10 Best Steaks for Grilling

Jason Webster
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Basics – Before we Begin

About Steak:

Before you start grilling steaks, let’s first learn a few basic things about them. A steak is basically a cut of beef with a large amount of muscle fibers running in one direction. Smaller pieces of meat are cut off this larger chunk of meat to make various cuts of steaks.

Simply put, a steak is tender and flavorful because of its well-exercised muscles, while cuts of beef other than steak are tougher because less exercise has been done on them.

Because the protein fibers are in one direction, steak share a lot of the same qualities. One of the biggest similarities between steak is that they are all fairly lean cuts of meat.

The American version of a steak is usually traced to the North American Buffalo (American Bison) but it is also produced from domestic cattle.

An American steak is cut from a boneless rib roast that has been trimmed down. The boneless rib roast is the larger top forward section of the rib cage from the last six ribs. Steaks are cut perpendicular to the bone. The thin top pieces are cut into ribeye and thick pieces are cut into strip steak. Tenderloin is also cut from the center of the roast. The lean sirloin is from the hip and the boneless top loin is cut into T-bone and New York steaks.

1) Ribeye

The ribeye steak from the rib section of the beef is what everyone loves. It is the most tender and juicy part of the entire rib and is best suited for grilling. If this is the first time you are buying your ribeye steak, you may find it a little expensive, but it’s worth every penny.

The ribeye is comprised of a small slice of tenderloin and a slice of spinalis (aka “prime rib meat”). The ribeye is top notch for grilling and a must-have for a steak lover.

The whole muscle is well marbled with fat that is rich in minerals like iron, zinc and phosphorus. Seared properly on high heat with a few drops of olive oil, you can enjoy a more evenly cooked steak with a flavor that’ll make you savor every bite without the worry of being overpowered by the taste of fat.

2) Striploin

Delmonico, New York Strip, Top Loin, or Sirloin Steak.

These are some of the juicy, full-flavored, tender steaks from the short loin. They are preferred because of their tenderness.

Best cut: Striploin (But, John Wayne ordered his Buffalo stripped loin, London Broil style, with bone, though!) Delmonico, New York Strip, Top Loin, and Sirloin Steaks, which are premium steaks from the striploin of the short loin.

3) Filet Mignon

One of the most popular cuts of steak, it’s tender and tasty.

But just don’t use it for grilling, it’s a no-no. Move on to the next one!

It’s a steak that should be cooked in the oven, quickly.

And it has to be served just as quick once it’s ready, too.

Filet mignon may also be called fillet or tournedos.

It’s the most tender steak you would get from a cow, coming from the tenderloin section.

It has a uniform color and looks similar to the eye of a filefish, hence its name.

However, its size may vary.

The most popular size is around 4 to 6 ounces, but larger ones can go up to an ounce and a half.

Because of its tenderness, it’s usually served a little undercooked.

Serve it after five minutes of grilling or five minutes of cooking in the oven.

The temperature should reach 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit).

Once cooked, the meat should appear pink or rosy throughout.

If your filet mignon is served more than medium rare, it is not true filet.

4) T-Bone

If you’ve never grilled a T-bone you are in for something truly special.

T-bones come from different cuts of meat depending on the way the cow is butchered.

Usually, T-bones are cut from the short loin, a particularly tender and flavorful part of the cow.

This is a relatively thick cut, so the meat is very tender and needs very little fat to keep it from getting dry during cooking.

The two distinct cuts within the T-bone steak are called Porterhouse and NY Strip.

However, if you’re going for a perfect taste, you’ll probably go for the bone-in T-bone.

This has the best meat-to-fat ratio. Plus, the bone acts as a grasping surface, making flipping the steak as easy as tweaking a knob.

Once you’ve added your steak to the grill, get ready for something truly special.

Even the less-expensive cuts are an important part of the steak experience.

This is because the structure of a T-bone is like a sponge, and it will retain all the flavor from the marinade and seasoning.

