Denver Steak: What Is It, How To Cook It, and 4 Related Recipes

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S.A. Yanes Published: July 15, 2021 Modified: September 22, 2021
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All sumptuous steak recipes start with a good cut of meat. There’s tenderloin, which is a delicious cut for this juicy and mouthwatering grilled beef tenderloin steak. There’s also filet mignon, the crème de la crème of steaks. You could also count in sirloin, brisket, and more. Now considering the seemingly endless options, there’s an equally delectable steak cut that is often overlooked — the Denver steak.

Beef up your knowledge of steak meat cuts by getting to know more about Denver steak! By the end, not only will you be well-acquainted with this beef cut, but you will get to elevate your steak nights as well.

Picanha is yet another mouthwatering option for all steak lovers. Learn more about this beef cut in this article on Picanha: What Is It and How to Cook It?.

What Is Denver Steak

what is denver steak

The Denver steak, also known as Denver cut, under blade steak, or chuck steak is derived from the cow’s shoulder region, particularly at the serratus ventralis section of the chuck underblade. It also goes by the name Zabuton steak, which translates to “little pillow” in Japanese. A befitting moniker actually, as this meat cut is extremely soft and tender, being a cross between a New York strip and a ribeye. 

The tenderness of beef Denver cut is a bit surprising, considering that most chuck steaks from the underblade area, generally, are pretty tough. The part where it’s located, directly underneath the shoulder blade bone, isn’t used as much. As that is the case, the area where Denver steak is cut from has a higher fat content. As such, this makes the Denver cut one of the more tender muscles in the beef chuck. This specific meat steak cut, in fact, is ranked as the fourth most tender cut of beef. Although not as popular as the other steak cuts, Denver chuck steak has all the marbling and rich flavor that every steak lover will love.

Not only is Denver steak delectable, but this beef meat cut also carries an impressive amount of nutritional benefits. This steak cut is an incredible source of protein. A 3-ounce portion of this beef cut contains 22 grams of protein. Not to mention, it also provides other essential nutrients such as zinc and iron, boosting our immune system. So you can surely enjoy this delish steak without feeling any guilt!

How To Cook Denver Steak

cooking steak

Now that you’re familiar with the Denver cut, let’s move on to the best ways to unravel its inviting deliciousness. At first bite, you’re sure to love this tender cut, most especially when perfectly grilled. But before firing that grill, note that how this specific meat cut is sliced matters. As we’ve mentioned earlier, all delish steak experiences begin with a good cut of meat. And Denver steak is no exception. 

Here’s a pro-tip: slice the Denver meat steak cut across the grain. Doing so will tenderize the meat and can enrich the beefy flavor. If you want to make the cutting process much easier, separate the front section from the rear section before slicing it into pieces. Not only will it help tenderize the meat, but it’ll also enhance the taste of the steak. However, it takes a skilled butcher to achieve a perfectly sliced chuck steak as it’s a tad bit of a challenge to separate it from the surrounding tough connective tissue. If not cut accordingly, it’ll still be delectable, though less flavorful. 

For seamless cutting, here are the 15 Best Steak Knives for Cutting Steak and More This 2021.

To bring out the rich beefy flavor of the tender Denver cut, this meat cut should be perfectly cooked. The thing is, there are not so many Denver steak recipes, being just a newcomer in the beef scene. Nonetheless, you can still have a palatable steak dinner, that is, if you follow our tips and tricks when cooking Denver steak. We’ll share with you the different cooking methods that can accentuate the scrumptiousness of this steak cut. Also, feel free to explore and use the Denver cut in place of the meat used in the recipes below.

Grilling

The best way to cook Denver steak is by grilling it. This method brings out the beefy flavor of the Denver cut. Rest assured that you’ll be delighting in a juicy, mouthwatering grilled Denver steak in no time. Below are some tips on how to grill a tender chuck steak. Consider these tip-offs should you want to whip up a flavorsome grilled recipe

  • Marinate the steak – Place the beef chuck in a ziplock bag and pour a flavorful steak marinade to amplify its texture and flavor. Then, store it in the refrigerator and let it rest for six to 48 hours. 
  • Make sure the steak’s at room temperature – When ready to cook, you should take the meat out of the refrigerator 45 minutes before grilling. 
  • Let it rest before serving – Letting the steak rest right after grilling allows redistribution of tasty juices onto the meat.

