teres major steak with cowboy butter, aka top secret stuff


Time from start to finish: about 15 minutes
Difficulty level: medium

The teres major (or shoulder petite tender) is the second-most tender cut of beef, after the filet mignon.

It cooks in mere minutes.

It’s crazy inexpensive for what you’re getting ($8.99/lb. at my Whole Foods – filet is at least twice as much).

It actually expands when you cook it. (This is more of a fun fact than a selling point, but interesting stuff, right?)

So why on earth haven’t you heard of it?

No clue — but don’t tell anyone about it. We wouldn’t want to see those prices rise, now would we? Exactly. Consider yourself part of a top secret club. The first rule of teres major club? Don’t talk about teres major.

(Of course, for the purpose of this blog, I’ll have to talk about teres major. But do as I say, not as I do.)

You can easily cook a teres major in under 10 minutes. But before you start your steak, do yourself a favor and whip up a batch of this flavor-packed cowboy butter. And maybe a side of coconut oil Brussels sprouts. I won’t tell you how to live your life, but it’s a great combo for a 20 minute meal.


  • Large cast-iron skillet or other oven-proof skillet
  • Tongs
  • Zester


For steak:

  • 2 teres major steaks, brought to room temperature
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

For cowboy butter:

  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter, softened* (use ghee for Whole30)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 450. Pull your steaks out of the fridge and let them de-chill a little — you don’t want to put cold steaks on a sizzling hot pan.
  2. Make your cowboy butter: Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover in plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Ta-da! That’s it. The flavor develops the longer it sits, so if you can whip this up in the morning or the night before, by all means do.
  3. Heat your skillet — place it on a burner (with nothing on it) and turn the burner to high.
  4. Prep your steaks: rub them generously with salt and pepper. Really smush the salt and pepper all into the steak, so it stays on while cooking.
  5. To test your skillet, plop a few drops of water onto it. When it sizzles furiously, it’s ready. Add 3 tbsp. of butter to the skillet, swirl it around, and place your steaks down, pressing on them with a spatula to ensure as much of the steak is touching the skillet as possible. You might want to turn your vent fan on for this — it will get smoky!
  6. Don’t touch your steaks for a solid 2 minutes, then lift the edge of one of them with your tongs to see if there’s a nice crust. Try not to move it too much while you do this, and definitely don’t stab that beautiful meat with a fork. If there’s a crust, flip it to the other side and press it down again. If there isn’t a crust, wait until it is ready. Be patient! When both sides are seared, tilt the skillet, and spoon some of the melted butter over the steaks. Then, place the whole skillet in the oven.
  7. After 5-7 minutes, use a meat thermometer (or this handy finger test) to test the doneness of your steak.
  8. When it’s done, serve with cowboy butter and freak out about how you’ve been tricked into buying expensive steaks your whole life. Then don’t tell a soul about it — this is between you and me. 


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