Have you heard of the teres major steak, also sometimes called the “Shoulder tender?” Let’s call it the “filet mignon of the shoulder!” It’s a lesser known and under-appreciated cut of beef from the shoulder clod of a cow. When I first saw it at the butcher shop, I’ll admit, it didn’t look like anything special – just an oval shaped muscle about the size of a small steak. But don’t let its humble appearance fool you! The teres major steak is actually incredibly flavorful and tender – if you know how to cook it properly.

So why is teres major so underrated? Well, it lacks the prestige of popular steaks like the ribeye or strip. And butchers often grind it up for hamburger meat rather than selling it as a standalone cut. Such a waste! It takes a little extra effort to extract the teres major as an intact muscle. But believe me, it’s worth it.

This cut is like the filet mignon of the shoulder – succulent, beefy and delicious.

teres major steak

The reverse sear method starts by cooking on indirect heat and finishing on direct heat for a nice sear at the end.

The key is not to overcook it. Treat the teres major as you would a nice tenderloin. The beauty of this cut is that it is a fraction of the cost of tenderloin, which is why I view it as an underrated cut!

I love cooking teres major on the grill because nothing beats smoke flavor from cooking over charcoal. I like to grill using the reverse sear method where I let it cook over indirect heat until it comes within 5 degrees of my desired temp, and then sear it over the flame to get a nice crust.

After a few minutes on direct heat I hit my desired internal temp of rare at 125 degrees and pull it off the grill, and know it will be the perfect medium rare by the time I slice into it because it will continue to cook after I pull it off the grill! Before serving, let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain. The end result is a perfect little steak with big beefy flavor in every bite! I like to serve grilled teres major with chimichurri sauce or a good compound butter, like my Cowboy Compound Butter (recipe below) to really bring out the best in this under-appreciated cut. Give it a try next time you see it at the butcher counter. You can thank me later!

In this recipe, I’ve finished the steak with cowboy compound butter (after doing the steak circuit I love pairing steak with copious amounts of butter) but you can skip this part if you just want to focus on the great beefy flavor of this steak. 

teres major steak

Adding wood chips to your fire adds nice smoke flavor to your steaks.

What Part of the Cow Does Teres Major Come From?

The teres major is cut from the shoulder clod of a cow, specifically from the chuck section near the shoulder blade. It’s one of several muscles that make up the chuck primal cut – one of the eight main primal cuts of beef.

Anatomically speaking, the teres major muscle originates along the outer border of the scapula (shoulder blade) and attaches to the front leg near the armpit. It’s responsible for extending and rotating the arm – basically helping the cow move its front legs. Cows use their shoulders a lot for walking, standing up, grazing, etc. So while it’s a constantly working muscle, the teres major remains surprisingly tender.

You can recognize this oval-shaped muscle nestled under the main shoulder clod, running parallel to the bottom shoulder blade. It takes some extra knife skills for butchers to remove the teres major intact rather than grinding it all into stew meat or ground beef. But that’s why discovering and cooking whole teres major steaks remains an under-the-radar treasure for beef connoisseurs – it captures unique flavor and texture from this hard-working shoulder region!

So next time you spy a teres major steak, you can nod knowingly about exactly where this unsung gem came from on the cow. Let your butcher know you appreciate them extracting and offering this fabulously delicious shoulder cut!

Ingredients for Grilled Teres Major Steak

  • 2 Teres Major Steaks (usually 2 come in a pack which will be about 1.5 lbs) – I got mine from Snake River Farms
  • 1-2 tbsp Sea Salt
  • 1-2 2 tbsp Pepper
  • Cowboy Compound Butter- optional but so good!- see ingredients for this below

Cowboy Butter Ingredients

  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) organic butter, unsalted – room temp so it’s easy for combining
  • 1 tsp. smoked sea salt 
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. thyme, stems removed
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

 

cowboy butter recipe

Cowboy butter is an amazing addition to Tomahawk Steaks!

Directions for Grilled Teres Major Steak (the Reverse Sear)

Let your Steaks sit out on the counter for 30 minutes and let come to room temperature. While the steaks are sitting out, make your compound butter.

Combine all the ingredients for the compound butter with a stick blender or fork until they are combined and then roll onto plastic wrap lengthwise with space on the ends of the plastic wrap for rolling up the edges. 

Set you your grill for two zone grilling, direct and indirect zones. Add your wood chips to add smoke flavor (if using a charcoal grill). For this method, and how I grill all my steaks, we are going to do the reverse sear where we let the steak grill on indirect and come to temp and then finish with a sear at the end.

Next, Gril Your steak on indirect heat until you hit an internal temp of about 120 degrees. At 120 degrees, move to the direct side and let the steaks grill, flipping once to get nice charmarks on both sides, until you’ve reached an internal temp of 125 degrees as measured with an internal read thermometer (I recommend the thermapen), which is considered medium rare. Now, if you like your steaks cooked more then keep it on the grill longer until you’ve reached your desired temp (reference the Steak Doneness Infographic below).

Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it. Keep in mind that whenever you are cooking steaks or any kind of protein, you will have “carry over cooking”. This means your protein is going to continue to cook even after you have taken it off the grill.

teres major steak

Where to Buy Teres Major Steak

Snake River Farms offers American Wagyu Teres Major and this is a more affordable cut that gives you the opportunity to try American Wagyu without a ribeye price tag!

Ask your butcher- this is harder to find cut but worth the time it takes to locate it!

snake river farms teres major steak

Snake River Farms offers American Wagyu Teres Major Steak.

