By Danial Williams
There is nothing quite like a good, juicy steak cooked on a grill. But many people don't know the secrets to grilling such as the best cuts to use, what size they should be, how long to cook the steaks, and what marinades to use.
Choosing the correct cut of meat is very important when grilling. Some of the best steaks for grilling are the premium cuts such as:
- Filet Mignon
The filet mignon is a stylish cut taken from the heart of the beef tenderloin that has outstanding taste as well as texture. It is considered the best cut and when done right should cut like warm butter.
- Top Sirloin
The top sirloin is a juicy cut taken from the center of the sirloin - the tenderest part - and a great cut for grilling. This is typically a very lean cut and cost effective for grilling any night of the week.
The t-bone is a succulent cut that is a favorite of steak fans. It is both a strip sirloin (with the bone) and a tender filet mignon. It has a good amount of fat that keeps it moist while the tenderloin keeps it tender and adds a ton of flavor. It also has the bone that lends itself to grabbing and flipping the cut so you do not puncture the meat and let the juice out.
- New York Strip (sometimes known as Kansas City Strip)
The New York strip is such an excellent cut for grilling, many grilling experts refer to it as the "ultimate" steak for cooking out. It's not the most tender steak – one of the reasons people love it is for its great bite and solid chew. The rich marbling inherent in this steak creates the robust flavor and a delicious eating experience.
The Porterhouse is a very large steak that is actually a combination of two steaks: the New York strip on one side and a tender filet on the other. It delivers a mouthwatering combination of tender, succulent filet mignon and rich, flavorful New York strip. As a meal, the size of a porterhouse steak is unrivaled, and many steak lovers find it easily feeds two people.
- Rib Eye
Another classic cut, the rib eye has marbling throughout the meat - making it one of the juiciest cuts as well as very tender. These ultra-flavorful steaks are essentially individually cut prime rib roasts, and they come from the cow's upper rib area. Ribeyes are super fatty, which allows them to retain their juiciness even when cooked over very high heat.
The thickness of the steak is very important. Each cut should be between 1 inch and 1 ½ inches thick. The strip steaks and top sirloin should be a little less expensive than the filet mignon, t-bone, porterhouse, and rib eye.
Many people like to marinate their steaks before cooking. Depending on the flavor and spice level you are going for, you can use any one of our sauces as a marinade. If you take the Sweet and Smokey sauce and add some Italian dressing to it, you will get this rich flavor that also tenderizes the meat. If you take the Sweet Heat and add some peach jelly, oil, and coffee you will get an amazing array of flavors mixed with a little heat. It’s not enough heat to hurt, just enough to let you know it’s there and enhance to meat. If you use the Bourby and add some olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, mustard, rosemary, you end up with an aromatic, sweet and spicy flavor profile that will make you wonder why you haven’t done this before. The flavor world is wide open, and you can add any combination you want. Play with different marinades and make them your own. No matter what you choose, just remember to marinate overnight covered in the fridge.
If you are not into a marinade, as many people prefer to use a rub on their steaks, you can do that as well. A rub is a combination of spice and herbs that is rubbed on the meat about an hour before grilling. It adds a great flavor to the meat but is quicker than marinade as it does not require the overnight soaking. I will say though that I will add a dry rub onto my pork butt, ribs, and briskets the night before and let them rest covered in the fridge overnight. An excellent rub that will give your steaks a smoky flavor is our Spice of Life. It has a great balance between sweet, smoky and heat. It is great on anything you put it on, including fries and popcorn. If you use a rub, be sure to rub the mixture into the cut of meat, not just dab it across the top.
There are other options for cooking steaks other than marinades and rubs. Many times, filet mignons are served wrapped in bacon (held on by a skewer) or you can cut your steak and combine it on a skewer with vegetables like peppers, squash, and onion to make a shish kabob.
Coat your grill with non-stick kitchen spray before you begin to keep your steaks from sticking to the grill. Preheat your grill before placing your steaks on. Resist the temptation to put your steaks on before the grill is properly preheated. The proper temperature for grilling steaks should be around 400-500 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim any excess fat from the side of the cut to prevent flare-ups and curling when grilling.
You should only turn your steaks once on each side to prevent drying them out. How long you will cook your steak depends on how well you want it cooked. You can use a grilling fork with a digital thermometer to see how well done your steak is. If you want your steak rare, the temperature should be no more than 130 degrees when done. If you want medium, the temperature should be no more than 140 degrees when done. Finally, if you want well done, (that is sacrilege), you should have a temperature of at least 160 degrees.
After grilling your steak, allow it to set for five minutes before serving to let the juices settle. Serve with a baked potato, salad or another side dish and enjoy!
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