Some of our guests ask us what is the best steak for grilling. The truth is that the answer is a very personal choice and it varies. It all depends on what you are craving on that day. Sometimes we crave a big juicy ribeye, other times, we are in the mood for fajitas. However, there are days that we want a fine piece of tenderloin.
I will do some comparisons here to help you navigate through your choices.
First let’s talk about grades. Prime is the highest grade given by the USDA and only 3-5% of the entire beef market (depending on the year) gets that grade. Prime has an abundance of marbling and this lends itself to a great flavor and tenderness. Premium Choice is the next closest option in richness of marbling.
Some of these steaks can be roasts over the winter, the difference lies in the size. A Rib roast becomes Ribeye steaks, the Tenderloin roast (Filet Mignon) becomes filets, etc.
Is Tenderloin the best steak?
Tenderloin, also known as Filet Mignon is as its name states the most tender steak, because it comes from an under exercised muscle of the steer. It is lean yet slices like butter. It is very elegant but also delicious and can be grilled, or seared and finished in the oven. Now, the “best” steak is really a personal preference and while some people might love filets, others might prefer a Strip or a Ribeye. Our goal here is to give you an overall view of the main differences between steaks so you can feel prepared to try them and know what to expect.
Ribeye (aka Delmonico) vs Strip (aka Shell) Steak.
Both steaks come from the short loin, which is a part of the steer that does little work, thus yielding tenderness. Ribeye is more marbled than the Strip steak. It is also very tender & juicy. Strip steak is a denser cut of meat with intense beef flavor. Some people love Strip because it cooks and slices more evenly than a Ribeye. However, there are Ribeye fans that just can’t imagine having anything else for dinner other than their juicy Ribeye steak.
Strip steak can be grilled on direct heat while Ribeye steak is better off seared first and then grilled under indirect heat to avoid flare ups due to the rich marbling.
Bone-In or Boneless?
While having the bone attached to the steak gives great flavor, it will take longer to grill. It is once again a personal preference. Cowboy steaks (bone-in Ribeye) have a great following of people that would not have it any other way.
Porterhouse vs T-Bone
These steaks come from the same loin, they both have the bone attached and both have a Strip on one side and a filet (Tenderloin) on the other side. At a glance might look almost the same. The difference is that the Porterhouse has a bigger filet piece (at least ½ inch wide) than the T-Bone. Many people like to share this steak and prefer to buy a Porterhouse since the filet portion is bigger. However, when doing this they sacrifice a little in the size of the strip.
Here’s a grilling guide based on thickness of the steak.
Petite Sirloin / Picanha
Petite sirloin is the favorite of many people. It’s lean, dense, rich in flavor, grills evenly and is tender enough to gain everyone’s approval. It’s also more affordable than the previous steaks. Picanha is the Latin term that comes from the top sirloin area (back of the steer), many people with Brazilian heritage use it for the “asado”. These are leaner steaks, meaning they are less marbled than a Strip steak or Ribeye yet provide a great flavor and many people love their rich density. An 8oz Petite Sirloin is extremely satisfying.
Skirt vs Flank vs Hanger steak
Of the three, Flank is the leanest. Skirt and Hanger have more intense marbling. Skirt however, is a thinner steak (never more than ¾ inch thick), so it grills faster. People tend to marinate Flank more than the other two steaks. Skirt steak comes from the plate (or “skirt” part of the steer). Flank is closer to the leg so it is a more exercised muscle, thus leaner. All are great sliced against the grain and served as fajitas or over a bed of greens.
Hanger steak is loved by many because of its complex texture and rich flavor. There is only one hanger per steer (animal). It is thicker than Skirt steak but not lean like Flank. It used to be called butcher’s cut because butchers liked it so much they would keep it for themselves.
If you need more details on different cooking methods, which vegetables pair well with each steak or which sauces/salsa is a good fit for your dinner, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So what will you grill tonight? The answer is: what are you in the mood for today?