Anyone who loves to BBQ could probably tell you their favorite cut of steak at the drop of a dime. While we all have been getting outdoors more often, more people are getting into the art of BBQ’ing. But if you are new to BBQ, you may be wondering what the best cut of steak might be.
Grilling out has been a popular pastime around the world. By learning more about different cuts of steak and what makes them so good, you’ll up your grill game and be a hit at your next BBQ.
What to Look for in a Great Cut of Steak
Every cut of steak will bring different elements of flavor, texture, and tenderness. Most of the best-tasting steaks have a good mix of fat and lean.
If you are looking to keep it healthy, a leaner cut will be better. But if you’re going for pure taste, some of that extra fat packs a lot of flavors. But there are three things you always want to check, no matter how lean or fatty your cut.
When you’re looking for a nice, fresh, raw steak, it should appear a rich pink color. Or even a lighter red. But if it seems too dark or a very deep red, it may end up being tough to eat and on the bland side.
You never want too much moisture. If it is sticky or too moist, it won’t be good. But make sure it isn’t bone dry, either. A little bit of moisture is key.
Like the moisture of a steak, there is a perfect happy medium to be found with the marbling. There would be a steady white fat coursing through the steak. Too much or too little can affect the taste and quality. And you want to be sure it is a true white color with no yellow or brown tint.
Top sirloin is cut from sirloin subprimal. The section is divided into two, and this is cut from the top. It has become a wildly popular steak for grilling, as it is very flavorful on its own without needing a lot of additions.
It is naturally lean, marinates well, and is also an affordable cut. The texture is nice and firm but not too tough. This area of the cow gets a lot of exercise, making it high in protein and lower in fat, but still offers a very robust flavor.
The strip steak is understandably one of the most popular cuts. It is arguably the most tender, if not one of the most tender, cuts there are. It is cut from the loin primal, which is just below the backbone.
It is also known as the New York Strip due to its origins, becoming famous around the notorious steak joints throughout New York. Butchers are known to love this cut just as much as their customers. It is a medium texture, and it’s packed with an intense beefy flavor.
Also known as the Delmonico or the Scotch fillet, the ribeye is very tender and offers a unique buttery flavor. If you love a good, juicy steak, then a ribeye will be a winning cut for you.
The ribeye is carved out of the beef rib. It is known for unique marbling due to additional fat that is normal to accumulate in this part of the animal. The intramuscular fat creates beautiful lines and robust flavor in this cut. The marbling settles into the steak as it sits on the grill and adds amazing flavor and juiciness.
While this may be considered one of the “fancier” steaks, filet Mignon can still be tossed onto the grill for an amazing BBQ’ed steak. It’s known for its tenderness and mild flavor. If you have a special occasion coming up, a filet mignon is a great option.
The filet mignon comes from the loin primal. It does tend to be on the pricier end of steaks because it comes from a part of the animal that only takes up about 2-3%. Because of its rarity, the price tag gets a little higher. But if you’re looking for an incredibly fork-tender steak, it is well worth the money.
The flat iron is cut from the beef chuck primal. It is unique as it is cut lengthwise rather than crosswise. This cut has beautiful marbling, and it is impeccably tender. The cutting method helps aid in its tenderness by removing connective tissue.
It is filled with flavor, and while it also makes for a great roast, it is a favorite among BBQ’ers. Because it comes from the shoulder area, it gets a lot of exercise, making it a fairly lean cut.
The porterhouse is commonly mistaken for the T-Bone. They do share some similarities, but the porterhouse is carved out of the short loin on the rear end. It offers a delicious, beefy flavor that combines tastes from the loin and the fillet.
It is a very tender area, giving it great texture and a tender cut. It is slightly leaner than the T-Bone but is not considered one of the leaner cuts overall.
The T-Bone comes from the short loin as well. The T-shaped bone that gives it its name separates two pieces from the lumbar. It offers both texture and flavor from the tenderloin, and strip steak rolled into one massive cut of beef.
A T-bone is a great steak to toss on the grill, and it doesn’t need a lot of attention or additional spices. Basic grilling goes a long way with this flavorful cut.
The skirt steak is known for the flavor over the texture. It is not considered tender, but it is loaded with savory flavor. It is a long, flat cut that often gets confused with a flank steak. They both come from the rear and appear similar, but the skirt is firmer than a flank cut.
Because it is thin, it benefits from fast, hot cooking. So, tossing it onto a scolding grill will make for a delicious meal. It comes from the steer’s short plate area, and you can typically notice a visible grain in this long cut.
Tenderloin cuts are known for being lean, long, narrow, and incredibly tender. It is carved out from the loin and also serves as a component for T-bone and Porterhouse steaks. Tenderloin is another cut that benefits from hot and fast cooking, making it a favorite for the BBQ.
It has become one of the most popular cuts because of its tender juiciness, and therefore, the price tag gets a little higher on these cuts.
What To Serve as a Side
Steak is a classic for a reason. It’s easy to dress up or leave plain, depending on the event. Some of the best sides for steak include:
- Roasted veggies
- Grilled veggies
- Mashed potatoes
- French fries
- Sweet potatoes
- Macaroni and cheese
The Best Steaks for Your BBQ
Finding the best steak to toss on the grill will depend on your preference. Whether you enjoy a nice tender juicy steak or something more firm with a rich texture, you will find some great options within this list.
Try out some different options and see where your tastebuds lead you. Any of these cuts will make for a perfect day out on the grill. Paired with the right sides, steak can really make a meal memorable.