Steak on the Grill
A grilled steak is one of summer's great pleasures. The first one you cook over an outside fire needs little more than salt and pepper and a good char to taste perfect. But after a while, the novelty begins to wear and you crave something more: added flavor from a rub or a marinade, maybe a sauce, or how about the perfect side dish? These recipes (see photos below), come straight from Italy and are jam packed with flavors both expected – salt, pepper, fennel, thyme – and unexpected, such as an apple sauce for sirloin and an orange-infused Hollandaise for beef tenderloin.
For these recipes, we considered the cut that we paired with the accompaniment. Tender beef fillet gets a silken Hollandaise, which keeps the meal feeling elegant. A more hearty rib-eye, however, stands up well to cabbage and an onion confit. What follows is a guide to what our favorite steaks for the grill.
Porterhouse. This luxurious cut of beef comes from the short line, where all the best (and most expensive) steaks come. It consists of the tenderloin and the top loin separated but the signature T-shaped bone that is the hallmark of a porterhouse steak. (A T-bone steak differs in that there is less of the tenderloin included.) A thick (at least 2-inch) hunk will feed 3 to 4 people. A great way to present the grilled steak is to cut the tenderloin and the short loin off the bone, slice into pieces and them reassemble the pieces around the bone. Dramatic and organic, this also allows folks to take a piece of each kind of steak.
Tenderloin. Also called filet mignon or just filet, these steaks are cut form the tenderloin. As the name implies, these steaks are exceedingly tender, but that can come at a cost of the beefy flavor you find in, say, a rib-eye. But the mild flavor makes this a great cut to serve with buttery sauces, such as the hollandaise in this recipe.
Rib-eye. Often called out as a favorite among steak aficionados, a rib-eye is cut from the rib section. Though very tender and juicy, it has a full beef flavor, too. Ask your butcher for a steak cut from the small end of the rib; you’ll get more of the tender eye muscle and less of the tougher shoulder muscle.
Sirloin. The sirloin consists of several muscles, and steaks cut from this area, while flavorful, can vary tremendously in tenderness and marbling. Seek out sirloin labeled top sirloin, which is cut closer to the tender short loin. And while the steaks labeled simply sirloin are usually tougher, almost all sirloin will deliver big flavor. These lean steaks are great for marinating and are a good value, too.
Flank. Flanks steaks, cut from the chest and side, have deep beefy flavor but the tradeoff is a little more chewing. Flank steak takes really well to marinade; not only does its leanness benefit from the fat that may be in the marinade, but its visible longitudinal grain that absorbs marinades well. A great choice for grilling, it’s best cooked to just medium rare and then sliced across the grain after a short rest.
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