Seriously, anyone can cook a plate of hot dogs and hamburgers, but a true grill master should be able to brown and cook a beautiful steak to juicy perfection.
But, before that happens, you must know the basics to help hone your technique, choose the right cut for the food, and know where the cow comes from. In this article, we'll focus on the top four cuts of meat, what they bring to the table, and how to cook them like a pro.
Premium cuts of meat are the most tender parts of the cow, cut from the muscle used less frequently during the life of the animal, the long dorsal that runs the length of the spine, outside the ribs. From here, you'll get the ribeye, the strip and the T bone.
The largest of these high-end cuts comes from the Psoas Major that runs along the ox's backbone and into the ribs, facing the longissimus dorsi. This is known as the tenderloin or filet mignon and is generally the most expensive item on any restaurant menu.
Now that you have a rough idea of where the cuts come from, let's take a look at them and start with them individually:
The Strip Steak
Other names: New York Strip, Top Sirloin
Where it comes from: longissimus dorsi, near the back of the ox on the short loin.
Taste: Minimal pockets of fat, with uniform and moderate marbling. Little to trim makes preparation quick and easy, and the roast is smooth and direct compared to ribeye and t-bone. There is some chewing and the tenderness is moderate.
Grill Notes: This is easy on the grill, the lower fat content reduces flare-ups and a constant cook without burning is more feasible for the beginner. Less is more here, cook over high and direct heat to seal the juices and prevent the meat from drying out. You will know that the grill is hot enough by holding your hand 2 inches above the grill; You should be able to hold it in place for no more than 5 seconds.
Other names: Delmonico Steak, Scotch Filet, Spencer Steak, Entrecote.
Where it comes from: longissimus dorsi, near the front end of the primary rib.
Flavor: This cutie has maximum grain and an important piece of fat that separates the longissimus dorsi and the spinal. The fat content provides the classic beef flavor. The "Eye" of the meat is the most tender with a quite fine grain and a softer texture.
Grill Notes: The Ribeye is not for the novice steakhouse. The high fat content makes sprouts common and expert handling is needed to avoid charring meat. If you have an outbreak, be prepared with the tongs to move the steak away from the open flame until it dissipates.
Marbling is also your friend because it keeps the steak juicy and prevents it from drying out. Thicker is better for the ribeye, visit your butcher counter if you can. The thicker cut will allow you to create a great crust on the outside while maintaining a perfect rare medium on the inside. Remember, erring on the weird side, it's easy to put it back to cook more, but you can't do much to save an overcooked steak (literally a lot, a lot of blue cheese and a bottle of red wine is your only hope).
Other names: Porterhouse
Where it comes from: This is a two-leaf cut. It is both a piece of loin and a piece of strip separated by a T-shaped bone, surprise! It is cut from the primary short back. If it is a goal, the spine section is about an inch wider and the piece is cut further back. enjoy the best of both worlds.
Grill Notes: Start by selecting steaks with a rich, consistent marbling. We recommend trimming excess fat from the outer edge of the fillets to reduce flare-ups. Set up your grill with a high heat zone and a medium-low heat zone. Look first in the high temperature area and finish in the middle zone to achieve that delicate medium-rare internal consistency. This is not as complicated to grill as the ribeye and is a great cut to show off your rough grill skills.
Other names: Filet Mignon
Where it comes from: This is the primary cut, taken directly from the center of the psoas major muscle on the primary short loin.
Flavor: This is naturally the cutest cut of meat and should "melt in your mouth" without chewing. The fat content is low and that strong meat flavor is found in the ribeye. This is your choice for tenderness, not necessarily for flavor.
Grill Notes: There should be no buds with these little slices of heaven. The tenderloin will cook much faster than any other cut we've discussed due to the low fat content, so be careful to keep the meat from drying out. Brown first, then cook over medium heat (135 degrees internal temperature) on indirect heat. This is not the most difficult cut to handle on the grill, but it requires more finesse to cook perfectly.
We hope this article has given you a solid foundation in developing your meat skills. and level up your outdoor grill game. Do you have questions? Leave them in the comments!
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