10 best steaks for grilling
Ralph Smith/The Pioneer Woman
When the days get longer and the temperatures start to rise, it’s time for one of the best meals imaginable: steak dinner! Tossing a steak on the grill is one of the most satisfying ways to wind down the day, and it makes a quick and easy meal. But which cut of meat to choose?
We have answers. Here we’ve put together a list of the best steaks to grill, including tips on how to season your steak, information on cooking times, and more. After all, as any grill master knows, the trickiest thing about cooking a steak is deciding which one to take home from the store! Different cuts of beef will give you different textures and flavors: the more marbled the fat, the bigger and beefier the flavor, while leaner cuts will generally taste milder (these are ideal contenders for seasonings and sauces, and they go wonderfully with our favorite steak side dishes). The price range of steaks is also wide – there are affordable, expensive and very expensive options out there, so that’s another factor to consider.
The options are plentiful, but no matter what you choose, you’ll be treated to a delicious dinner. And if you happen to not be able to finish it all overnight, check out our tips on how to reheat a steak to relive the deliciousness! Leftover steak is wonderful too, you know.
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Affordable chuck eye steak comes from the area of the cow’s shoulder bone, specifically the area closest to the rib eye, which means both chuck and rib eye steaks have a similar mottled fat. In fact, the chuck eye has been nicknamed the “poor man’s rib eye”! Most chuck cuts have plenty of connective tissue, making them ideal for stewing or braising, but chuck steak is the exception: a blast of heat from the grill is all you need.
Filet Mignon (aka Filet of Beef)
This steak is so tender you could slice it with a butter knife! It comes from the short kidney of the animal, which does not train much. The “tenderloin” is the whole cut in its roast form, and the “filet mignon” is the tenderloin cut into steaks. Although prized for its tender chew, filet mignon is not known for having that big beefy flavor. However, it’s the perfect candidate for sauces and other savory seasonings, and it sure is delicious!
Flank (aka Bavette or London Broil)
This lean, inexpensive cut comes from the abdominal section of the cow and tends to be chewier. However, flank steak is great for feeding a crowd and lends itself well to a good marinade. Be sure to slice it thinly against the grain to break up the rubbery connective tissue.
The king of all steaks, porterhouse is a heavy cross-cut consisting of both the tenderloin and the striploin. This is undeniably a steak full of flavor for special occasions and made for the grill: sear it first over direct heat, then switch to indirect heat to finish cooking. Keep it simple when seasoning that prized (and expensive!) steak – you don’t want to hide its natural, beefy flavor.
This expensive cut is known for its full flavor, thanks to the marbled fat running through it. The name says it all: rib eye steak originates from the coastal region and is often referred to as the “steak lovers cut”. Beyond a little salt and pepper, ribeye doesn’t need much to taste great. Just keep an eye on the grill for flare-ups that may occur as the fat melts and cooks.
Similar to flank steak, skirt steak is another flat, flavorful cut of beef that comes from the beef’s abdominal region (specifically the diaphragm). A marinade works wonders here, as does thinly slicing the grilled steak against the grain: this will cut through all the chewy connective tissues and make the bite more tender.
Strip (aka New York Strip)
This steak is a prized part of the short loin, which is the area of beef that produces the most expensive and flavorful cuts. Known for its marbled fat and full, beefy flavor, striploin steak is a good example of how some steaks have more chewiness without being tough. This steak isn’t as tender as filet mignon, but it has a nice firm bite and a rich flavor. Simple seasoning and a quick, strong sear on both sides is all you really need.
The sirloin steak is the smaller sibling of the larger sirloin steak. The same two steaks in one make up this cut, but it’s a smaller version overall. And the same rules apply: keep the seasonings simple to let the flavor shine through, and hit it with hot, direct heat before switching it to indirect heat.
Sirloin is usually reserved for ground meat or stew meat, as it comes from the hindquarters of the cow, which gets more exercise and is therefore a bit tougher. The top sirloin, however, is literally this-it is cut from the top of this section and is the most tender sirloin cut. This savory steak is an affordable option that’s known to have a firmer bite, but that doesn’t mean it’s tough!
The tri-tip comes from the bottom sirloin of the cow and gets its name from its shape. It’s a naturally lean and affordable cut that’s packed with flavor. It’s great seasoned on its own, although tri-tips also pair well with seasonings and marinades.
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