Best Steaks for Grilling (12 Must-Try Cuts & Cooking Tips)

Gabriel Woods
Published by Gabriel Woods
Last Updated On: November 6, 2023

I’ve tried every kind of steak during the ten years I’ve been on a carnivore diet. Rib eye and sirloin had been my favorites for a very long time before I decided to explore the world of steaks to the fullest.

I created a chart comparing different steaks and grilling results I got over the years.

Here are my top twelve best steaks for grilling.

Quick Summary

  • The best steaks for grilling include rib eye, strip steak, tenderloin, T-bone, top sirloin, porterhouse, tri-tip, flat iron, flank, chuck eye, skirt, and picanha, each offering unique flavors and textures.
  • The choice of steak depends on factors like cost, tenderness, flavor, and grilling skill level, with some cuts being more forgiving for beginners, and others requiring more precise cooking methods.
  • Quality is crucial for a delicious result, with options like grass-fed and grass-finished cuts of beef offering high-quality choices for grilling.

12 Best Steaks for Grilling

1. Rib Eye

A rib eye steak on a white background

Rib eye steak is a classic for a reason. This steak is a perfect combination of tenderness and beefy flavor.

The rib eye comes from the rib section and has a lot of marbling, which results in a rich flavor. The high-fat content and soft muscles make this cut very tender.

I tried both boneless and bone-in, and both options were great on the grill when cooked on medium-high. You can also sear the steak at a hot temperature and finish on the cool side.

Tip: Buy rib-eye steaks with streaky marbling throughout, but avoid cuts with a big glob of fat in the middle.

Read More: How to Grill Rib-Eye Steak?

2. Strip Steak

Strip steak, also called New York strip steak, Kansas City strip, strip loin, and top loin steak is another delicious steak. It has an even more intense beef flavor compared to rib eye but doesn’t have as much marbling and isn’t always as tender.

Strip steaks come from the short loin and are available in many variables, such as grading, aging, and marbling.

Strip steak comes from the top of the sirloin and is more tender than the greater sirloin. It’s great grilled on a hot grill over direct heat and finished on the cool side.

You can grill it with some olive oil and your preferred seasoning to make it more tender.

3. Tenderloin

A tenderloin steak on a white background

Beef tenderloin, also called filet mignon, is the most tender cut of beef you can get. It’s also the most expensive.

Tenderloin is a long, pencil-shaped muscle found in the short loin. The location allows this muscle to avoid heavy lifting, which makes a steak tough.

While extremely tender, filet mignon isn't very flavorful. It has a lower fat content than the rib eye and strip steak, so it’s easy to overcook it.

You can get tenderloin trimmed or untrimmed. An untrimmed cut still has chewy silver skin that you should remove before grilling.

Note: Filet mignon comes from the skinny end of the muscle, while the tenderloin is the entire cut. 

4. T-Bone Steak

T-Bone steak is cut with sirloin on one side of the bone and rib eye on the other. It’s cut more forward on the short loin, so it has little or none of the filet mignon muscle attached.

It’s also located farther away from the rump, so the muscle in a T-bone steak is more tender than in a porterhouse.

Because of the way it’s cut, you get two cuts in one steak. It also has different grains and consistencies on either side of the bone, so it can be tricky to cook. Grill it using a reverse sear for best results.

Once the steak is cooked, cut it into slices holding a knife at a 45-degree angle, and put each sliced cut in its original location to the bone to get a classic T-bone presentation.

5. Top Sirloin Steak

A top sirloin steak is one of the best for grilling on a white background

Top sirloin steak is a good compromise between cost, flavor, and tenderness.

Top sirloin steaks come from the sirloin primal cut, which goes from the lower back to the hip bone. It’s not as tender as the steaks taken from the short loin, but it’s tender enough to make a flavorful grilled steak.

Make sure to check the internal temperature of the steak when grilling. You don’t want to go over medium-rate doneness as it’ll dry out your steak.

This is also one of the healthiest cuts you can get. It’s lean and low in saturated fat [1].

You can also make ground meat or stew meat with top sirloin.

“The leanest beef cuts include round steaks and roasts (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.”

6. Porterhouse Steak

Porterhouse is T-bone’s big brother, as this is a larger version of T-bones. It has a bone running down the middle with a filet and sirloin on the sides.

Filet is the larger of these two sub-cuts. It’s very tender and low in fat. The smaller side has a higher fat amount, so each side needs a different cooking method.

It’s best to season Porterhouse steaks with salt and pepper. Sear each side for two minutes once it comes up to temp. Finish the steak on indirect heat with the filet side facing the cool part of the grill.

Note: Don’t overdo the seasoning, as porterhouse steak has a rich, beefy flavor.

7. Tri-Tip Steak

A tri-tip steak on a white background

Tri-tip steak is taken from the sirloin bottom. It gets its name from its shape. This is a lean and affordable cut but rich in flavor.

It has two perpendicular grain patterns, and it’s easy to cut the steak in two where the grains meet.

