What is a spider steak cut?
Also known as Oyster steak in the States, the spider steak (Australian name) comes from the hip joint. Shaped like a kidney or an oyster, the cow only has two of these lesser-known cuts (one in each hip). It’s weaved with a web of intramuscular fat on the outside and requires a highly skilled butcher to remove the spider steak fully intact from inside the hip on the aitch bone.
Small and flavourful thanks to its thick marbling, this beautifully dark-coloured meat is also referred to as the Pope’s Eye in the UK — a term also used to describe the rump. As this can create confusion, our preferred name is the spider steak.
How long does it take to cook beef spider steak?
Excluding resting time, a quick pan sear of approximately 4-6 minutes will cook your spider steak medium-rare to medium. For a lovely spider steak that’s tender and flavourful, do not go beyond medium.
How to cook spider steak
1. Take your spider steaks out of the refrigerator.
2. Remove your meat from the vacuum packaging and pat dry any moisture. Allow it to come up to room temperature.
3. Heat a griddle or non-stick, heavy-based frying pan until smoking hot.
4. Just prior to cooking, rub oil with a high smoking point and neutral flavour over both sides of the steaks and season with salt and pepper.
5. Place the spider steaks in the pan and brown them on both sides, around two minutes per side. Resist the urge to move them — the steaks will naturally release from the pan when a crust has formed, so if they adhere to the pan at all, wait a few moments and try again (a rich, golden crust should have formed).
6. Turn the heat down a touch and cook for a total of 4-6 minutes, turning the steaks approx. every 30 seconds throughout.
7. Remove the steaks from the frying pan and rest in a warm place for 6 minutes.
8. Cut along the grain in slices to ensure the meat is tender.
Top tips for cooking beef spider steak
- To gauge how done your meat is while cooking, you can carry out a quick and reliable finger test to ensure it is medium-rare. Gently press the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. Feel the palm of your hand just below your thumb – this is medium-rare. It should feel similar to your cheek: tender and soft but still fleshy. For medium doneness, press the tip of your ring finger and your thumb together. The flesh beneath the thumb should give a little more.
- Finish your spider steaks by adding a large knob of quality butter and basting them to add a glorious richness to their beefy, robust character.
Spider steak recipe ideas
As spider steaks have a rich depth of flavour, keep the seasoning simple and serve alongside a fresh green salad, triple-cooked chips, and something a little tangy like a chimichurri sauce or Dijon Mustard. Alternatively, thinly slice your spider steak and beef up your fajitas and stir-fries.