Whether you are planning a casual weeknight dinner or looking to serve up something special, beef is always a good choice. Beef is one of the most versatile and beloved meats available. It’s also pretty simple to cook. But how do you choose the perfect cut of beef? And which cuts of beef are the best for grilling? Use our cuts of beef guide to learn the answers to these questions and more.
Not all beef is created equally. Quality and flavor vary drastically between different cuts of beef, depending on the age and diet of the cow, and how much fat is present in the meat. To choose the best cut of meat for your specific taste or recipe, you need to first understand the different terminology used.
If you have ever taken a close look at meat at the butcher shop or grocery store, you have probably noticed that the more expensive cuts are swirled with white. These white lines are a type of fat. The more marbled the cut of beef, the more fat it has — and that’s what you want because fat is what gives your beef a juicy, flavorful taste.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed a grading system for beef. Before it is packaged or sold, a cut of beef is rated according to two separate standards: quality and yield. Quality refers to how the cow was raised, as well as the resulting tenderness and flavor of the meat. The yield represents how much of the meat is usable and lean. There are numerous variants of each grade of beef, but the four primary grades of beef are prime, choice, select and standard.
After standard and commercial, there is utility grade, cutter grade and canner grade beef. Utility, cutter and canner beef are not typically sold directly to consumers but used instead in processed food items or as one component of generic ground beef.
There are three age groups for cuts of beef: fresh beef, wet-aged beef and dry-aged beef. Rather than referring to the age of the cattle, beef aging refers to the process by which that meat has been aged before it is sold or packaged.
Many other descriptors can describe cuts of beef. Some of the most common ones include grass-fed beef, kosher beef and organic beef.
There are eight main parts of a cow — considered primal cuts —that get broken down into your favorite subprimal cuts of beef.
Wondering how to cook cuts of beef? We suggest firing up your grill or smoker. That being said, any grillmaster will tell you that some cuts of meat are better suited for grilling than others. These are some of our favorite cuts of beef for grilling.
Who doesn’t love a perfectly seared steak right off the grill? Depending on what you are looking for, there are several types of steak suitable for your grill or smoker. Whether you are celebrating a life milestone or just cooking up a weekend meal for your family, there is a type of steak for everyone, including:
Loaded, juicy cheeseburgers are an American staple for a reason — but did you may not know there are actually different types of ground beef. Ground beef is classified based on the level of fat present. The most popular types of ground beef are:
Barbecue pitmasters and meat-lovers around the world can agree on one thing: nothing beats a beef brisket when its cooked low and slow all day long. The longer your beef brisket sits on the heat, the juicier and more melt-in-your-mouth delicious it becomes. Pair it with your favorite barbecue dry rub or sauce to get that picture-perfect brisket bark on the outside. For ideal results, smoke your brisket on a wood pellet smoker.
Properly cooked beef ribs slathered in a quality sauce can rival even the best pork ribs. Beef ribs are usually larger and more flavorful than pork ribs, and they do not take too long to smoke. Many Texan smokers and Korean BBQ enthusiasts prefer the meatiness of beef ribs over pork. Whether you prefer a sweet, smoky sauce or a tangy vinegar marinade, beef ribs are always a good choice.
Tenderloin is one of the best cuts of beef for grilling. Because it is so tender, you don’t have to do a whole lot to a cut of tenderloin to make it taste great. Tenderloin can be enjoyed right off the grill grate, as a salad topper or on a sandwich. Prefer something a little more upscale? You can cook a delicious filet mignon — a fine dining staple — right at home on your grill.
Once you have chosen your perfect piece of beef, you need to prepare it for the grill. Although preparation varies depending on the cut you choose and your preferred cooking method, there are typically three steps to preparing a cut of beef: trim the excess fat, pat it dry and season it.
It’s no secret that grilling your beef is one of the best ways to bring out its natural flavor. However, there are several different ways to grill beef. Different processes yield different results and tastes — experiment with new techniques until you find your new favorite.
Wood pellets add a layer of smoky flavor to anything you grill. Depending on the type of wood, you get different tastes. Here are some of our favorites for beef:
Thick cuts of beef, like ribeye and tri-tip steaks, benefit from a grilling technique known as reverse searing. This is where, instead of cooking the steak directly over a high-heat flame, you first cook your steak indirectly on the outside area of the grill grate — the part not touched directly by flame. Do this until the steak is brought up to a consistent temperature all the way through. Then, place it directly on the high-heat flame for a hard sear on both sides. Afterward, be sure to let it rest before cutting so the juices can properly distribute. Reverse searing is a great way to keep your steaks from becoming too dry or tough, while still maintaining a pretty fast cook time.
Large cuts of beef, like brisket and rump roast, benefit from a few hours in the smoker because it adds flavor and tenderizes the meat quickly — but you can smoke any cut of beef to get a unique flavor that cannot be replicated. You can use wood pellets, lump charcoal or briquettes as fuel for a smoker, each one leaving you with a slightly different smoky flavor than the other.
The low and slow grilling technique is ideal for tough or thick cuts of beef, as well as when you want to infuse as much flavor into your beef as possible. To grill something low and slow means it sits on the grill grate or in a smoker on a very low heat for a very long time. The end result is tender beef that falls off the bone.
No matter what cut of beef you prefer, grill it right with a Grilla Grills wood pellet grill or smoker. At Grilla Grills, we created our smokers to be intentionally different from the rest — affordable and reliable, but with zero compromises where quality and amazing flavor are concerned. Not sure which grill is the best fit for you? Get in touch with our support team — we are happy to help you make the best decision.
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