Tri-tip steak doesn’t have much fat, so you should season it or use a marinade. Also, let the steak rest for about 10 minutes after grilling so it tenderizes.

Read More: How to Grill Tri-Tip Steak Strips?

8. Flat Iron Steak

The flat iron steak comes from the beef chuck primal. It’s second to the filet mignon in tenderness, and it’s well-marbled, which makes it great for grilling.

You can season the steak with salt and pepper and then grill until medium rare. Don’t cook it over medium, as it’ll dry out and become chewy. Cut against the grain for maximum tenderness.

This steak is full of flavor, so there’s no need for a lot of seasoning. You can use a simple marinade or oil basting.

You can also use flat iron steaks for broiling, pan-searing, stir-frying, and more. It’s very versatile.

9. Flank Steak

A flank steak on a white background

Flank steak comes from the underbelly, and is made up of some of the hardest-working cow muscles, so it’s both flavorful and tough.

It has fat bundles of muscle fibers, which results in a thick, grained texture.

You have to quickly grill the flank steak over high heat and make sure it’s sliced thin against the grain. You can also marinate to add more flavor.

Overall, flank steak is a tough but flavored steak. It’s affordable and great for beginners because it can handle different doneness levels (but it’s still best medium rare).

10. Chuck Eye Steak

Chuck eye steak is the first steak cut from the chuck primal, where it joins the rib primal. It’s basically a rib eye steak, but because it comes from the chuck and not the rib, it’s called chuck eye steak.

This is a more affordable alternative to rib eye, so it’s also called “poor man’s rib eye.” It has a somewhat lower quality and isn’t as tender as a ribeye steak.

It also doesn’t have a lot of marbling, so you shouldn’t cook it past medium rare. You can use a marinade to ensure it’s tender.

11. Skirt Steak

Skirt steak comes from the diaphragm. It’s flavorful but is made up of different muscle fibers, so you should marinate it. This gives the skirt steak more flavor compared to only using seasonings.

Use citric marinades, such as citrus juice or vinegar. This breaks the muscle fibers and gives the steak sour notes.

Skirt steak is best seared on each side for about two minutes and cooked medium rare, so leave it under indirect heat for some time.

12. Picanha Steak

Picanha steak is also called culotte or sirloin cap. This is a tender cut from the rump. It has a big fat cap, so it’s flavorful.

You can cook picanha steaks by searing and finishing them in the oven or slice them into individual pieces and cook hot and fast, like a sirloin.

Ali Khan, television host and food writer, notes that some American butchers would dismiss picanha as too tough — but if prepared and carved correctly, it provides a fantastic experience for the steak lover.

A large fat cap keeps the meat juicy, while a simple seasoning of Kosher salt and olive oil is sufficient to make its quality really pop.

For Khan, skewering a two- or three-pound roast in thick steaks, cooking it gently over a live fire, and developing a deep seared crust over time is crucial.

Related Articles:


What Are the Top 5 Most Tender Steaks?

The top 5 most tender steaks are filet mignon, top loin, ribeye steaks, strip, and porterhouse steak.

What Meat is Best for Grilling?

Beef is the best meat for grilling. There are many steaks that are juicy and tender after grilling.

What Are the Best Steaks to Grill for a Crowd?

The best steaks to grill for a crowd are sirloin, flank, and skirt steak because they are simple and take well to a grill.

What’s the Best Steak for You to Grill?

Each of the steaks I mentioned above is extremely flavorful. When choosing the best steak for you, think about your skill level.

If you’re a newbie, go for a more forgiving steak, such as a flank steak, but if you have grilling experience, choose a filet mignon, porterhouse, or sirloin.

No matter which steak you choose, quality is the most important for a delicious result. My go-to for the past two years has been ButcherBox, a meat delivery service that sells grass-fed and grass-finished cuts of beef, which guarantees the steaks are of the highest quality.

You can choose a custom box, hand-select each cut you get, or choose one of the combo boxes.


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About the author

Gabriel Woods
Chef/Food Editor
Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, Major in Culinary Entrepreneurship Summa Cum Laude. With a deep passion for the culinary arts and a keen business acumen, Gabrielle is set to embark on a journey that promises to leave a lasting impact on the world of the culinary industry. Growing up in a family where food created memories and bonds, she sustained an interest in cooking and baking. She earned her Culinary Entrepreneurship degree with a summa cum laude distinction from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. Gabrielle then served as an assistant private chef – she helped clients achieve specific fitness goals by prepping protein-based meals and healthy side dishes. At Carnivore Style, Gabrielle has honed her strategic leadership by analyzing the trends in meat consumption preferences. This guides our team in producing engaging content, such as recipes featuring popular cuts or cooking techniques. She envisions a community where individuals follow their culinary dreams, making every delectable dish with love and soul for people to relish. In her free time, Gabrielle loves to travel to new places, study their culture, and dine at diverse restaurants and cafes.
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