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The best steak cuts for grilling: These are real crowd-pleasers

The best cuts for steak grilling season

Sliced steak
JESUSGONZ_/Pixabay / Pixabay

Summer is upon us, which translates most cleanly to warm weather, cool soaks, and plenty of grilling. Many of your favorite summer recipes likely involve beef, but what cuts are the best?

This grilling season, do steak right by getting your paws on the very best cuts. You’ve probably heard of most of these, but we’re here to shed some additional light on why they’re the top selections when cooking over a flame. Some offer an ideal balance of meat and fat, while others deliver unmatched texture. These steak styles are just waiting to be treated to your secret spice blend or signature marinade. Just know that the meat is often so good on its own that you’ll need little more than salt and pepper to eat like a king.

Read on for the best steak cuts for grilling.


Raw ribeye steak
ReinhardThrainer/Pixabay / Pixabay

A classy workhorse of a steak, ribeye is both tender and packed with flavor and tends to grill well, thanks to a decent amount of marbling. The steak comes from the rib area of the cow, usually between the sixth and 12th ribs. Considered one of the nine primal cuts, this style is beloved by many and easy to acquire from your butcher or grocery store. Ribeye can come with or without bone and grills gorgeously, thanks to the aforementioned fat content.

Filet Mignon

Filet mignon steak
GMVozd / Getty Images

If steaks could drive, you’d likely catch filet mignon behind the wheel of a Rolls Royce. This luxurious cut can be seared to wondrous results. A selection of choice meat along the cow’s spine, this cut is buttery, soft and impossibly tender. Much of that glorious makeup is due to the fact that filet mignon comes with very little connective tissue while delivering bold beef flavors. You’ll lock down some serious presentation points as filet mignon is easily one of the most eye-catching steaks out there. Keep the thickness in mind as you grill this decadent steak.


Flank steak / Flickr

A long, underrated cut, flank steak grills up with ease, pulled from the abdominal muscles of the cow near the rear quarter. Fans of chewy, full-flavored beef will love this option. The consistency of the meat holds marinades exceptionally well, and cutting with the grain can afford appetizing thin strips of meat. A good marinade will also soften flank steak up a bit, which is a bonus given that the cut can be a bit tough (you can also tenderize with a mallet). Lean and mean flank steak is at your service.

New York strip

New York strip steak slices on a plate
Yelena Strokin / Getty Images

A New York strip is another classic, pulled from the short loin region of the animal. Cows don’t use this muscle a whole lot, meaning that it’s quite tender. The cut also offers a signature fatty edge, which sears beautifully on the grill. Delmonico’s is believed to have coined the cut way back in 1837 upon opening in the Financial District of NYC. You may have also heard this option referred to as ambassador steak, strip loin steak, or Omaha strip.


Snake River Farms Tomahawk Steaks
Snake River Farms

The tomahawk checks all of the boxes. It comes with an eye-catching and lengthy bone, satisfying Flinstones fans and meat-lovers alike. There’s plenty of tasty marbling, and the thickness of the steak is impressive. The cut comes from the rib (including that bone) and offers enough meat to serve at least two. You’ll want a longer sear on both sides, and while there’s really no wrong way to cook this beast, we love a tomahawk steak over a coal-fired grill.

The above steaks are standout options, but don’t stop there. Chat up your local meat department staffer and see what they recommend. Sometimes, they’ll have some interesting options, perhaps not even advertised, or a lesser-known cut from a particularly good animal. And if you need some added inspiration, pop into your favorite steakhouse and see what they’re working with.

As always, be judicious when dealing with raw meat and be careful not to overcook your steak. Consider pairing options like twice-baked potatoes and grilled vegetables or a chewy red wine like Barbera or Cabernet Sauvignon. And when you’ve nailed your technique on of these cuts, up the portions and throw a proper summertime dinner soiree.

While we’re obsessing over all things grilled, check out some of our favorite grill and smoker recipes, as well as healthy grilling ideas, as we can only eat so much red meat. And don’t forget about grilling safety tips as you operate around all that combustible material.

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Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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