What Is a Beef Shell Steak and How Do You Cook It?

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.

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.

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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.

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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!

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

For seasonings, I use some butter, salt, and pepper. I prefer coarse salt and I rub it into the steak before cooking to make sure the flavour of the steak really comes out in each bite. Prep your steak by rubbing in salt and pepper and then put butter into the pan.

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Warm up the butter in the pan until it is melted, and then place the steak into the pan for frying. We are cooking steak on a high heat, and the butter can be heated at high until it is melted as well.

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If I am cooking the steak to a medium rare, then I will cook it for about 8 minutes in total, flipping it about halfway through so that it can cook on both sides. For a well done steak, I will cook for about 12 minutes, once again flipping it over about halfway through. The longer you cook the steak for, the dryer it will be, so keep that in mind. 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.

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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.

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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.


Written by Pauline

I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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