Reverse Sear

A succulent steak with a crispy crust and a tender center makes for a delicious weeknight dinner. And through the reverse-searing method, you’ll get to savor a perfectly seared medium-rare steak. In this particular cooking method, you can use an oven, charcoal grill, or gas burner. Here are a few tips should you want to try your hand at this palatable reverse-sear steak.  

  • Season the steak – A good rule of thumb when cooking steak is to season the meat cut generously with salt and pepper. By doing so, your steak will most likely taste juicier. Another pro-tip: season the steak at least 40 minutes before cooking.
  • Reverse-searing with gas or charcoal grill – Whether you’ll be using gas or charcoal, make sure to create a hot and cool zone. Preheat the steak to medium-high on the hot side of the grill. And it’s only when it’s at the temperature that you’d place the meat on one side. 
  • Reverse-searing with an oven – When cooking Denver steak in an oven, preheat it to 250-275 degrees F. 

Sous Vide

Another cooking method that ensures your Denver steak is juicy and tender is sous vide cooking. A tried-and-tested culinary process, you will get perfectly cooked sous vide steak every time. If you don’t have sous vide machine at your disposal, you can use a pan and stove instead. Below are some handy tips to help you during the process.

  • Place the steak in an airtight ziplock bag – It’s best to put only a piece of meat per bag to ensure even cooking. You can also season the steak with your preferred herbs.
  • Leave enough room at the top of the pan – When filling the pan with water, make sure to leave enough room at the top. By doing so, the water won’t overflow as you immerse the steak. 
  • Fully submerge the bag in the water – Whether you’re cooking with a dedicated machine or a pan, always make sure that you properly immerse the steak in the water bath. Doing so will guarantee that all sides are cooked evenly.

Discover everything there is to know about the sous vide cooking method in this article on What Is Sous Vide? And 8 Best Sous Vide Recipes

Cast-Iron Skillet

Boneless steaks such as the Denver cut and rib-eye are the perfect cuts if you’re planning on cooking with a cast-iron skillet. The meat will deliciously caramelize, resulting in a luscious steak recipe such as in this rib-eye steak recipe. For a more delicious outcome, consider these handy tips:

  • Coat the steak with oil – Another standard when cooking steak is to lather the steak itself with oil and not just the pan to ensure a perfect golden crust. Plus, the steak won’t stick to the pan. 
  • Use a digital probe thermometer – With this device, you can check the internal temperature of the steaks so you can achieve your desired doneness.

It’s high time to invest in a high-quality skillet for your home cooking! Here are the 12 Best Electric Skillets to Have in Your Kitchen in 2021.

Where to Buy a Denver Steak

It takes a skilled butcher to have that perfect slice of Denver steak. Because of that, it can a bit challenging to find a piece of this beef cut in your local supermarket store or meat shop. You can try your luck in the nearest farmers market.

If the Denver chuck is still unavailable in the said places, you can give your local butcher shop a visit. Chances are they might be selling this prized meat cut. You can also turn to online shops in case you’re out of options. Fortunately, some specialized beef vendors also sell rare cuts of steak, such as the Denver chuck. 

How to Store a Denver Steak

Knowing how to store Denver steak properly can be helpful, especially if you’re not planning on cooking it right away. For instance, you purchased this steak cut a few days ahead before your backyard party. You will be happy to know that this steak can last for three to five days in the refrigerator. Freezing is also a great option as it can extend the steak’s shelf-life much longer. If frozen, Denver steak can keep for about three months. 

However, there are a few things to remember to maintain the meat’s freshness. You should remove the steak from the packaging and transfer it in freezer bags or butcher paper. Removing as much air as possible is also necessary. You can also use a vacuum sealer to keep the air out of contact with the food. When ready to cook the steak, thaw the frozen meat first by transferring it to the refrigerator beforehand. You can also submerge it in cold water and wait until it completely defrosts.

Denver Steak Is Among the Most Tender Beef Cuts

Although this beef cut is lesser-known, Denver cut is just as tasty as the popular ones. It has a good amount of marbling, resulting in a juicier and more tender cut of steak. Follow our tips and tricks when cooking this tempting beef cut and elevate your steak experience!

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S.A. Yanes

S.A. Yanes is a fiction writer, poet, book blogger, and content editor. At Recipes.net, she writes food ingredient guides, product reviews, and more. Prior to that, she has worked in a publishing house and was the brand manager of an up-and-coming writing and reading online platform. She has written numerous short fictions as well as engaging bible stories for children. She's also a certified foodie with an immense love for anything cheesy and chocolatey.

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