If you find yourself wandering through the streets of St. Louis, your taste buds are in for a treat. This charming city is renowned for its culinary delights, and one particular dish stands out among the rest: the St. Louis pork steak. How did this mouthwatering creation come to be, and why is it so popular in this part of the country? Let’s dive into the juicy details.
A Cut Like No Other
When you think of a steak, beef most likely comes to mind. But in St. Louis, they’ve taken the term “steak” to a whole new level by applying it to a delectable cut of pork. It’s a unique anomaly in the world of pork, and while the origins of its name remain a mystery, one thing is certain—it’s a cut that will leave you wanting more.
Uncovering the Origins
Many St. Louisans proudly claim that the pork steak was born right here in their beloved city. But the truth is, it wasn’t. Back in 1956, a Florissant resident named Winfred E. Steinbruegge allegedly requested Tom Brandt, owner of Tomboy grocery stores, to cut a pork butt into steaks suitable for grilling. The Schnuck family also claimed responsibility for this invention. However, evidence suggests that pork steaks were already making appearances in butcher shops around the turn of the 20th century.
From Boston to St. Louis
Contrary to popular belief, the birthplace of the pork steak lies far away from St. Louis. The Boston Globe published a meat price roundup in 1901, which included a tantalizing offer for “pork blade steak—only 13 cents a pound.” Since then, this succulent piece of meat has made its way onto menus across the nation. But St. Louis has truly embraced the pork steak, making it a beloved staple of backyard barbecues and family gatherings.
A Sizzling Sensation
When it comes to cooking the perfect pork steak, opinions differ. Some prefer the slow-cooked or braised method, while others swear by high heat in a pan. However, most St. Louisans have fond memories of the fall-off-the-bone version from their youth—grilled and finished in the oven, smothered in the iconic Maull’s barbecue sauce.
David Sandusky, the mastermind behind BEAST barbecue restaurants, has created a pork steak that sets the standard for all others. Starting with a 30-ounce cut of Duroc pork, he uses a salt-and-pepper-based dry brine and adds a fragrant spice rub. After four hours of smoking, he reverse sears the meat, brushing it with a unique Maull’s-inspired sauce that caramelizes to perfection. The result? A mahogany cherry hue that will make your mouth water. Accompanied by just a fork, this pork steak is truly a culinary masterpiece.
A Treasured Tradition
While many restaurants struggle to keep pork steaks on their menus due to sporadic sales and their limited shelf life, some establishments proudly offer their own versions. Sister Cities Cajun tantalizes taste buds with their Thursday night special, and Highway 61 Roadhouse always has a place for this St. Louis favorite. Barbecue joints, including Big Mama’s BBQ, The Burnt End, Ethyl’s Smokehouse & Saloon, and more, serve up their unique take on this beloved dish.
But the heart of the pork steak tradition lies in the homes of St. Louis residents. Whether they’re grilled over charcoal and finished in the oven or smoked and sold warm or frozen in sauce, pork steaks are a staple at family gatherings, backyard barbecues, and neighborhood parties. Kenrick’s Meats & Catering alone sells a staggering 125,000 pounds of pork steaks every year, showcasing the deep love St. Louis has for this flavorful delight.
So, next time you find yourself in St. Louis, don’t miss the chance to sink your teeth into a sizzling pork steak. Let its tender juiciness and mouthwatering flavors take you on a culinary journey you won’t soon forget. And remember, every bite tells the story of a city that cherishes its beloved St. Louis pork steak.
To experience the ultimate St. Louis pork steak adventure, visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill. Their scrumptious take on this local specialty will transport your taste buds to a whole new level of deliciousness.