Steak works with a charcoal grill like very few other ingredients. The high-intensity heat of hot coals is perfect for a crispy sear, while juices that vaporize in the firebox add flavor and complexity.
If you want to get the most from your grill and your ingredients, you need to choose the right cut. Not all steak is created equal, as you might have found when cooking on your grill.
Here are the best steak cuts for charcoal grilling, and how you can bring out the best in them.
Rib Eye Steaks – A Premium Cut for Charcoal Grilling
Whether cooking directly on the grill or in a pan with butter and aromatics, the rib eye is considered the ultimate premium cut.
It has tenderness like nothing else, as well as plenty of flavor, especially when grilling with the bone in.
Look for a prime or choice cut with plenty of fat marbling.
Rib eye can be marinated or cooked with butter, but, with its robust flavor, you’ll get the best results when seasoning only with salt and pepper.
Tenderloin Steaks – Tender and Neutral
The tenderloin is the costliest cut, but it isn’t necessarily the best for everyday grilling. This is because it has lower fat content than the other cuts on this list.
It needs to be cooked carefully to prevent drying out, which will remove its natural tenderness.
Tenderloin doesn’t have a lot of flavor so it’s recommended to marinate it in your favorite mix, give it a spice rub, or baste it with butter or barbecue sauce in the final minutes of cooking.
Due to its low fat content, it should be served medium rare.
Sirloin Steaks – A Great All-Round Steak for Grilling
Top sirloin offers a great balance between flavor, tenderness, and price. It’s a great steak for casual cooking and entertaining friends and family on special occasions.
There’s a decent amount of fat in this cut but it can still dry out when overcooked. You should avoid cooking beyond an internal temperature between 140 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sirloin is perfect for barbecue sauce or even a marinade.
Try combining soy sauce and garlic with your preferred spices, and marinate the steak for at least an hour before cooking. This will bring additional complexity for a very special dining experience.
If you love the natural flavor of steak, simply season with salt and pepper before cooking.
Porterhouse Steaks – The Best of Both Worlds
The porterhouse cut is a hearty combination of both the rib eye and tenderloin. Often one of the most expensive steaks on a restaurant menu, you can cook porterhouse at home on a modest budget.
Because it comes from the rump, the porterhouse cut is rich in flavor and it has a nice amount of tenderness that is perfect for medium rare.
There’s no need to marinate a porterhouse but if you do, use a simple combination of Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, finely diced onion and garlic, and a dash of vegetable oil.
The aromatics, acidity of the vinegar, and the rich savory flavor of Worcestershire sauce work perfectly with a porterhouse.
Maximize Flavor With the Right Grilling Temperature and Doneness
The best grilling temperature for steak is between 375 and 449 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a meat thermometer to check doneness.
All of the steaks here are best served with an internal temperature between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (medium-rare). This allows fats to melt and distribute juicy flavor throughout the cut.
Try any of the mentioned cuts and you’ll enjoy the best steak you’ve ever grilled.