best steaks for grilling featured image

What Are The best Steaks To Grill | Our Expert Chef’s Answer The Question

When you think of food cooked on a grill, probably one of the first things you visualize in your mind is a thick, juicy steak along with the usual hamburgers and hot dogs. Steak just tastes fantastic when cooked on a grill.

However, if you shopped for a steak at the supermarket or visited your local butcher you know there are quite a few steak cuts to choose from. The experience can be daunting. So before you head to the grocery store or butcher shop, read our advice. We will tell you what cuts of steak are best, how you can tell a good cut from a bad one, and if the most expensive cuts are really worth the cost.

How To Grill Steak: 5 Tips Before You Start

Notwithstanding the cut you choose, there are a few across-the-board truths about grilling steak. Keep these tips in mind as you head out to your grill.

Bring the Steak to Room Temperature

To guarantee your steak cooks evenly and to the temperature you want it at, take the meat out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to place it on the grill. Letting the steak reach an even temperature throughout (instead of throwing it on the coals with a chilly interior) will make cooking it far easier.

Season the Meat Ahead of Time

While you’re at it, season your steak liberally when you take it out of the fridge. This will give the seasoning a chance to sink into the meat. (As a rule of thumb, one teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat.) If you want to take it further, you can actually season the steak as soon as you bring it home from the store or butcher and put it back in the fridge.

A Meat Thermometer Is a Must

The pros might be able to tell how done a steak is just by looking at it, but most backyard chefs can’t. An instant-read thermometer will make your steak a medium-rare beauty, or cook to perfection at whichever temperature you prefer.

Zone Your Grill

Whether charcoal or gas, you should dedicate one side of your grill to high heat and one that’s cool, either by leaving half the gas off or keeping all the coals to one side. This will allow you to sear the steaks on high heat and finish cooking them slowly to your ideal temperature.

Don’t Omit the Final Rest

You’ll want to give your steak a chance to rest after cooking. Refrain from slicing it for about five minutes to allow the juices to redistribute within the steak (instead of leaking onto your cutting board).

What To Look For in a Great Cut of Steak

Nothing can be quite as overwhelming as staring into a butcher case full of raw meat. Don’t panic, here are a few basic rules to remember.

Thicker Cuts Are Better for Grilling

Aim for about two inches thick (or greater) so you can get a flavorsome cut without overcooking the steak. (You can grill a thin cut, but it won’t have quite the same distinction between the interior and exterior.)

Fat Means Flavor

Instead of a lean piece of meat, you want a heavily marbled steak for grilling. When the steak hits the hot grill the fat will melt and release a bunch of flavor. (Just make sure the marbling is a true white color with no yellow or brown tint.)

Check the Color

When you’re looking for a nice, fresh, raw steak it should appear rich and pink in color or even a lighter red. But if it seems too dark or a very deep red, it may end up being tough to eat and on the bland side.

The Butcher Is the Go-To Person

The person selling you the steak is an expert resource and should not be disregarded. Let them know how many people you are serving, your cooking method, and even your prep work and they’ll guide you to a delicious and flavorful cut.

Top Steak Cuts for Grilling – In No Particular Order

Here comes the tough part-choosing the actual part of the cow. So many cuts are “just right” for grilling, and experienced pitmasters can grill just about any steak to delectable perfection. But there are a few we prefer over the others for an amazing steak experience, so we’re going to focus on our top picks.


Up there among the steak stars, the ribeye is considered by many to be the very best steak cut for grilling.

Sometimes labeled as Delmonico steaks, the ribeye is a favorite for grilling because it has extensive marbling and therefore huge amounts of flavor. Buy a thick steak and you won’t have to worry too much about overcooking it, since the fat will help it remain juicy.


One of the reasons the ribeye is great for the grill is because they can cook over intense flames and still remain juicy, thanks to the above mentioned fat content that keeps them tender. Make the most of your ribeye on the grill by searing it for a minute on each side over high heat, and then turn down the temperature (or move to a cooler temp if you divided your grill) until it’s cooked to your preference.


Because ribeyes have such intense marbling you should take extra care when cooking on a grill. The fat droppings can cause some intense flame flare ups if you’re not careful. Use a drip pan to catch the drippings or keep your steak away from flames. Still, the grill is the most popular way to cook a ribeye because the smoky flavor tends itself well to the juicy cut


T-Bone steak gets its name from the T-shaped bone that runs through the center. What’s not as obvious to many people is that the cut actually contains two different types of steak: a tenderloin and a strip steak. If you can’t make up your mind about what type of steak to grill, T-bone gives you two different flavors and textures in one convenient cut.


You can get two steaks in one with a T-bone which is quite a treat for any steak lover. T-bones pack a lot of flavor and stay nice and juicy when cooked correctly.


The T-bone is on the higher end of the price spectrum compared to other cuts. They’re also difficult to cook since there are two types of meat on a T-bone.