5) Porterhouse

The porterhouse steak is the most popular steak in any restaurant. It has a very unique texture. It has beef tenderloin on one side and a cap of New York strip on the other. Usually, it is cut so that the tenderloin portion is under a quarter of the total weight. It is a large cut that requires a lot of time to cook.

6) Flat Iron

It’s a relatively new cut to the market but it’s quickly gaining a lot of attention due to it being tender, juicy and as flavorful as a ribeye.

It’s definitely one of the most versatile steaks you can get. You can either smoke it or grill it to an easy medium-rare and then slice across the grain and serve it with a steak sauce.

Flat iron steak is tasty, quick-roasted steak that is economical to buy, and it can be marinated with your favorite flavors.

Flat iron steak is a relatively slender steak cut that is commonly seen in most steak dinner packages.

7) Top Sirloin

This steak will have a nice bold flavor to it with a lot of texture to it. Because of the texture, it’s best to at medium rare or medium at most. The fat content in this steak will keep it nice and juicy even if you overdo it.

It’s a bit of a hassle to trim this one, but it’s worth it.

8) Flank Steak

Flank steak is a very thin cut of meat. But don’t let its thinness fool you. Flank steak is moist, flavourful and, when cooked properly, tender and juicy.

If you are planning on grilling a flank steak, I recommend that you grill it medium rare because this will offer the best, juiciest results. Flank steak does not swim in juices as well as other cuts when cooked to medium or well. The marbling on flank steak means that it cooks up a treat when cooked to medium rare, but does tend to become tough when cooked beyond that.

Flank steak is great for cooking on the BBQ because the grilling process locks in the moisture and adds flavour to the meat. Grill your flank steak over the hot part of the charcoal or on a cast iron grill.

Flank steak is also a great choice for the grill because portions of the flank steak are less expensive and it offers great value for money.

9) Skirt Steak

A cut of beef containing long muscle fibers and very little fat, skirt steak is a boneless steak that is tucked underneath the diaphragm of a cow. But due to its fibrousness, this steak takes on a very chewy texture. This means that it needs to be marinated before barbecueing. It is best basted with a mixture of hickory smoked BBQ sauce, balsamic vinegar and salt.

Do not confuse this steak with another cut of meat called the skirt steak. The skirt steak is a fatty piece of meat from the animal’s diaphragm. The meat from the skirt steak is too chewy to eat raw, and it is usually tenderized by being marinated in vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The Skirt steak can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can be served alongside a salad, or skewered and placed in a casserole.

When choosing the Skirt steak, choose one that has a fuller, deep red color, and a grainy texture to it. Avoid the steak if its color is still purplish in color. Make sure that it is not too thin or too thick. Choose one that is relatively thin.

10) Hanger Steak

The hanger steak is also known as the “butcher” or “cowboy” steak. This steak is taken from the diaphragm muscle of the cattle.

It is a long, thin, narrow muscle that gets tougher the more it’s cooked.

The hanger steak is one of the most inexpensive cuts of meat, but it’s reasonably lean and tends to be a little more flavorful than sirloin or flank steaks.

Some people consider the hanger steak as a gourmet cut of meat because it is a rare steak. If you want something more flavorful than a flank steak but a little less than a ribeye, then you definitely want to try a hanger steak.

How to Cook a Hanger Steak

Heat a griddle or a frying pan to medium-high heat, and season the steak with salt and pepper. Fry the steak for about 3 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. This will also help render more fat of the steak.

Remove the steak from the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain, against the direction of the meat fibers.

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What to Look for in a Steak

When you’re buying a steak, ask yourself three questions. What part of the animal is it. What size is it. How many people can we feed with this steak?

The best steaks for grilling are the same cuts that are considered good for pot roasts, braises and stews. The most tender portions of the animal such as fillet and sirloin are best cooked by other methods, and not over high heat.

Look for steaks that are well marbled and pinkish in color.

The steak should be thick enough to leave a good “doneness zone” throughout, even if you overcook it slightly in the pan or on the grill.

The best steaks for cooking are generally 1 in (2.5 cm) thick. However, depending on the individual steak, some steaks can be left thinner.