For great-flavored steak, choose the cut carefully
and give it a dry rub of seasoning
before putting it on the grill. In this article
you'll learn which cuts are the best for grilling,
how to prep the steak, ingredients for a basic steak
rub, and how to get smoked flavor
on a propane grill.
Good Grillers: The Best Cuts for Grilling
The tenderest steaks are cut from the section
between the ribs and the hips along the back. Steaks from the
short loin, just behind the ribs, include
porterhouse, T-bone steaks, the boneless strip loin
(or New York
steak), and most of the tenderloin. Steaks from the
sirloin section, just behind the loin, include top sirloin,
sirloin, and the rest of the tenderloin. These
steaks can be grilled, oven broiled, or pan-broiled.
Rib steaks (with a bone) and rib-eye or
club steaks (without a bone) are tender enough to grill or
broil. Of the
less expensive cuts, skirt steak is cut from
the diaphragm muscle. It's full flavored and tender and can be
grilled or pan-broiled.
Flank steak, true London broil, is a flavorful
favorite for the grill, but it tends to be tough. The best way to
around the problem is to buy USDA Choice grade for
grilling -- the grade of meat makes a big difference in
tenderness. Keep flank steak fairly rare, since it
will toughen if it's overcooked. When you slice it, be sure to
cut across its fibrous grain. Flank steak is not
recommended for pan-broiling.
How to Prep the Steak and the Grill
The outer layer of fat on most steaks should be
trimmed to about 1/8 inch before grilling. Slash the fat at 1-
to 1 1/2-nch intervals to prevent the steak from
curling as it cooks, and season the meat with a dry rub or
herbs, if desired. Refrigerate until 1/2 hour before
Remove the grill rack and oil or spritz it with
nonstick vegetable spray. Set it 4 to 5 inches above the fire for
thin cuts such as flank steak; 6 to 7 inches for a
Light the fire about 45 minutes before cooking so it
will have a chance to burn down to glowing coals
covered with ash.
Place the steak on the grill. Baste with marinade or barbecue
sauce if you like. But first-quality steaks should
not be marinated with barbecue sauce; it will mask their flavor.
Ingredients for a Basic Steak Rub
One way to flavor a steak is with dry seasoning rubbed on before
grilling. For a basic mix, blend:
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
You might add Southwestern, Middle Eastern, or other flavorings to
Dry rubs can be kept on hand in tightly covered jars. To use fresh
herbs, garlic, and other ingredients in a
rub, prepare a small amount just before use.
Grilling Indoors: Pan-Broiling Steaks If you're cooking indoors,
pan-broil steak in a heavy skillet or grill
pan (a skillet with grids on the bottom). If juices accumulate,
remove them periodically with a bulb baster or
Heat the pan until a drop of water sizzles on it and spritz the
bottom with nonstick vegetable spray. Add the
meat and cook over moderately high heat until the grill marks show,
turn, and grill the other side until so
marked. Lower the heat slightly and cook until done as desired, 2 or
3 minutes for rare; 5 to 6 minutes for
medium; and up to 15 minutes for well done. Increase the time 4 to 5
minutes for 1/2-inch thickness.
Grilling With Gas: How to Get Smoked Flavor on a Propane Grill
To give barbecue flavor to food on a propane grill, soak a handful
of your favorite hardwood chips in water
for 15 minutes. Pour off the water and wrap the damp chips in
aluminum foil, leaving one end open.
Wearing fireproof mitts, lay the smoker packet on the grill's heated
grids or rocks. Smoky flavor will waft over
Allow 15 to 20 minutes on the fire for the smoke flavor to permeate
the meat. After the grill has cooled down,
discard the foil smoker packet.