You have just purchased the outdoor grill of your dreams, and now you're ready to break it in. Your mouth is watering for a juicy steak, and you are anxious to impress all your friends and family with your new barbeque and grilling skills. But do you know what the best grilling steaks are to use? You may have the perfect marinade in mind, as well as your own special blend of seasonings. Choosing the right type of meat is just as important as the type of flavoring you use.
While so much of steak grilling is subject to individual taste palates, some steaks lend themselves very well to barbequing endeavors. There are a number of factors to keep in mind when choosing cuts of beef for grilling. For example, one aspect to consider is the amount of marbling on the steak (i.e. how much fat the beef has running through it). While many people insist on avoiding the fat, it is actually this fat that contributes significantly to the flavor of the beef when its cooking. Some people instinctively choose top sirloin, because it is leaner and tends to be less expensive. However, because of its low fat content, sirloin steaks tend to also dry out faster and be less juicy, as well as a little tougher. On the other hand, porterhouse, T-bone, rib eye and rib steaks will have a healthy amount of fat, which will make the steak especially appetizing when grilled. In addition, the marbling on a steak helps to insulate the meat and keep it from overcooking.
In general, the most tender steaks available are tenderloin and strip (also called New York) steaks. But porterhouse and rib eye steaks can also be quite tender and flavorful, which means that you can have great-tasting grilled steaks for your guests without breaking the bank. Keep in mind that porterhouse steaks are especially flavorful, not only because of the level of fat, but because they also have a section of tenderloin on one side of the bone and a section of strip steak on the other side.
Another factor to keep in mind is the type of grade of the beef you are buying. The U.S. Department of Agriculture assigns specific grades to meat according the level of quality of the beef. Prime grades are considered the best, but these are widely used by restaurants and tend be bit a little harder to find in the average grocery store. However, many supermarkets have begun carrying some cuts of prime beef in small amounts, and you may be able to secure prime cuts from a local butcher as well. These cuts are a bit more expensive. They tend to have to most marbling in them, making them especially juicy. Alternatively, Choice grade steaks are great for grilling, as they still have a generous amount of marbling in them. Select grade beef will tend to be the least tender, they can dry out quickly, particularly if you are relatively inexperienced with your grill.
The thickness of the steak you choose will also determine the kind of results you will get when using the steak on a grill. A relatively thick steak will help to keep the meat from drying out too quickly or overcooking. As a guideline, you should always choose steaks that are at least a 1/2 inch thick. Ideally, you should shoot for steaks that are about one inch to an inch and a half. Finally, you should know how long the steaks have been aged. Beef cuts that have undergone some degree of aging are likely to have characteristics that is more tenderized and mellowed in flavor. Whenever possible, ask your butcher about the age of the steaks you intend to purchase.
Overall, it pays to know your cuts of beef and the quality of the beef. The more information you have about the steaks you intend to grill, the more effective choices you can make and your cookout guests will love you for it!
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