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The Ultimate Beef Shell Steak Guide

The Ultimate Beef Shell Steak Guide

Last Updated on 2nd August 2023 by

There are so many cuts of steak out there that it can be tough to keep them all separated.

How do you tell one from the other?

There are a few ways you can tell the difference- which part of the cow they come from, how they are cooked, how tough or tender they are, and how they are supposed to be cooked.

All of these factors can determine what kind of meal you might want them for and whether you should choose one over the other.

Is Shell Steak A Premium Cut

Here is one I heard of only a few years ago that stumped me at first-shell steak.

What is shell steak? Beef shell steak is a fairly flat steak, which makes it easy to fry up in a pan.

It’s known by the name bone in strip steak, and I think I probably knew it by that name before but didn’t know the difference between it and a half dozen other steaks.

Once I started to make steak at home instead of ordering it out as much, I started to learn more about the differences between them.

I learned which cuts of steak need to be cut against the grain and which ones you cut with the grain.

I learned which steaks are tender and which ones are known to be tough. The tough ones need a different cooking method and different cutting method to make them more tender.

I learned that some kinds of steak have a lot of fat on them and are usually cheaper because of their low meat content.

So what about beef shell steak?

What is a shell steak? It’s not shaped like a shell at all like the name might suggest. It is kind of a flat cut of meat, and it is also pretty shallow, in most cases.

That means it is easy to fry up in a pan without needing to cut it into thin slices before cooking.

What Cut Is a Shell Steak?

Different steaks come from different parts of the cow, and each of these cuts of beef has a different name. You have cuts like tenderloin and ribeye as well as prime rib and sirloin beef.

All of these are from particular parts of the cow. The rib steak comes from the rib and the flank steak comes from the flank or hindquarters, and these are kind of obvious ones, but what about the shell steak, or bone in strip steak, as it is also known? Where does that one come from?

This cut of beef comes from the loin, making it very tender. It is actually cut from a muscle that does little work, so it’s not as meaty and not as tough as some of the other cuts of steak.

This is considered the tenderest cuts of steak and one of the most desirable, which also means it can be very expensive.

This cut of beef is so tender and juicy that it doesn’t need a lot of prep work or careful cutting to make sure it is tender enough and easy to chew through. Most of the work is done for you, and frying it up and seasoning it is a simple job.

How to Cook Beef Shell Steak

We have talked about what is beef shell steak, and now it is time to cover how you can fix it up for dinner. Like I said, preparing this cut of steak is easy, and I feel like anyone could do it without having a formal cooking education or taking any cooking classes.

Let’s get started!

Shell Steak Recipe

The shell steak cooks in about 10 minutes with the pan frying method. For a steak, that’s not too bad.

The Ultimate Beef Shell Steak Guide
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Shell Steak Recipe

A simple and delicious way to cook shell steak using coarse salt, pepper, and butter.


  • Shell steak
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Allow your steak to reach room temperature. This will ensure even cooking.
  • Rub the shell steak with the coarse salt and ground black pepper, ensuring you cover all sides of the steak.
  • Heat a pan over high heat and add the butter. Allow the butter to melt completely.
  • Once the butter has melted, add the steak to the pan.
  • If you prefer your steak medium rare, cook the steak for about 8 minutes in total. Flip the steak halfway through, ensuring it gets cooked evenly on both sides.
  • For a well done steak, cook the steak for about 12 minutes, again flipping it halfway through.
  • Once the steak has reached your preferred level of doneness, remove from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak.


Remember, the longer you cook your steak, the drier it will become. Adjust cooking times to your preference and keep in mind the thickness of your steak may alter these times.

You may want to add more butter partway through for a well done steak, to help keep it juicy and tender.

Then you are done. You can just take the steak out of the pan and put it on a plate to serve. This steak is quick and simple and doesn’t require a lot of prep work, seasonings, or cooking time. You can make it up just a few minutes before you are ready to eat, once it is thawed.

How to Thaw Shell Steak?

You will probably buy this steak frozen or at least store it frozen. Steak only stays good thawed in the fridge for a few days, so if you aren’t going to use yours right away after you buy it, then it should be kept in the freezer.

The shell steak is going to have to be thawed before you can cook it. It will not cook properly if it is still frozen, so be sure to transfer it from the freezer to the fridge for about two days before you are going to cook it. Then, cook up the entire steak and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days before consuming.

If you need to thaw the shell steak faster, you can place it under running cold water or put it into a basin of cold water or room temperature water for about 30 minutes.

Avoid using hot or warm water, as that can start to cook the steak and lead to uneven cooking.

What to Serve with Shell Steak

This tender cut of meat can be served with flavourful sides, like loaded baked potatoes, Caesar salad, grilled seasoned vegetables, pasta alfredo, fresh bread, and plenty more.

I like to choose a side dish with plenty of flavour variety to it as a complement to the steak, which isn’t bland but isn’t bursting with flavours either.

This is a great meat dish to give you an excuse to go all out on the sides and pick something that is really tasty rather than somewhat bland.

I think serving it with plain French fries would be doing it a disservice, so I have offered you a few of my favourite suggestions to get you started.


What exactly is a beef shell steak?

A beef shell steak is a cut of beef that comes from the short loin, located at the back of the cow. It’s a premium cut, known for its tenderness and rich flavour. Depending on where you live, it might be referred to as a strip steak, sirloin, or even a New York steak.

What is the best method for cooking a beef shell steak to maintain its flavour and tenderness?

The best way to cook a beef shell steak is typically by grilling or pan-searing it. This high-heat, quick-cooking method helps to sear the outside of the steak, locking in the juices and enhancing the flavour. For the best results, let the steak reach room temperature before cooking, season it simply with salt and pepper, then cook it over high heat for a few minutes on each side. Be mindful not to overcook it – this steak is best enjoyed medium-rare to medium.

Are there specific marinades or seasonings that work best with beef shell steak?

While a good quality beef shell steak requires little more than salt and pepper to bring out its natural flavour, you could certainly use a marinade or other seasonings if you prefer. Garlic, rosemary, and thyme are classic flavours that complement beef well. As for marinades, something simple like olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, and a touch of brown sugar could enhance the meat’s flavour without overpowering it. Remember to marinate for a few hours, or ideally overnight, for the best results.

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I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food!  You can find my Facebook here

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