Grilling is one of the best things about the summer season (or any season, if you’re brave enough). However, far too many people are missing out on the fullest experience by only grilling classic burgers. Burgers are great, but why not take your grilling to a whole new level and discover some of the best meats to grill beyond the usual offerings?
The Best Beef Cuts for Grilling
Let’s start with some of the classic beef offerings you know and love. You’ve eaten these cuts countless times, but if you haven’t grilled them yourself, you’re missing out. Grilling meats like the ones below can help you extract new flavors and textures that you just can’t get from anywhere else, so make sure you add these to your list of “best grilling meats.”
There are few cuts of beef more renowned than the ribeye, so even though it’s obvious, we need to mention it. The thickness, the marbling of the fat, and the iconic shape (the thick-cut bone-in ribeye is called the “cowboy steak” for a good reason) make the ribeye one of the best beef cuts for grilling. When grilling a ribeye, start by thoroughly seasoning it (dry rubs tend to work best), let it grill until it reaches medium doneness, and bask your taste buds in the delicious flavors you coaxed to life.
Flat iron steaks are taken from the top of the shoulder blade and require a good butcher. These tender cuts (second only to the tenderloin) thrive when placed on the grill, are cheaper than top-shelf steaks, and work great with both dry rubs and marinades—but to be honest, the natural flavor is so good that you don’t really need them. They cook pretty quickly due to their thin size and are a natural inclusion on any list of the best meats to grill.
Flanken-cut or “Korean style” Short Ribs
Short ribs are a classic braising dish, but when they’re cut thinly across the bone (½ inch or less), they become some of the most delicious beefy grillables you can possibly imagine. Their fat content helps keep them moist, juicy, and tender. Best grilled directly over coals and flipped frequently and should be monitored carefully so as not to burn due to the high-fat content. They marinate remarkably well but are also packed with flavor from the start. Chewing this tasty meat right off the bone is one of the most satisfying experiences.
Top Sirloin Cap: aka Picanha or Coulotte
This thick, triangular-shaped cut (legendary in South America) is quickly becoming popular, and for good reasons. It is taken off the top of the sirloin and boasts a beautiful, thick fat cap that covers the flavorful, leaner meat underneath. Since it is more like a roast, this cut can be cooked in a variety of ways—slowly over indirect heat or cut into smaller steaks and grilled hot.
We often grill this cut whole on both sides until crispy golden brown and under-cooked in the middle, remove from the grill, and then slice into 1 inch thick steaks. Season with salt and finish over high heat until medium-rare for the perfect steak dinner.
The Best Pork for Grilling
When brainstorming meat grilling ideas, it would be silly not to include pork. Pork consists of some of the more healthy meats to grill and offers flavor profiles that are just as diverse, if not more so, then beef cuts.
Whether you go for thick or thin, bone-in or out, pork chops are a must for any grilling event. Pork chops are best when grilled over direct heat and, gratefully, don’t take long to cook to perfection. As soon as you see those signature grill marks on both sides of the pork chop, it will be ready to eat. Try brining the pork chops beforehand with salted water for extra juiciness to prevent them from drying out on the grill.
Flavorful and versatile, pork belly is the foundation that bacon comes out of and, as you can imagine, is always a crowd-pleaser. Pork belly can be a complementary addition to the main course (just about every type of meat we’ve listed could be served with bacon, for example) or act as the main course in its own right.
If you’re grilling it in slices, you’ll want to keep it more-or-less removed from the direct flame, as it cooks quickly and will flare up due to the high-fat content. But if you’re using pork belly in its complete form, let it slow cook over indirect heat until fork-tender, then finish skin-side down over higher heat to crisp up the skin (if using skin-on pork belly). We recommend marinating it with some Asian flavors for an extra kick.
Eat Local, Grill Better
You may be able to get any of these cuts from a supermarket, but why settle when you could be enjoying richer flavors, better nutrition, and support a local ranch all at once? Get in touch with Augustus Ranch today, and we’ll help you pick out the best meats to grill this season and beyond.