to absorb the ingredients. The next day, cook the steak on a grill to perfection.
Next, combine mashed potatoes with creamy garlic and serve the steak with grilled veggies.
For the marinade, you will need garlic, sherry vinegar, and Dijon mustard. Let the steak sit overnight in the marinade. Serve it with crispy fries or grilled veggies.