How do you keep steak from drying out on the grill? I can remember the first time that I had to grill a steak I was scared for dead and didn’t know what to do. After grilling more than 1000 steaks I definitely have the art mastered! But a good guide for grilling or cooking a steak is hard to find so I wanted to give you an in-depth guide on how to grill/cook a steak.
Practice makes perfect!
What are the different cuts of beef best for grilling?
Strip Steak (New York Strip) is actually the top loin and comes from the top of the short loin primal. This is quite possibly the most popular steak among steak connoisseurs. It is quite tender and has just enough marbling to ensure both juiciness and flavor.
T-Bone and Porterhouse.
Both of these steaks consist of a T-shaped bone with meat on each side. On the one side (larger side) you have a strip steak which we discussed in the previous paragraph.
The other side consists of the tenderloin cut. The only difference between a T-Bone and Porterhouse is the size of the tenderloin portion of the steak. Porterhouse steaks are cut from the rear section on the short loin and thus have a larger tenderloin.
The ribeye steak is another favorite among steak lovers. It is cut from the rib section and boasts a lot of fat marbling and is quite tender. It is actually one of the juiciest steaks you can buy, but also one of the most expensive.
Beef tenderloin is cut from the loin area and is known for it’s tenderness. They are sometimes referred to as filet mignon and can be purchased as individual cuts or as a tenderloin roast. Although very tender, the filet is usually not as juicy as a ribeye or strip steak due to the fact that it has less fat marbling.
Top sirloin steaks are one of the more affordable options if you’re wanting something on the tender side. While not as tender or juicy as a strip steak they can still be quite delicious when properly prepared.
Chuck Eye Steak.
The chuck eye is a close cousin to the ribeye, but isn’t quite as tender or juicy and will tend to dry out faster. If you want a good steak for a tight budget then this one would be a great choice.
Steaks best to Avoid for grilling:
Here’s a list of steaks to avoid if you’re looking for something tender:
- Round Steak (Eye of round, bottom round, full cut round)
- Chuck Shoulder
- Chuck 7-bone
- Chuck Arm
- Chuck Blade
7 Tips for Grilling a tender and juicy Steak.
1. Choose the right steak cut.
There are a number of different options when it comes to meat and one of the best Tips for Grilling Steak is to pick the right cut. The ideal choice is a thick steak that is well marbled. A well-marbled steak has some fat throughout the meat that makes it juicier and gives it a richer flavor.
2. Keep the seasoning simple.
Use coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to season your meat. You can also add granulated garlic. Other steaks need rubs and different kinds of flavorings such as soy sauce and herbs but it’s best to just keep it simple when it comes to seasoning your steaks.
Make sure to let the meat reach room temperature before placing it on the grill.
4. Oil the grill grates.
Lightly oil the grates to keep the meat from sticking when you start cooking.
5. Pre-heat the grill.
If you are using a charcoal grill, you need to build a fire using briquettes. It cooks faster but it is easier to control the heat and it doesn’t require building a fire if you’re using a gas grill.
6. Cooking time
Cooking time depends on how thick and how big your steak is so make sure to pay constant attention to your meat. Avoid flipping the meat too many times and do not use a fork to check if the steak is done. To test for doneness, try using the touch test.
If you want the meat to be rare, it should feel spongy. If you want it medium rare, the meat should be firm and quickly snap back when you press it. A well-done steak should be very firm.
7. Let it sit.
This is the most important one! When the steak has reached your desired doneness, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving it. This leaves room for the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
Tools and ingredients you’ll need
How To Choose The Right Steak
Shopping for steak at the supermarket can be a perplexing experience. From the wide variety of cuts, the different prices and grades of beef, not to mention the look of the meat itself, can all contribute to confusion.
Knowing more about the beef you’re about to buy can help to eliminate that confusion.
Grading of beef
First, we must know the difference between the different grades of meat.
In the U.S. meat is graded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or U.S.D.A. for short. Here are the grades:
- PRIME: Only a small percentage of meat is graded prime and generally, you will not find it in the supermarket. It’s usually sold to top restaurants. No need to wonder anymore why that steak at that 5 star restaurant is so expensive.
- CHOICE: Essentially, the medium grade and usually it too cannot be found in supermarkets.
- SELECT: The lowest category, this grade usually makes it to the supermarket shelves.
How to choose the best?
If all supermarket beef is the lesser grade, how do you purchase the best you can find in the case? Two words: marbling and cut.
- First, look for marbling. Marbling is the fat veins running through the meat. The more marbling the better. The less marbling, the leaner the cut and therefore, less juicy it will be.
- Second, choose the correct cut. Knowing which cuts of meat are generally tough, and which are usually tender is essential in knowing how to pick the best.
Tender cuts of meat:
- Filet (also known as filet mignon)
- Top Sirloin
- Rib Eye
Tougher cut of meat:
- Top Round
- Bottom Round
- Chuck Steak Or Roast
- Hanger Steak
- Flank Steak
So, the best you can do in the supermarket is choose your meat based on marbling and type of cut you desire based on your needs.
A better option, if you have the opportunity, is to go to your local butcher. They can be a huge wealth of information, and will often cut your meat to order. Personal service will go a long way to helping you get the best tasting and best cut of meat possible.