Beef Cuts - Which do you choose for Grilling?

Infographic detailing various Beef Cuts

Tips to Marinating

Now that you have your perfect cut of beef, it's time to season it. According to barbecue pro Chris Lilly, the key to great barbecue “is sealing in flavor." One of the best ways to seal in that flavor is to use marinades. Marinades season your meat while locking in moisture. Here are a few tips to making the most out of your marinade.

Step 1: Prepare your meat. The smaller and thinner the meat, the faster the marinade will be able to penetrate the meat. Cut your larger pieces of meat into smaller pieces to make sure that every piece gets evenly marinated.

Step 2: Connect your meat with the marinade. Clear plastic containers or plastic bags with a seal are some of the best vessels for your meat and marinade.  Not only does this decrease the mess, but by sealing out the air, you actually need less marinade on your meat. You want to make sure that your meat is completely submerged in the marinade, which means that you need about two cups of marinade for every two pounds of meat.

Step 3: Give the meat time in the marinade. As a general rule of thumb, you want to leave your meat immersed in the marinade for at least thirty minutes.

Of course, the longer you leave the meat in the marinade, the better the flavor, and with beef, it is recommended to leave it in the marinade overnight. This increased amount of time in the marinade will make your beef incredibly tender.

However, this tip does not translate to chicken. While beef benefits from more time in the marinade, chicken can actually be over marinated. Over marinated chicken becomes extremely tough and difficult to eat. 

Once you place your meat on the grill, let the marinade do its work. To bring out the full flavor of the marinade on your meat, baste your meat in the last 10 minutes of cooking.  Just be careful that you baste your meat with a freshly made marinade (or some you set aside for this purpose) instead of using the original marinade.  Basting the meat with your original marinade can potentially contaminate your meat.

Marinades give you all sorts of flavor potential with your BBQ.  

Cooking the Perfect Steak

Steaks are the epitome of barbecue cooking. Yet, cooking the perfect steak can sometimes seem like an impossible task. Here are some simple steps to getting that perfect char on the outside, but keeping that juice on the inside.

Step 1: Have everything ready to go. The best chefs and barbecue masters know that preparation is the first, essential step to making any great food. Place all necessary plates, utensils, accessories, and seasonings near your BBQ so that they are readily accessible whenever you may need it. Not only does this help you in the timing of cooking your perfect steak, it also keeps your, your loved ones, and your home safe from the dangers of an unattended grill.

Step 2: Light your grill. The amount of time it will take for your grill to heat up and be reading for cooking will depend on the type of grill you own. Charcoal grills take the longest to heat up, while gas and electric grills need a much shorter preparation time.

Step 3: Once your grill is lit, the time has come to take the steaks out of the refrigerator. Room temperature steaks cook more evenly than cold steaks, so make sure that they have plenty of time to warm up before you place them on the grill. If you're using a marinade, leave the steak in the marinade until it's time to put it on the grill.

Otherwise, prepare the steak for cooking by brushing both sides of the steak with a light layer of olive oil and a generous dusting of salt and pepper.

When your grill is ready for the steaks, there is one final step in your preparation.

If you're using a charcoal grill, move the now gray-ish colored charcoals over to one side in order to create a cooler spot on the grill. On any grill, keep the steak away from large or jumping flames. The flame size will increase as the juices and fat run down the sides of the steak. These flames can burn the outside of your steak and should be avoided.

The amount of time you leave a steak on the grill depends on how “done” you want your steak, as well as its size and thickness.

  • For a one-inch thick steak, “rare” will be 5 minutes on the first side and 3 on the second.
  • Medium-rare is 5 minutes and then 4.
  • Medium is 6 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second.
  • And well-done is 8 minutes on the first side and 6 minutes on the second.

If you want to create a diamond pattern on your steak, leave the steak on the grill for 2-3 minutes and then, with a pair of tongs, rotate it 45 degrees, and cook it for the remaining time on the side.

Always use a pair a tongs when rotating of flipping your steaks in order to keep them juicy. Stabbing or cutting your steak will cause the moisture and juices to run out of the steak, leaving it dry.

Once the steak is done, take it off the grill and let it rest on a wooden board for 5 minutes before cutting into it. This will help keep the meat juicy, and leave you with the perfect steak.

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