Pan-Fried Pork Shoulder Steak

Chef's notes:

Pork shoulder steaks come in a couple of varieties. There are shoulder arm steaks and shoulder blade steaks. I believe these are shoulder blade steaks, or close to it. These steaks were simply labeled “shoulder steaks,” so who really knows. The pig came from my brother’s farm in Pipestone, MN. It was free-range, happy, healthy, and well cared for, which is how I want my meat to be raised. Don’t you?

When my brother and I were in college, we lived together for a few years. We didn’t have very much money; we lived on a few hundred dollars a month. Naturally, we ate a lot of Ramen, mac n’ cheese, and frozen pizza. Once in a while we would “live it up” and buy some clearance pork shoulder steaks. You know, from the discounted meat section. We pan fried the steaks with some Cajun seasoning and wolfed them down. We were most likely protein starved. These days we know better than to eat meat from the clearance section. I also haven’t had “Cajun seasoning” in a very long time. Luckily, my future held no place for MSG-laden, dollar store spice mixes.


  • 2‒4 pork shoulder steaks
  • Black pepper
  • Curry salt or plain sea salt
  • Vegetable oil

Curry Salt and Pepper Spiced Pork Shoulder Steaks Pan-Fried in Oil over Medium-High Heat

  1. Pick up some pork shoulder steaks. As I mentioned above, these steaks came from my brother’s farm, which is a good place to get them. Unfortunately, small local farmers are in short supply and so you will be faced with purchasing your pork shoulder steaks from a grocery store. At the store, you may have to make a choice between regular and organic. Ask yourself not just “why is organic so expensive?” but also “why is the other stuff so cheap?”
  2. Season the pork shoulder steaks. Even with a cheaper cut of meat like shoulder steaks it may still not be necessary to season them with anything more than salt and pepper. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with it. For example, today I am using curry salt to season my pork shoulder steaks. It was something my roommate picked up at a fancy food store. There a few varieties of pepper out there too, but I still like fresh cracked black pepper.
  3. Pan fry the first side of the pork shoulder steaks. Heat up a frying pan over medium-high heat. Put a little vegetable oil or butter in the bottom of the pan. Once the pan is hot, lay the pork shoulder steaks into the frying pan. As the first side of the steak cooks, there may be some smoke or splattering grease. This is a pretty common result of the application of heat to an item. Turn on a vent or something. Check the underside of the steak after 3 or 4 minutes to see how it’s doing.
  4. Pan fry the second side of the pork shoulder steaks. Once the first side is adequately browned . . . in all honesty, I should have browned mine more, looking at the picture to the right. So, once your first side is a little darker than the picture to the right, flip them and do the other side. After that’s done, check the internal temperature with a digital thermometer. It should read around 145 degrees F or so. Once they’re done, remove them to a plate and make some pan sauce or just fry some onions to put on them.

Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t overcook the pork steaks. They will become chewy and dried out if you cook the crap out of them.
  • If you are worried about the tenderness of your pork steaks, you could try brining them using the advice in my article Brined Pork Chops.
  • When I’m not making a pan sauce, I use an All-Clad nonstick pan (Amazon) for pan frying the pork steaks. A non-nonstick pan is better at making pan sauce because it makes more drippings.
  • If your pork shoulder steaks aren’t done after pan frying both sides, pop them into a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes.