Learn what a Merlot steak is, how to beat cook it, and why it's a great choice if you are looking for a smaller, lean steak. Also find out where you can buy one of these steaks.
What kind of a steak person are you?
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Do you like a rich, buttery steak with lots of fat attached to it or do you prefer something on the leaner side? If your answer is the latter, then a Merlot steak is one that you may wish to try out. Let me teach you all about it.
🥩 What is a Merlot Steak?
Before you cook any steak you are not familiar with you need to find out where, on the cow, that steak came from. Merlot steaks come from the upper leg - which is not an area famous for it's steaks. According to Porter Road, each cow only produces 2 of these steaks.
Steaks like this one are often called "butcher's cuts". The butcher is going to choose the rare, flavorful gems that aren't super popular or isn't enough of them, to take home to their family.
👅 How Does It Taste?
It's a flavorful steak. I would consider the texture to be similar to a Flank steak or a Sierra steak, both of which are great for marinating. It's small size is great if you only want a small portion of beef. The meat was all usable, no fatty or gristly pieces to cut off.
As I said this is a lean steak, you don't want to cook it too long. Rare or medium rare is the best way to go. I would pick a different steak if you like yours medium or well done.
🔥 How to Cook
Methods for cooking this steak: Sous vide, Air fryer, Cast iron pan, Grill
Whenever we are talking about cooking a lean steak we have to be very careful not to overcook it. Fat helps keep meat moist longer. Without that you need to work fast, but more importantly, work precisely. You want to cook that steak to no more than medium rare. Even medium would be pushing it.
Precision calls for the right tools. I got two of these steaks from Porter Road and decided to prepare them differently. The first one I just cooked in a hot cast iron skillet, after marinating it. I tracked the temperature of the steak using the ThermoPop thermometer from Thermoworks.
🎧 Listen to our podcast episode on Why a Thermometer Will Save You Money
The other steak I gave the sous vide treatment, and then browned it in that same cast iron skillet. Sous vide allows you to cook a piece of meat to the exact temperature you want and it won't go over.
🛒Get Your Merlot Steak
I discovered the Merlot Steak on Porter Road's website. They are an online butcher from Nashville that sources their beef from small farms and dry ages it for amazing flavor.
Any way you choose to cook it I like to start my Merlot steak with a marinade.
- Merlot steak
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Worcheshire sauce
- Olive oil
- Wild Mountain cumin
You could also use garlic powder, soy sauce, pepper flakes, or lemon juice as well.
Whatever way I am cooking this steak I am starting it out with a marinade. I do the seasonings to taste like the salt and pepper. You only need a small amount of the Worcestershire sauce, a couple splashes will do ya. I use the same amount of oil I would use for coating the steak to cook it.
Wild mountain cumin comes from Burlap & Barrel. It's by far the best cumin I have tried and is so worth a space in your spice pantry. I would say about ½ to 1 teaspoon of cumin per steak.
⏲️ I suggest marinating for at least 1 hour, 2 hours if you can make that work.
🌬️ Air Fryer Instructions
One of the easiest ways to cook a merlot steak is in the air fryer. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees. This is the highest temperature on my air fryer. Cook the steak for about 3-4 minutes and then flip it. Use your thermometer to check the temperature and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the internal temperature reaches between 130-140 for medium rare or at least 120 to hit rare.
Be careful when you are temping the steak that you get the center of the steak and that you don't poke all that way through and hit the air fryer basket.
👍 Pros & 👎 Cons - I felt the air fryer did a good job of cooking the steak, although I got a better sear when I used a cast iron pan. But it was easy. The clean up was simple. And if it's a hot day it's nice not to be standing over a hot pan.
🍳 Cast Iron Pan Instructions
The cook time was probably around 3-4 minutes per side. Cooking it to temperature is more important than time. I cooked it until it was perfectly seared on one side and then turned it over. I monitor the temperature with my ThermoPop until it reached 136 degrees and then pulled the steak immediately.
It's a small steak so there wouldn't be much carryover heat like you would get in a roast and especially a turkey.
👍 Pros & 👎 Cons - You can get a really good sear when you cook it in a cast iron pan, but you need to watch the temperature of the steak carefully so you don't over cook it. Never leave your steak's side while it's cooking and have the thermometer handy.
🛀 Sous Vide Instructions
This is a thin, small steak so you will only need an hour to sous vide it. Set your immersion circulator to 135 degrees for medium rare. Seal up your steak and then add to the water bath. I typically put the steak in before the water is hot as it's easier to handle, plus my circulator doesn't take that long to come to temp.
When the hour is up, remove the steak. You can save the juice in the bag for dipping if you like. Then get a cast iron pan really hot, and cook the steak for about 1 minute per side just to brown it.
👍 Pros & 👎 Cons - I get nervous I am going to overcook the steak trying to brown it, so I don't get as good of a sear as if I cook it on the cast iron all the time. However, the inside is perfectly cooked from edge to edge and that's a big win in my book.
🐄 More Steaks to Try
Here are some other steaks that Porter Road sells that I think you will want to check out:
Cast Iron Seared Merlot Steak
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Mix together all the ingredients minus the steaks together in a bowl.
- Place your steaks into a zip top bag. Add the marinade. Place the steaks into the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- Bring the steaks out of the fridge. Bring to room temperature.
- Heat up a cast iron skillet over high heat.
- Remove the steaks from the marinade, don't wash them off.
- Cook for 3 minutes. Then flip. Cook until the internal temperatures reaches 120-130 for rare or 130-140 for medium.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Slice the steak against the grain and enjoy.