What Is the 7-Bone Steak?

A Guide to Buying and Cooking 7-Bone Steak

ingredients for chuck steak

The 7-bone steak is named for the cross-section bone that runs through it which is shaped like a "7." This cut of beef comes from the shoulder primal and is generally very tough. It's often a cheaper cut, which is good if you're looking to save some money. And, if you cook it the right way, the 7-bone can be pretty tasty.

Loaded with connective tissues and a bone that is a little awkward, this is a cut that is not fit for hot and fast grilling. Traditionally, it's best for braising or slow roasting in a liquid, which will make it tender enough to enjoy. Frequently sold as a roast, this is also a good and inexpensive cut for the smoker.

essentials of cooking a 7-bone steak
Illustration: Alex Dos Diaz. © The Spruce, 2019

Smoking the 7-Bone Steak

The smoker is your best outdoor option for the 7-bone steak. Apply a good brisket rub and smoke it at a temperature of 225 F/110 C for around an hour per pound if the cut is over 2 inches thick. For thinner steaks, reduce the smoking time to about 30 to 45 minutes per pound. Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 190 F/85 C, remove it from the smoker.

You can smoke several of these steaks at the same time and it won't affect the cooking time. Just be sure to leave space between the steaks so the heat can reach every surface. 

Considering the high concentration of connective tissue, you will find the 7-bone difficult to slice. It is, however, perfect for pulled beef; add a good brisket-worthy barbecue sauce and serve it on buns. A smoked 7-bone steak or roast will not have the same flavor or texture of beef brisket, but it will provide a good meal at a very reasonable price.

The 7-Bone as a Pot Roast

At some butchers, you may also find this cut as a 7-bone roast. It's one of the more popular and common chuck roasts. These thicker cuts tend to be massive amounts of meat, perfect for feeding a family and leaving plenty of leftover for a meal or two. They also tend to be less expensive than other roasts.

The 7-bone makes an excellent pot roast and is ideal for braising in the slow cooker. With some vegetables, broth, and seasonings, you can have a fantastic, hearty meal ready for the dinner table.

Since you're cooking for so long and the meat is soaking up a lot of moisture, it's also a great roast for unique recipes. Experiment in your kitchen with various liquids, or find inspiration from recipes, like this Coca-Cola 7-bone roast.