Honestly, What Type Of Steak Is A Denver Cut?

There are plenty of familiar kinds of steaks out there that give clues as to where on the animal they come from. The ribeye, for instance, is clearly from the rib region. A strip loin (also known as New York strip) comes from, the short loin on the back of the cow.

One increasingly popular cut of meat has a bit more of a murky provenance. The Denver cut, or Denver steak, has become a hit amongst independent butchers and home cooks for its price point, marbling, and ease of cooking.

But what exactly is a Denver steak?

The Denver steak comes from the chuck, which is the shoulder area of the cow. That muscle gets a hefty workout helping an animal that usually weighs in at over 1,000 pounds move around, and as such chuck steaks and roasts are often tougher, requiring long, slow cooking like in a stew or braise.

The Denver steak, however, is cut from the center of the under blade, a protected area that sees little to no movement, allowing it to retain plenty of marbling. Hence, the final product is a cut of beef that can be as tender as a strip or a ribeye but often rings up at a fraction of the cost of better-known cuts of beef — a cheap steak you may want to buy.

How to find and cook a Denver Cut steak

Don't expect to find a Denver steak in the aisle of most chain supermarkets, however. The thing that makes them so tender and flavorful, their location under the shoulder blade, is also what makes them more difficult to extract when it comes to butchering. Instead, look for a local butcher or specialty meat purveyor and be prepared to ask for it by name.

Once procured, the Denver steak can be an extremely forgivable piece of meat to cook. They shine when cooked quickly over high heat — think grilling, searing on a cast-iron pan, or cubed and used in a stir-fry.

They can also benefit from a reverse sear, a technique that sees the steak cooked slowly at first and then finished with a blast of heat for that perfect crust. Those with a sous-vide machine will be glad to know they make the perfect candidate for that method of cooking as well.

Denver steaks seem to be having their moment in the sun, with entire fanbases on Reddit getting excited about them. As grilling season rapidly approaches, it might be time to seek out a Denver steak for a cut that punches above its weight class in flavor while being easy on the wallet.