When it comes to selecting a steak, the grocery store can be a confusing place. There are so many different names. My goal is to teach you what these steaks are and how to prepare them. Today I will look at the ranch steak, also known as the more complicated boneless chuck shoulder center cut steak (grocery stores saved a lot of money in ink by just calling it a ranch steak!)
Where Does a Ranch Steak Come From (What Part of the Cow)?
Whenever selecting a steak it's important to know where on the cow that steak was cut from. This will tell you how tough or how tender the steak is. The ranch steak comes from the chuck primal. This is the section of the cow closet to the head. Steaks cut from this section can be tough if overcooked. But there is good flavor to be had and enough fat to keep the meat from drying out. Excess fast is normally removed by the butcher. Ranch steaks are typically no bigger than 10 ounces and are about 1 inch thick.
How to Prepare a Ranch Steak
Braising is a good option, but I choose to grill mine so that is what I will talk about here. You can marinade this steak, but it isn't required. It has enough flavor on it's own to be good with just kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you like your steak well done, then this isn't a good choice for you. If this steak is cooked past medium it becomes quite tough.
To grill, bring the steak to room temperature, by leaving it out for 30 minutes (don't worry it won't spoil on you in that time). This will allow the steak to cook faster and more evenly. I sprinkle the steak with kosher salt when I take it out. This will draw moisture and protein out of the steak that will help in the searing process. I grilled my steak on a Lodge Cast Iron 12-Inch Square Grill Pan. This is the next best option to outdoor grilling. When it comes to grilling time, there are a lot of things to factor in. So I think that is best uses through trial and error as well as learning what a perfectly cooked steak feels like. My particularly experience on my grill pan, took about 3-4 minutes per side to cook. I was going for a medium steak. When a steak is medium, it should be slightly firm but with some give when press down on it. A steak that doesn't give much when you press on it, is most likely beyond medium.
Is a Ranch Steak Worth Your Money
At $4.99/lb a ranch steak is a good bargain. It has a good flavor and is good for those on a budget. While I don't think it tastes as good as a sirloin or ribeye, it's a nice alternative that is worth checking out. I do have to point out one downside is that there is a small, silver colored streak in the steak that will not melt or soften up. So you will just have to eat the meat around it and cut that section out. At least in mine, it was only a small fraction of the steak.
Need more help figuring out what different cuts of beef are good for? Check out the entire collection of posts on the different beef cuts and how to cook them.