Teres Major Steak (Grilled or Pan Seared)

Teres Major Steak on a cast iron skillet with garlic and rosemary.

Grill or pan sear a tender and juicy Teres Major Steak accented with a rich garlic butter baste. Start to finish you’ll have a perfectly cooked Teres Major Beef on your plate in 30 minutes, including the rest time.

Also known as shoulder tender, petite tender steaks, mock tender, or bistro filet, this tender cut of beef has a robust flavor and not much fat. It’s referred to as “Poor Man’s Filet Mignon” for good reason.

Sliced steak teres major on a black cutting board.

What Is Teres Major Steak

Teres major steak is a lesser-known butcher cut, however its quickly become one of my favorite beef cuts. Flavor and texture wise, I find it has the rich beefy flavor and tenderness of a beef tenderloin, thanks to limited connective tissue, but at a fraction of the cost. 

Teres major is a fairly rare cut – only 2 lbs. is collected from every 1,400 lbs. of beef according to Porter Road! This small cut of meat is about the size of a pork tenderloin (12 ounces). The name “Teres Major” is actually the name of the muscle itself. It’s the small muscle off the flat iron steak from the chuck section of the cow, which is located below the front leg.

If you’re looking for tender yet inexpensive cuts, also check out the Denver Steak.

labeled photo with teres major steak and seasonings.

How To Make

Teres major steak can be cooked using a variety of methods, however I prefer to either pan sear in a cast-iron skillet or grill it. In my experience with Teres Major, these two routes are the best way to cook up this flavorful steak as the high heat creates a delicious crust on the outside while keeping the inside tender.

Keep in mind, due to the leanness of the cut, it’s ideal to cook to rare or medium-rare. Make sure to reference and download our Beef Temperature Chart if you’re unsure of the temp. you should go with.

Pan Seared Steak

Preparation  Remove the steak from the refrigerator about 30-60 minutes before cooking to bring it close to room temperature. Pat dry with paper towels before generously seasoning with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder.

Pre-heat The Skillet – Pre-heat a heavy cast iron skillet over high heat. 

Searing – Once the pan is smoking hot, place the teres major steak in the skillet and sear until a brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes per side. Don’t forget the sides of the steaks to ensure the entire tenderloin has a nice crust.

Reverse seared teres major steak.

Butter Basting – After the initial sear, reduce the heat to medium. Add a generous amount of butter to the pan along with the whole garlic cloves and herbs (optional). Tilt the pan slightly and use a spoon to continually baste the teres major with the melted butter. 

Continue to cook and baste the steak until it hits an internal temperature of 125°F for rare and 130°F for medium-rare steak. It will rise about 5°F when resting.

Silver spoon with garlic butter next to cooked beef.

Resting The Steak – Remove the steak from the pan and drizzle with the rest of the melted butter. Loosely tent with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and increases the temp a few degrees to your desired final internal temperature.

Serving – Slice the roast against the grain into small steaks and serve.

Cooked Teres Major in a cast iron skillet with garlic cloves.

Grilled Steak

Preparation – Remove the steak from the refrigerator about 30-60 minutes before cooking. Pat dry with paper towels before coating it with olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder.

Pre-heat The Grill – Preheat one side of your grill to high heat, 450-500°F (232-260°C). 

Sear the Steak – Place the steak on the hot side of the grill and sear until a brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes per side. Avoid moving the steak around too much as it cooks.

5 meat forks showing the variety of steak doneness levels for a beef temperature chart.

Cooking the Steak – After searing, move the steak to the indirect heat side of the grill. Continue cooking until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature: 125°F for rare, 130°F for medium-rare, 135°F for medium, and 145°F for medium-well.

Resting The Steak – Remove the steak from the grill, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and increases the temp a few degrees to your desired final internal temperature.

White ramekin with melted butter.

Make The Garlic Butter – While the steak is resting, make a batch of garlic butter sauce to pour over the top before slicing. You can also opt for a cajun sauce.

Serving – Slice the steak against the grain and drizzle some garlic butter over the top.

Seasonings

While teres major steak is flavorful on its own, it also pairs well with a range of marinades and dry rub seasonings. Simple salt and pepper are enough to enhance its natural taste, but it also stands up well to bolder flavors like this popular Prime rib rub or Montreal Seasoning.

I’ve even swapped out the butter baste for Chimichurri Sauce with great success. The best steak uses your favorite flavors. 

Seasoned beef steak in a cast iron pan.

