How to Cook Pork Steaks So They're Tender and Juicy

The sugars and acid in orange juice can help make pork steak tender.
Image Credit: LauriPatterson/E+/GettyImages

Pork steak is a cut of meat taken from the shoulder portion of the pig, and the meat from this area can be fairly tough when cooked.

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If you're wondering how to cook tender pork steaks, marinating the meat before you cook it is one way to do it. Another way is to slow cook it in the oven using sauces like barbecue and/or hot sauce to help tenderize the pork.

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You can easily make pork steaks tender by marinating them for at least 4 hours. Using juices with acid, such as orange juice, will also help to tenderize pork.

If you're marinating to tenderize your pork chops, it's important to note that doing so for more than 24 hours can cause the meat to break down and should be avoided.

Warning

Always wash your hands and any surfaces that raw meat has touched thoroughly to avoid illness.

How to Prepare Tender Pork Steak

Things You'll Need

  • Pork steak

  • Large food storage container with a tight-fitting lid

  • Food brush

  • Vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 cup of water

  • 1 cup of orange juice

  • Colander

  • Paper towels

Step 1: Prepare and Season Your Pork Steak

Place the pork steak in the bottom of a large food storage container with a tight-fitting lid. Brush the pork steak with vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil and season the pork steak on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

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Step 2: Marinate the Meat

Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of orange juice to the container. Stir the mixture and toss the pork steaks to fully coat them. The pork steak should be completely submerged in the marinating liquid.

Step 3: Let It Sit

Place the top on the container and put the pork in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Step 4: Drain, Dry and Cook

Take the container out of the refrigerator and allow the pork steak to drain in a colander for 5 minutes. Pat the pork steak dry with paper towels, discarding them as you go until the meat is completely dry. Cook the pork steak as desired.

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Tip

You can use any type of slightly acidic, sweet liquid to tenderize pork. You can try:

  • Cola
  • Pineapple juice
  • Citrus juices, like orange juice
  • Red wine
  • Balsamic vinegar

These are commonly used but should be diluted to avoid completely breaking down the muscle fibers of the meat. If you use highly acidic liquids like wine or balsamic vinegar, be sure to dilute it with water at a ratio of three parts water to one part acid.

You can add fresh or dried herbs to the marinade for more flavor if you wish.

How to Slow Cook Pork Steaks in the Oven

You can slow cook pork steaks in the oven to make them tender. Cooking pork steak slowly at a low temperature allows the collagen in the tissues to melt away, making the meat easier to eat. Adding a bit of barbecue sauce to your pork steaks will create a decadent dish with a bold flavor profile.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 to 6 pork steaks

  • 1 bottle of barbecue sauce

  • Deep roasting pan

  • Aluminum foil

  • Hot sauce (optional)

Step 1: Preheat Your Oven

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Prepare the Pork

Place your pork steaks in the roasting pan.

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Step 3: Add Your Sauces

Mix the barbecue sauce with 1 cup water in a small bowl, and pour the sauce over the top of the steaks. You can add hot sauce to your pork steaks for an extra kick — use enough to taste.

Step 4: Cover Your Pan

Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and seal the edges well.

Step 5: Cook the Pork

Place the roasting pan in the oven and cook the steaks for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone and flakes apart with a fork.

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