What? You’ve never heard of the teres major cut? Worry not. We won’t rescind your Steak of the Month Membership. We’re proud to introduce you to this fairly rare and overlooked cut. The Teres Major is the muscle that runs from the scapula to the humerus. You would think shoulder meat would be fairly tough because of all the work those muscles do, but because of its particular location and short range of motion, the teres major does relatively little work. The resulting cut is very tender while having a fairly pronounced beefy flavor. It’s second only in tenderness to the tenderloin, and at roughly half the cost, it isn’t hard to understand why it is gaining in popularity. Right now, it is still considered a rare cut. When you can find teres major at all–it’s a bit of work to separate just that muscle from the ones around it and many butchers don’t bother–it might be called “mock tenderloin,” “faux tenderloin,” “petite tender,” or “shoulder tender.” The teres major is a thinner and smaller muscle than the tenderloin. This means it cooks quickly. While it is often prudent to start tenderloin on the grill or stove and finish it in the oven, the teres major can be cooked completely on the stove top to a perfect medium rare.
How To Cook a Teres Major
- Since it is such a beautifully flavorful cut, the Teres Major needs little in the way of seasoning.
- A generous sprinkling of kosher salt or The Butcher’s Market House Seasoning
- A rest on the counter for forty-five minutes or so to come to room temperature
- Then a good 2-3 minutes per side in a searing hot pan is all it needs.
- Use a good instant read thermometer to check for doneness–you’re looking for about 128F in the center–and let the meat rest, loosely tented with foil, for about 10 minutes and it will coast the rest of the way to medium rare.
Or go all out with Teres Major au Poivre
As much as teres major can stand on its own, sometimes it’s nice to gild the lily a little bit. Taking a page from classic French bistro cuisine, we cooked this teres major au poivre, or with pepper. Traditionally served with a creamy-rich pepper sauce, we lightened it up a touch by making a quick wine reduction and then finishing it with some of The Butcher’s Market’s compound butter.
- 1 teres major (serves 2-3)
- Neutral vegetable or grapeseed oil
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup black peppercorns (or mixed peppercorns), coarsely crushed
- 1 Tablespoon minced shallot, or 1-2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1-2 Tablespoons compound butter, your favorite flavor
- Chopped herbs such as flat-leaf parsley or thyme for garnish, optional
- Remove steak from the refrigerator 45 minutes to an hour before cooking. Pat dry.
- Fifteen minutes before cooking, rub the steaks with just a bit of oil, season generously with kosher salt.
- Spread the crushed peppercorns on a plate or shallow dish and press the steak into the pepper on all sides to make sure it adheres.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
- Once the skillet is very hot, about 10 minutes, add a tablespoon or so of oil and swirl to coat the pan.
- Place the steak into the pan and sear for about 1 minute. Turn the steak and sear on all sides for a minute for a total of about 4 minutes.
- Take the internal temperature of the meat. You are shooting for right around 128F for medium rare (the steak will continue to cook for a few minutes while resting). If the meat is not there, cook an additional 30 seconds or so per side until you reach the target temperature.
- Remove the pan from the heat and the meat to a cutting board, and cover it loosely with foil to rest.
- Put the pan–drippings, peppercorns and all–back over medium high heat add the shallot or garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes to soften, and then pour in the wine.
- Allow to reduce until syrupy.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. If you salted your meat liberally, it won’t need anything.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, swirling the pan and stirring gently until the sauce is thick and glossy.The butter adds richness and helps to mellow any harshness from the wine reduction.
- Slice the steak into medallions and arrange on a platter or individual plates. Dress with the sauce and sprinkle with the optional herbs. Serve immediately.
Pictured: Teres Major au Poivre served with The Butcher’s Market marinated vegetable medley and red potatoes. To cook, arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes at 400F. Add the vegetables and roast an additional 10-15 minutes until potatoes are crisp on the outside and cooked through.
Recipe is a collaboration with Jenni Field,