Q: Chef, I am a newcomer to St. Louis. With the hope of warmer weather coming, I am getting ready to pull my grill out of the garage and fire it up. I want to invite my neighbors over and get to know them. Do you have any great recipes that will be good for our first grill of the season?

A: If you’re new to town and really want to set your summer off right, you can’t go wrong with one of St. Louis’ favorites. The pork steak has been around since the 1800s and has been a staple on St. Louis menus all over town.

A thick-cut steak from the pork butt grilled over an open flame is a must to achieve that depth of flavor. That char is just the beginning of the levels of flavor that will develop while you braise these steaks in Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce until they are melt-in-your-mouth tender.

When we wanted to put the pork steak on the menu at The Beerhouse at River City Casino, I reached out to local families to find some of the best recipes, which I’m now sharing with you. For those of you who know me, you know that I am always looking for a way to take food over the top. So at The Beerhouse, we have gone super-sized, with a 4-pound, bone-in St. Louis Pork Steak, served with fried onions and potato salad. For those of you who are looking for something smaller, we have a ‘normal-sized’ option on the menu.

St. Louis Pork Steak


8 10-oz. pork steaks

1 gallon Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce

¼ cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey

For the BBQ Rub:

2 cups kosher salt

4 t ground cayenne pepper ground

4 t ground black pepper ground

1 cup paprika

2 T granulated onion powder

2 T granulated garlic powder


Blend seasoning together, and rub the pork steaks on both sides. Let rest for 30 minutes before grilling over an open flame. In deep pan, blend together barbecue sauce and whiskey, place pork steaks in. Place pan on grill with medium heat and braise until tender. Cook until meat is easy to pull apart.

Potato Salad

5 lbs. red potatoes, cooked

1 celery stalk, finely diced

1/2 onion, finely diced

1 ½ cups mayonnaise

6 hard boiled eggs, diced

½ cup dill pickle, chopped

1 t salt

1 t ground black pepper

1 t cider vinegar

2 t Dijon mustard

2 T fresh dill, chopped


Cook potatoes until tender. Place in large bowl while they are still warm. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Be sure to break up the potatoes a little while you are mixing. This will allow the salad to blend better. Also, did you know that mixing potato salad while the potatoes are still warm will allow the dressing to be absorbed into the potatoes. This will enhance the flavor of the salad throughout.

Fried Onions

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 T Cajun seasoning

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 t kosher salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

4 cups vegetable oil


Heat oil in large pan to 325 degrees. Blend dry ingredients together and place in medium bowl. In a separate bowl, add buttermilk. Dip onion slices in buttermilk and then dredge them in the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour. Fry onions in oil until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil.

Chef John Johnson is executive chef at River City Casino. For questions or recipe requests, email him at John.Johnson@rivercity.com.

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