The best way to grill a T-bone is to sear it on high heat, and then allow it to finish cooking with indirect heat on the grill. The tenderloin cooks faster than the strip side since it has less fat, so it can help to keep the tenderloin side further away from the direct flame.


While often used interchangeably, the porterhouse and T-bone are technically different cuts. The porterhouse is thicker and cut from the back of the short loin and it contains more tenderloin meat in each steak.


Most porterhouses are up to three inches thick, giving you a large juicy cut with savory flavors. Because it has a larger tenderloin portion than T-bones (both in length and thickness) you’ll get more meat from this cut than from a T-bone.


Like the T-bone, porterhouses can be more expensive than other cuts and in most cases are even more per pound than T-bones. Similarly, porterhouses are tricky to cook until you gain some experience with them. But, if you’ve mastered a T-bone then you can master a porterhouse by cooking it the same way just a bit longer. Break out that meat thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of the two sections.

Filet Mignon

Filet Mignon is a steak you see typically at upscale restaurants rather than at more traditional steakhouses. That’s because this cut is considered a delicacy of the steak world. It doesn’t tend to have as much beefy flavor as other steaks that you’d normally consider grilling, like ribeye and strip steak, but it’s incredibly tender, butter-soft texture makes up for its more modest flavor.


The extreme tenderness coupled with the smoky char of the grill makes for a singular steak experience.


This cut is much thicker than others making it challenging to grill to the right temperature without overcooking the outside. A cook time of about 5 minutes on each side should do the trick, removing when it reaches 125 degrees F for medium-rare.

Filet mignon is costly. In fact, it’s usually the most expensive cut of steak. If you’re looking to purchase several pounds for a large cookout, filet mignon will put a bigger dent in your wallet than other cuts.

Top Sirloin

This steak isn’t as tender as some others, being that it comes from a very muscular area of the animal. But what it does have is some incredible rich flavors that you won’t find in other steaks.


Top sirloin is highly affordable compared to many other steaks, so it’s great for large cookouts. Still, it provides amazing beef flavor without a lot of fat, making it one of the most perfectly balanced steaks when cooked to the right temperature.


The top sirloin takes a little more time to cook than other cuts because it’s so muscular. You’ll usually find top sirloin cut between one and two inches thick. One-inch cuts take about 8-12 minutes and a cut closer to two inches could take more in the 15 to 18 minute range. There’s also little marbling in the top sirloin so it can turn tough easily, even if it’s only slightly overdone.

Strip Steak

The strip steak is a cut of beef that comes from the short loin of the animal, right behind the rib area. Also known as a New York Strip (when it’s boneless), or Kansas City Strip (when it’s bone in), strip steak has a strong, beefy flavor and decent marbling. It has a relatively tender texture but retains a bit of a chew.


Strip steak is more affordable than most other steak cuts like T-bone, porterhouse, filet mignon, and ribeye. It’s a versatile cut, working equally well on the grill, in a skillet, or in the oven. Err on the rare side, since a strip steak has slightly less fat than a ribeye.


It can be a bit tricky learning how to choose the right strip. Since the short loin is such a large area, it contains more tender meat towards the rib and some tougher portions toward the loin area. The best practice is to look for strip steaks that are relatively straight rather than curved or hook shaped. Straight portions tend to come from the area closer to the ribs, which are usually more tender and more marbled.

Flank Steak

This lean, inexpensive cut comes from the abdominal section of the cow and it tends to run on the chewier side.


Flank steak is great for feeding crowds, 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 lean nature of flank steak is good news for those watching fat, but it can also make it challenging to cook. Cook it a bit too long and you’ll end up with a chewy texture that doesn’t taste too great either.

A Few Other Cuts You Might Encounter at the Supermarket or Butcher Shop

Short Ribs

They’re better known for slow cooking methods like braising, but short ribs are a great steak for grilling, too. They’re marbled like ribeye with a ton of flavor, and a thick meaty texture (not to mention great affordability).


This super flavorful cut of beef rivals ribeye in marbling and flavor, but it’s much less expensive. It’s also very tender as long as you don’t overcook it.

image of tomahawk steak


A tomahawk steak is just a ribeye with the bone still attached. It is well-marbled with a lot of flavor and usually large enough to feed a few people.

Flat Iron

Flat iron steaks, sometimes known as top blade steaks, come from the beef chuck (or cow shoulder). It’s a super tender and fattier cut which makes it ideal for grilling.

Not a Steak Master Yet? Dine at WiseGuys Instead!

If you follow our guide to the best steak cuts and the preparation tips, yet still find your steaks falling short of expectations, don’t despair. It takes many years to master the art of the perfect steak.

In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to get your steak on without the prep or clean up.

Visit WiseGuys and our chefs will render you speechless with our expertly prepared prime steaks. See you soon!

Similar Posts