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Shell steak is a tender and flavorful cut of beef that’s easy to prepare! Learn how to make mouthwatering grilled shell steak with tips for pan searing and oven baking too.
A shell steak is a prized cut full of beefy flavor, and the only cut more tender is a filet mignon! Simple seasonings like salt and freshly ground black pepper will bring out the mouthwatering taste of the meat and wow your guests.
Skip the steakhouse and discover how to easily prepare this juicy, tender steak at home!
What is Shell Steak Cut?
Like the New York Strip, a Shell Steak comes from the steer’s short loin after the tenderloin is removed. It contains the tender longissimus muscle, adding beefy flavor and a slight chew resulting in one of the most prized types of steak.
A straight section of “shell” bone remains, hence the name. When a longer, L-shaped section of bone is included, the cut becomes a Club Steak.
Beef Shell Steak vs NY Strip
These cuts are actually identical except that the Shell Steak is bone-in and the NY Strip is boneless.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Shell Steak: This cut is not common and you may prefer to substitute Strip Steak (also called New York Strip or Strip loin). Alternatively, you may see it labelled as Bone-in Strip steak or Club Steak. Ask your butcher!
- Oil: Use a high-temperature oil such as canola or sunflower to avoid smoking or burning on the grill. Refined olive oil will work too, but avoid extra virgin olive oil, which will smoke.
- Salt: Sea salt or table salt is crucial for tenderizing the meat as it cooks and enhancing flavor.
- Black pepper: Freshly ground black pepper is ideal here for enhancing flavor. You can also use other seasonings such as our homemade Montreal steak seasoning.
How to Make Shell Steak
To make grilled shell steak, heat your grill to 500°F. Meanwhile, prepare the steaks. You’ll want to pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture and rub on all sides with a high-temperature oil like canola or sunflower. Always season generously with salt and pepper for tenderness and flavor.
Place the steaks on the grates and grill for 2 to 3 minutes with the lid closed. Then, flip the steaks and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on the other side to reach medium-rare doneness (130°F). See below for more tips on cooking times and other donenesses.
Tips for the Best Shell Steak
- Remove from the fridge ahead of time: Taking the steak out an hour ahead of time takes the chill off for more even cooking and juicier steak.
- Preheat the grill: The best temperature for a juicy, perfectly seared steak is 500°F. High heat helps the meat to cook faster, which reduces the chance of your steak getting rubbery or overcooked.
- Use a thermometer: A simple $10 instant-read thermometer can prevent your expensive steak from being overcooked. It’s well worth the investment. In seconds, your thermometer can measure doneness so you can be sure your steak is exactly how you like it.
- Rest after cooking: Letting the meat rest covered for 5 minutes after cooking allows the juices to redistribute through the meat for more flavor.
Shell Steak Cooking Time
Cooking time for shell steak can vary due to factors such as the thickness of the steak and the cooking method. Of course, your desired doneness will also influence the time, as well as your cooking method.
When cooking a 1-inch thick shell steak on a 500-degree grill, you’ll need about two minutes on each side to achieve a medium rare steak. Note that the internal temperature is more important than cooking time!
|Steak Doneness||Remove from Heat||Final Temp|
|Rare: cool red center||125°F||125°F|
|Medium Rare: warm red center||130°F||135°F|
|Medium: warm pink center||140°F||145°F|
|Medium Well: slightly pink center||145°F||150°F|
|Well Done: little or no pink||155°F||160°F|
Note that the USDA recommends cooking to 145°F as a safe minimum temperature before removing from the heat.
More Ways to Cook Shell Steak
- Pan Fried Shell Steak: Keep it simple by cooking your steak on the stovetop. Pan-searing is a quick and easy way to prepare this coveted cut of meat.
- Broiled Shell Steak: If you’ve never had broiled steak, you’re missing out on a supremely tender experience. When a grill isn’t available, the broiling method is your saving grace.
- Sous Vide Shell Steak: The sous vide method is known for creating unparalleled levels of tenderness. This method also allows for more even cooking and a flawless-looking steak.
More Steak Recipes:
Perfect Grilled Shell Steak
- 4 shell steaks, cut 1 to 1 ½ inches thick
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, or other high-temperature oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Prepare the Steak
- Bring the steak to room temperature by removing it from the fridge 30 minutes before grilling and place on a work surface (see note).
- Pat dry the steaks with paper towels. Then rub with the salt and seasoning along with the olive oil.
Prepare the Grill
- Preheat grill to medium-high or 450-500°F (232°C).
- Place your palm about 3 inches above the grill grate. If you can only hold it for only1-2 seconds, the grill is ready. (Make sure the grates are hot enough before putting the steak on.)
- Carefully grease the grates with the oil using a folded paper towel. This will prevent the steak from sticking
Grill the Steak
- Place the steak on the grill, cover and sear for 2-3 minutes without moving. (To get a diamond/crosshatch pattern, rotate the steak 90 degrees halfway through searing on each side.)
- Using tongs, flip the steak and let the second side sear for 2-3 minutes more.
- Check doneness by inserting an instant meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Remove from the grill at 120°F (49°C) for rare, 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare, and 140°F (60°C) for medium. Note: The temperature will rise a few degrees more while resting.
- Transfer the steak to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to retreat back into the meat.
- Cut against the grain to serve.
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