There’s nothing like Alberta Beef on the barbecue

At the grocery store, steaks that are perfect for the barbecue will actually be labeled as grilling steaks, and will include the most tender cuts from the loin and rib primal areas (parts of the animal that don’t get worked as often and therefore are tender and juicy). These cuts have good intramuscular fat referred to as marbling.  This term is a reference to the fat that appears as white flecks and streaks in a lean selection, resembling a marble pattern. Generally the more marbling in your grilling steak, the better the flavour.

The best grilling cuts include:

  • Strip loin
  • Tenderloin
  • Rib grilling steak (or rib eye grilling steak if boneless)
  • Porterhouse
  • T-bone (large cut made up of the strip and tenderloin steaks)
  • Top sirloin (may require some marinating or tenderizing)

With some marinating, there are a number of other cuts that are also well suited for grilling:

  • Strip tip
  • Bottom sirloin
  • Flank steaks
  • Full round
  • Inside or outside round
  • Eye of round

Flavour Profile of Grilling Steaks

Grilling steaks typically come from the loin and rib primal areas, which arguably are the most palatable and tender cuts. Any of the grilling steaks will deliver on taste and texture – try the short loin for something a little leaner, the rib eye for abundant marbling and flavour, or the tenderloin for juicy tenderness.

Cooking on a Grill

The top grilling steaks require no preparation and can be seared directly on high heat to seal in flavourful juices. You may want to lightly season after cooking – although most barbecue aficionados will adamantly say less is more – to add complementing flavours. Steaks that are great on the grill after some tenderizing (sirloin tip, bottom sirloin, flank, full round, inside or outside round, eye of round) will typically require a few hours or more of marinating.

The rib steak (or rib eye if boneless) is considered one of the best grilling steaks because of its marbling and texture. Marbling, a reference to the fat that appears as white flecks and streaks in a marble pattern, signifies a cut that has lots of flavour. Many chefs recommend only cooking to medium-rare to lock in juices and take advantage of this premium cut (ensure it’s cooked to at least 63° C or 145° F).

T-bones and porterhouse steaks (bone-in) are well suited to a grill because of their big size. They’re best served a little more rare because trying to cook the meat well done by the bone will take too long and dry it out (ensure it’s cooked to at least 63° C or 145° F).

Flank steaks have become popular in recent years as a good marinating cut packed with flavour. From the abdominal muscles, these are typically long, flat cuts that can be tenderized by marinating or pounding. Try an acidic marinade like lime juice or pounding and rubbing with spices to help develop the rich flavours. This steak can be cooked a little longer than other grilling cuts, from between five to ten minutes depending on the size. Cook it to your liking (ensure it’s cooked to at least 63° C or 145° F) and then remove from the grill and cover with aluminum foil for a few minutes to lock in moisture.

For more cooking ideas, check out our Recipes page.

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