Beef cuts for the grill

steak on grill

Beef is a go-to for many, especially at dinnertime.

When daylight lengthens and the weather turns warmer in spring and early summer, we take to the grill. There’s something about being able to spend time outdoors while cooking your food that makes spring and summer such wonderful seasons.

Whether you use a gas or charcoal grill, ground beef, steaks, roasts, ribs and kabobs are all great for grilling, but there are specific cuts you should buy for grilling.

Beef cuts to grill

When you’re in the grocery store, pay attention to details in the meat section before buying.

According to Ohio State University CFAES, the best beef cuts for grilling are located between the round and the chuck, also known as the “middle meats” (You can brush up on your beef cut knowledge here). These cuts typically have a lot of marbling, which are the white flecks, or fat, you see throughout cuts of meat. The meat’s tenderness, juiciness and flavor come from the fat. The more marbling, the more tender, juicy and flavorful the meat will be.

The following beef cuts, all from the rib, short loin and sirloin, are recommended for grilling:


Safe summer grilling (infographic)

Here’s the scoop on grilling safety

  • Bone-in ribeye steaks
  • Boneless ribeye steaks
  • Back ribs
  • Strip steak
  • Porterhouse steak
  • Top sirloin
  • Tenderloin

How to cook beef on the grill

steak on grillHere are some tips for grilling steaks:

  • Marinate beef before grilling.
  • Allow the meat to cool after it’s done cooking. This allows the juices to settle.
  • Cut meat against the grain. This results in less chewy pieces.

Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has more information about all beef cuts, including recommendations for cooking methods and desired beef features, on it’s Interactive Butcher Counter.

Plus, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have a handy infographic that breaks down three steps to grilling beef that beginners can easily master.

How to marinate beef

If you’re going to grill a more tender steak, like a ribeye or T-bone, marinate steaks for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Marinades for tender cuts are used for flavor, so use herbs, spices and oils in these marinades.

Cuts like top round can be marinated for 6 hours or up to an entire day to tenderize them. Tenderizing marinades can include lemon juice, yogurt or another acidic ingredient or natural tenderizing enzymes like those found in ginger or pineapple.

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association offers three flavor-enhancing marinades —  balsamic mustard, Argentinian and lime-jalapeno — and two tenderizing marinades — ginger-soy and chili-cilantro — here.

Sources: OSU CFAES, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

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