10 Best Types of Steak for Grilling – If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about grilling steaks, it’s Ree Drummond and her husband Ladd. You’ll often find Ree in the kitchen prepping the marinade or the BBQ sides while her hubby gets ready to fire up the grill. (Talk about the ultimate duo!) “Any time Ladd has cooked for me, he has made steak,” Ree says, “He’ll take a saucepan out to the grill, melt butter, and brush it onto the steaks with salt and pepper. Doesn’t get any better!”
But what types of steak does The Pioneer Woman grill? For the juiciest, most drool-worthy steaks around, we’ve rounded up a list of the best steaks for grilling. As any grill master will tell you, different cuts of beef will give you different results in the end: If you want big, beefy flavor, look for steaks with more marbled fat (like rib-eyes); Leaner cuts on the other hand (like flank steak) are great for marinades or sauces as they tend to be more mild in flavor. While some of these steaks are great for celebrations like Father’s Day dinner or the 4th of July, others are simply perfect for a weeknight summer menu. In fact, whether you have a big budget to spend or you’re looking for some affordable options, this list includes options for all kinds of steak.
So before you head to the butcher, read on for our shopping tips (and a few helpful hints on how to season your steak), then grab your grilling tools and check out our best steak recipes!
Flat iron steaks, sometimes known as top blade steaks, comes from the beef chuck (or cow shoulder). It’s a super tender and fattier cut which makes it ideal for grilling. You’ll always get a juicy steak with this cut of beef! The best part? It’s often more affordable than some other cuts of steak.
A cowboy steak is essentially just an extra-thick, bone-in ribeye, but it stands out for the way that it’s butchered which is a method called “frenched.” The bone is exposed creating a look that’s supremely impressive and fit for a cowboy! Just like ribeyes, cowboy steaks are well marbled and super flavorful, but for a little extra flair, try our Cowboy Steak recipe with herbed ranch butter!
The affordable chuck eye steak comes from the shoulder bone area of the cow, specifically the area closest to the rib-eye—meaning chuck eye and rib-eye steaks have a similar marbled fattiness. In fact, chuck eye has been called the “poor man’s rib-eye”! Most chuck cuts have lots of connective tissue, which makes them best for stewing or braising, but the chuck eye steak is the exception: A blast of heat from the grill is all you need.
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Filet Mignon (aka Beef Tenderloin)
This steak is so tender, you could slice it with a butter knife! It comes from the short loin of the animal, which doesn’t get much of a workout. The “tenderloin” is the whole cut in its roast form, and “filet mignon” is the tenderloin sliced into steaks. Though beloved for its tender chew, filet mignon isn’t known for having that big, beefy flavor—it doesn’t have the same fat marbling found in other flavorful cuts such as the rib-eye or strip steak. However, it’s the perfect candidate for sauces and other flavorful seasonings—and Ladd’s grilled tenderloin is the stuff of legends!
Flank (aka Bavette or London Broil)
This lean, inexpensive cut comes from the abdominal section of the cow, and it tends to run on the chewier side. However, flank steak is great for feeding a crowd, and it lends itself well to a good marinade. Be sure to thinly slice it against the grain to break down the chewy connective tissue.
The king of all steaks, the porterhouse is a hefty cross-sectional cut that’s made up of both the tenderloin and the strip steak. It’s undeniably a special-occasion steak that’s full of flavor and made for the grill: Sear it over direct heat first, then move to indirect heat to finish cooking. Keep things simple when you season this prized (and pricey!) steak—you don’t want to hide its natural, beefy flavor.
This pricey cut is known for full-on flavor, thanks to the marbled fat running throughout. Its name says it all: Rib-eye steak comes from the rib area, and it’s often considered the “steak lovers’ cut.” Beyond a little salt and pepper, the rib-eye doesn’t need much to taste great, but Ree’s lemon-pepper grilled rib-eyes are delicious, too. Just keep an eye on the grill for flare-ups that may result as the fat melts and cooks off.
Similar to flank steak, skirt steak is another flavorful, flat cut of beef that comes from the abdominal area of the steer (more specifically from the diaphragm). A marinade works wonders here, as does thinly slicing the grilled steak against the grain: This will sever any chewy connective tissues and make for a more tender bite.
Strip (aka New York Strip)
This steak is a prized part of the short loin, which is the area of the steer that produces the most expensive and most flavorful cuts. Known for its marbled fat and full, beefy flavor, the strip steak is a good example of how some steaks have more of a chew without being tough. This steak isn’t as tender as the filet mignon, but it has a nice firm bite and rich flavor. Simple seasoning and a quick, solid sear on both sides are all that’s really needed.
The T-bone steak is the little sibling to the bigger porterhouse steak. The same two steaks-in-one make up this cut, only it’s a smaller version overall. And the same rules apply: Keep the seasonings simple to let the flavor shine, and hit it with hot, direct heat before moving it over to indirect heat.