Butter Basted Steak

Butter basting a steak is a classic cooking technique that elevates the flavor and texture of the meat. It involves cooking the steak in a combination of butter and other seasonings, often with the addition of herbs and garlic. Garlic butter sauce basting is a simple yet effective technique that imparts rich flavor and creates a beautifully caramelized crust.

Throw in any aromatic or fresh herbs when butter basting – rosemary, thyme, garlic, onion and shallots are popular options. You can also use any compound butter you have on hand, such as my favorite Truffle Butter

cooked steak with melted butter and garlic cloves in a hot skillet.

Where To Buy Teres Major Beef

Beef Teres Major is gaining popularity but can still be hard to find in standard supermarkets and butcher shops. Our favorite online butcher shop is Porter Road. The steak teres major pictured in this recipe comes from this amazing shop and I highly recommend checking them out.

Darcey’s Cooking Tips

  • Reserve searing creates a LOT of smoke. Turn on the oven fan or open the windows, before turning the oven on.
  • Use high-quality, unsalted butter for the best pure butter flavor.
  • Teres major steak is a lean cut and can become tough if overcooked. Aim for rare to medium-rare for the best texture.
  • Allowing the steak to rest before cutting is crucial for a juicy result.
  • Store leftover steak in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Slices of beef steak on a black cutting board.

Drink Pairings

I find these reds highly compatible with teres major steak: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Bordeaux, Spicy Zinfandel, Syrah or Merlot.

Slices of beef steak on a black cutting board.

Teres Major Steak (Grilled or Pan Seared)

Grill or pan sear a tender and juicy Teres Major Steak accented with a rich garlic butter baste. Start to finish you'll have a perfectly cooked Teres Major Beef on your plate in 20 minutes, including the rest time.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 Servings
Calories: 753kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $20+

Ingredients

  • 1 Teres Major steak ((*Note 1))
  • 1 – 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 – 1½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil ((*Note 2))

BUTTER BASTE

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter ((*Note 3))
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh herbs (rosemary or thyme)

Instructions

PREPARE THE STEAKS

  • Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before cooking. Pat dry with paper towels before generously seasoning with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.
    1 Teres Major steak, 1 – 1½ tsp kosher salt, 1 – 1½ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp garlic powder

PAN SEARING

  • Pre-heat a heavy cast iron skillet over high heat until it starts to smoke.
  • Carefully add the oil (it may splatter) and swirl around the pan until the entire bottom is coated.
    2 tbsp avocado oil
  • Place the teres major in the skillet and sear until a brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes per side. Don't forget the sides of the steaks to ensure the entire filet has a nice crust.
  • After the initial sear, reduce the heat to medium. Immediately add the butter to the pan. Once melted, throw in the garlic cloves and herbs. Using a metal spoon, continually baste the teres major with the melted butter. Tilt the pan forward slightly so it's easier to scoop up the melted butter.
    3 tbsp unsalted butter, 3 cloves garlic, crushed, 2 sprigs fresh herbs (rosemary or thyme)
  • Continue to cook and baste until it reaches 125°F for a rare steak or 130°F for a medium-rare steak. Remove from the heat and pour the remaining melted butter over the top. Loosely cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • Slice against the grain and enjoy.

GRILLING

  • Make sure the grill grates are well oiled. Preheat one side of the grill to high heat, 450-500°F (232-260°C). 
  • Place the steak on the hot side of the grill and sear until a brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes per side. Avoid moving the steak around too much as it cooks.
  • After searing, move the steak to the indirect heat side of the grill. Continue cooking until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature: 125°F for rare, 130°F for medium-rare, 135°F for medium, and 145°F for medium-well.
  • Remove the steak from the grill, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • OPTIONAL STEP: While the steak is resting, make a batch of garlic butter sauce to pour over the top before slicing. You can also opt for a cajun sauce.
  • Drizzle the garlic butter over the top, slice the steak against the grain and serve.

Notes

Note 1 – Most teres major steaks are under 1 lb. Any size will work with this recipe.
Note 2 – Use a high smoking point oil, such as vegetable, canola or avocado oil.
Note 3 – You can use salted butter if that’s all you have on-hand.

Temperature

Cook Teres Major by temperature, not time. Here are the “final doneness temperatures”. The “pull from the pan” temperature will be 5°F below the temperatures called out below as resting will increase the temp. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.
  • Rare: 125°F – 130°F (RECOMMENDED)
  • Medium Rare: 130°F – 140°F
  • Medium: 140°F – 150°F
  • Medium Well: 150°F – 160°F
  • Well Done: 160°F+
 
* The USDA recommends cooking steaks and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F for safety.

Nutrition

Calories: 753kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 68g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 1831mg | Potassium: 569mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 533IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 4mg
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