Food & Drink

What Is a Denver Steak?

Last Updated on May 17, 2023 | 0 Comments
best denver steak

Even if you are a self-proclaimed steak lover, there’s a good chance you haven’t yet discovered the Denver steak. That’s because the Denver steak is a unique cut of meat that requires a skilled butcher to extract and trim it in a way that retains its marbling and tenderness.

If you’ve been looking for a new cut of beef to try, the Denver steak might be just the thing to help you break out of your rut. It is tender and marbled with intramuscular fat, but it’s also a relatively simple steak to cook and prepare at home.

And if you’re new to the Denver steak cut, don’t worry! We have tips here for the best cooking methods and uses for this cut. And with cooking classes in NYC, cooking classes in New Orleans, cooking classes near you and even online cooking classes, there are experts out there who can also show you great ways for cooking most cuts of beef, Denver steak included!


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What Is a Denver Steak?

The Denver steak is one of many cuts of beef that come from the chuck primal cut. This is the large square cut of beef that comes from the generous shoulder area starting at the ribs and extending up around the animal’s neck. The shoulder area of the cow contains large muscles that are frequently in use, which makes the cuts of meat that come from this area tougher.

Many of these chuck cuts are great for roasts, as they need to be cooked slowly and for long periods of time. You’ll also typically see ground chuck in the grocery store, because chuck cuts are one of the most popular sources of ground meat. But just because the Denver steak comes from this part of the cow, that doesn’t mean that it will be tough, too.

The Denver steak, while it comes from the chuck primal cut, is actually cut from a muscle right underneath the cow’s shoulder blade. This means that it comes from a muscle that isn’t used as frequently by the cow and is much more marbled and tender than other cuts that come from the chuck area.

denver steak with grill marks
via Canva

Flavor and Texture of Denver Steak

If you’re new to this cut of beef, Denver steak’s flavor profile and texture may also seem unfamiliar to you, but it is actually similar in texture and flavor to most steaks.

Like a filet mignon, which is cut from the tenderloin of the cow, the Denver steak cut doesn’t have a fat cap. Instead, this cut of beef is marbled with intramuscular fat, which keeps it tender when prepared properly. This means that the Denver steak ranks pretty high on the list of most tender cuts of beef. In terms of flavor, a Denver steak typically has the beefy flavor you’d expect of any cuts that come from the chuck area of the cow. 

sliced denver steak
via Canva

How to Cook Denver Steaks

The most popular way to prepare a Denver steak is to grill it like you would any other, more familiar steak. Season the meat simply, with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning blend, and sear for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Be sure to let it rest for a few minutes before you cut the steak.

It’s also important that you cut the steak crosswise against the grain; cutting it with the grain will alter the texture of the beef. If you don’t have a grill, you could also prepare a Denver steak at home in a cast iron skillet, or broil it. You can also marinate your Denver steak for several hours before cooking it to infuse it with more flavor. 

denver steak on a cutting board with vegetables
via Canva

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Another part of preparation is how long to cook the meat. Because of the marbling of this cut of beef, it’s possible to cook a Denver steak longer, to medium or medium-well without affecting the tenderness or over drying the beef, which makes it quite versatile. This fact might also take the pressure off when you cook it at home for the first time. You can be sure that even if you cook the steak a little longer than necessary, the flavors and textures won’t be affected too much. Of course, it is important to measure the internal temperature of the steak as you cook it to be sure you’ve hit the mark. 

Where to Buy Denver Steaks

If you’re looking to make Denver steaks at home, you’ll want to know how to shop for this cut of beef yourself. You might not be able to find Denver steak cuts readily available at your supermarket, so taking a trip to your local butcher’s shop is a better option.

Look for a butcher who is well known for being able to access this somewhat hidden cut of meat, and remember that these steaks should always be cut against the grain to preserve as much marbling and tenderness as possible. If you don’t have a trustworthy butcher in your area, you can also purchase Denver steaks online. Another great thing about this unique steak option is that it is quite affordable. You might just have to work a little harder to find it in a butcher shop! 

sliced denver steak on a cutting board with cutlery
via Canva

We hope you’ve enjoyed this crash course on the Denver steak. No matter how you choose to prepare it, this unique cut of beef is a great addition to your steak rotation, not to mention a marvelously easy-to-prepare gift for meat lovers on a special occasion.

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