Tools Needed to Grill Teres Major Steak

  • GRILL
  • Wood Chips – I prefer Barrel Proof, they add great Bourbon Flavor to all your cooks! Perfect for Steak!
  • Meat Thermometer- the Thermapen is the gold standard in temperature
  • GRILLGRATES– optional but great for perfect char marks and reducing flare ups! Plus, they can be flipped over and will turn your grill into a flattop giving you more life out of your grill!
  • Good Knife for Slicing, I love my Dalstrong Chef Knife– so pretty on the cutting board
  • Cutting Board- I love the JK Adams Maple Leaf Cutting Board with juice trenches- it’s perfect for grilling!

 

teres major steak

A 1.5 lb Teres Major Steak will serve 2-3 people.

What are Alternatives to Teres Major Steak?

Great question! While I firmly believe the teres major doesn’t get enough credit, I know there are plenty of other delicious steak options out there. Here are some top alternatives if you can’t get your hands on this underrated cut:

The Classic Ribeye: You can’t go wrong with a well-marbled, bone-in ribeye. This cut is renowned for its exceptional tenderness and beefy flavor. Just be prepared to pay a little more than teres major.

The Lean Tenderloin: For a more tender and milder tasting option, beef tenderloin is always a crowd pleaser. Filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin and melts-in-your-mouth when cooked properly. Just don’t overcook!

The Full-Flavored Strip Steak: Also coming from the loin primal, the New York strip offers a perfect middle-ground – nicely tender while still having big beef flavor. An excellent grilling choice.

Skirt or Flank Steak: If you want more texture and “chew”, check out thinner cuts like skirt or flank steak. They need to be sliced against the grain but pack some intense meatiness. Marinating helps too!

Bavette Steak: This little-known flank-adjacent cut is an up-and-comer on steakhouse menus. Bavette has a distinct grain and robust flavor that stands up to sauces and charring beautifully.

teres major steak

What’s the Best Way to Cook Teres Major Steak?

While I prefer grilling the Teres Major, another great option would be to cook it in cast iron. Check out my complete guide- to cooking steak with cast iron skillet and you’ll be able to cook steak in cast iron like a boss!

Slice into the steak and serve with compound butter, letting it melt onto the steak before serving. Serve as is or with your favorite sides! Congrats on cooking this delicious, under the radar and surprisingly affordable steak cut that is going to be one of your new favorite cuts for grilling! If you try cooking Teres Major or my compound butter recipe leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

teres major steak

Teres major is a delicious steak cut- give it a try- you won’t be sorry!

What are Alternatives to Teres Major Steak?

Great question! While I firmly believe the teres major doesn’t get enough credit, I know there are plenty of other delicious steak options out there. Here are some top alternatives if you can’t get your hands on this underrated cut:

The Classic Ribeye: You can’t go wrong with a well-marbled, bone-in ribeye. This cut is renowned for its exceptional tenderness and beefy flavor. Just be prepared to pay a little more than teres major.

The Lean Tenderloin: For a more tender and milder tasting option, beef tenderloin is always a crowd pleaser. Filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin and melts-in-your-mouth when cooked properly. Just don’t overcook!

The Full-Flavored Strip Steak: Also coming from the loin primal, the New York strip offers a perfect middle-ground – nicely tender while still having big beef flavor. An excellent grilling choice.

Skirt or Flank Steak: If you want more texture and “chew”, check out thinner cuts like skirt or flank steak. They need to be sliced against the grain but pack some intense meatiness. Marinating helps too!

Bavette Steak: This little-known flank-adjacent cut is an up-and-comer on steakhouse menus. Bavette has a distinct grain and robust flavor that stands up to sauces and charring beautifully.

Without further ado, let’s grill Teres Major Steak! If you try this cut, tag me on Instagram and let me see your cook! Or leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts! 

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teres major steak

Teres Major Steak: How to Cook The Filet Mignon of Beef Shoulder


  • Author: Robyn
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2 Teres Major Steaks, serves 4 1x

Description

Learn how to cook this flavorful, economical cut that is often referred to as the “Filet mignon” of beef shoulder.


Ingredients

Scale

Cowboy Compound Butter- optional but so good!- see ingredients for this below

  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) organic butter, unsalted – room temp so it's easy for combining
  • 1 tsp. smoked sea salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. thyme, stems removed
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Instructions

Let your Steaks sit out on the counter for 30 minutes and let come to room temperature. While the steaks are sitting out, make your compound butter.

Combine all the ingredients for the compound butter with a stick blender or fork until they are combined and then roll onto plastic wrap lengthwise with space on the ends of the plastic wrap for rolling up the edges.

Set you your grill for two zone grilling, direct and indirect zones. Add your wood chips to add smoke flavor (if using a charcoal grill). For this method, and how I grill all my steaks, we are going to do the reverse sear where we let the steak grill on indirect and come to temp and then finish with a sear at the end.

Next, Gril Your steak on indirect heat until you hit an internal temp of about 120 degrees. At 120 degrees, move to the direct side and let the steaks grill, flipping once to get nice charmarks on both sides, until you've reached an internal temp of 125 degrees as measured with an internal read thermometer (I recommend the thermapen), which is considered rare. Now, if you like your steaks cooked more then keep it on the grill longer until you've reached your desired temp (reference the Steak Doneness Infographic below).

Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it. Keep in mind that whenever you are cooking steaks or any kind of protein, you will have “carry over cooking”. This means your protein is going to continue to cook even after you have taken it off the grill.

Notes

Affiliate links have been used- if you purchase products this site will make a small commission! Thanks for supporting my small business!

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes (set out beforehand)
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Category: Beef, Beef Recipes, Dinner
  • Method: Grilled,
  • Cuisine: American, BBQ

Keywords: Teres Major Steak

Want more grilling inspiration? Try our other Grilled Beef Recipes! 

Teres Major Steak: How to Cook The Filet Mignon of Beef Shoulder
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