Dreaming of a delicious steak rich in flavor that melts in your mouth? The perfectly grilled steak is easier to achieve if you have your hands on some of the best beef cuts for the grill. Grilling a tender steak with a juicy, beefy flavor sometimes requires a different approach based on the cut you choose.
Best Steaks for the Grill
Flank steak comes from the belly “flank” of the cow and has a tougher texture from compact muscle fibers, but it’s also packed with intense beef flavor. The flank cut is usually sliced thin, making it the perfect cut for a stir fry or steak sandwich.
Due to its thinness, this cut reaches optimal tenderness when cooked for a short time on a hot grill. Thin slices against the grain will help to enhance the fine buttery texture of this beef cut. If you prefer to use marinades, you can level up the satisfying flavor of this cut, but tenderness is the biggest challenge for flanks.
Steak Filet Mignon
Filet Mignon is one of the most tender cuts of steak but comes with a hefty cost at the local butcher. This cut is a circular medallion piece of the beef tenderloin with no bone and is often grilled wrapped in bacon to boost the flavor.
Filet Mignon is a lean beef cut that is rich in flavor with a natural fine buttery texture. All this cut of steak really needs is light seasoning and a few minutes each side on a high heat grill. Being the most tender steak cut, Filet Mignon is usually saved for special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries. However, we think a mouthwatering cut like this deserves to be enjoyed any day.
A top sirloin steak is a lean muscle found in the beef loin and is extra flavorful compared to other cuts from the loin. With little fat and no bone, this cut is optimal for kabob grilling or stir fry. This cut is best grilled, broiled, or pan-seared, but be sure to check the temperature frequently to prevent over or undercooking.
Although flavor packs a punch in top sirloin steak, you compromise some of your tenderness with this drier cut of meat. Many find top sirloin a more economical option for grilling due to the reasonable price and flavor.
Skirt steak is an excellent steak for tacos and salads. You may have had this cut sliced thin overtop a fresh summer salad with strawberries or in a tasty stir fry. Skirt steak is a thinner, more lean cut of beef made of tough muscle fibers.
As far as flavorful grilled steak goes, this is one of the most delicious steak cuts due to the intense taste of beef. Outside skirt steak from the plate section is notably more flavorful than inside cuts.
Skirt steak should be cooked quickly in high heat to prevent flavor and moisture loss. A medium to medium-rare desired doneness is best for beef cuts of this size. Sear or grill this beef cut and simply cut against the grain to have a fairly tender, incredibly flavorful steak.
Ribeye is one of the highest quality steaks you can find at the local supermarket. Meat lovers rave about the flavor and moisture of the well-marbled meat. While you’ll mostly find bone-in ribeye, you can also get a boneless cut if you prefer.
Ribeye steak is one of the prime cuts frequently offered at upscale restaurants and is often referred to on the menu as a Tomahawk Steak. The ribeye has gained some serious status in steakhouses over the past couple of years.
Ribeye is an excellent steak for grilling, but finding exactly what thickness to purchase can be challenging. A local butcher can prepare your ribeye from ½ inch to over 2-inch thickness. You can also test out the delectable ribeye cap steak from the outer rim of a prime rib roast. Either way, rib steak on the grill is a tasty treat for everyone.
Strip steak goes by many names, such as New York Strip or Kansas City Steak. The strip cut is one of the top steaks for grilling due to its tender, well-marbled texture. Strip steak is taken from the short loin of the cow and is a leaner option for the grill.
As far as beef cuts go, this cut from the short loin is great for pan-searing, broiling, and grilling. Although you won’t find a bone in this cut of meat, the flavor still comes through effortlessly. Like the bone-in ribeye, you can find strip steaks in thickness from ½ inch to 2+ inches.
Porterhouse steaks come from the lower loin and consist of a strip steak on one side and a filet mignon cut on the other. If you haven’t already devoured this steak before, our first cooking tip is to go out and buy one, like right now. This is a generous cut of meat, so there’s no need for two with a cut this large and delicious.
This is a bone-in cut of beef. Pan-searing, broiling, and grilling are great options for cooking when you’re working with this cut, but we also recommend trying a reverse sear due to the size of the porterhouse.
The porterhouse is often confused with a t bone steak because they both include two cuts of meat on a bone. The t bone makes a t shape between each cutting, hence the name. This cut is the complete lean package and cooks beautifully, either grilled or broiled.
T bone steaks are smaller than the porterhouse, but a larger cut can still easily be enjoyed by two. These steaks are best cooked quickly over direct heat with olive oil and simple seasonings. The flavor is to die for, but achieving the same optimal tenderness can be difficult with two different types of meat on one bone.
The hanger steak cut is stellar, considering the price, marbling, and quality of taste. In fact, butcher’s love this particular steak and are known to save this cut for themselves. This steak is taken from the upper stomach and boasts a juicy and tender flavor.
Hanger steak is comparable to skirt steak and can be used for stir fry, fajitas, or any meals with a thinner cut of meat. If you’re a fan of marinating, this cut holds marinades well for enhanced flavor.
Steaks to Avoid for the Grill
The endless choices of prime meat cuts can be overwhelming. We want to help you get to grilling fast, so here’s a breakdown of steaks that you want to avoid putting on the grill at all costs.
Roasts such as rump, London broil, or chuck roasts are tougher in texture and could require several hours of cooking to achieve perfect flavor and tenderness. Brisket and short ribs are two other cuts that you should pass up in the grocery store if you’re set on grilling. Although, any of these cuts can be smoked without losing too much moisture.
Most of these cuts are best cooked low and slow in indirect heat, so placing these steaks on an open fire grill might not be the best choice. These steaks will quickly become tough in high heat, so we recommend a slow cooker or dutch oven for cooking.
Selecting a Steak for the Grill
If you’re looking for that one steak that meets the criteria for being the best beef cut for grilling, you have a couple to choose from. Whether you prefer bone-in or boneless, thin or thick cuts, or marbled or lean meats, selecting a steak comes down to preference.
The best cuts for easy grilling include ribeyes, ranch steak, top sirloin and sirloin cap, tenderloins, porterhouse, and t bones. Simplicity is key with these cuts that only require light seasoning and high heat. Any of these steaks are a great selection. Just keep in mind they tend to be more costly than other cuts.
Wanting something cheaper? Flank, flat iron, skirt, and hanger steaks are excellent choices for their budget value and compatibility with the grill. However, these steaks can be less flavorful and tender than ribeye and sirloin, so adding a tasty marinade to boost the flavor can go a long way.
Selecting the best cuts of meat for grilling doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you love the allure of a hot from the grill steak, we recommend making it simple with a ribeye, sirloin, filet mignon, or bone-in cut such as porterhouse. This way, you can save time and still sink your teeth into juicy, delicious meat.
That’s not to say that flanks, flat iron, skirt, or strip steaks won’t suffice. These are all excellent options for grilling that might require some extra care and attention. We encourage you to try different cuts from your local butcher or supermarket to find what works best with your taste and texture preference.