BBQ Steak. Which cut and How Best To Cook It ?

Steak is one of our favourites for a BBQ. But which is best?

Here’s a guide to enable you to choose the best steak and more importantly, how to cook it for the best result.

As always, you get what you pay for. So if you buy the cheapest cuts like feather, blade or just “frying” steak, don’t expect to get anything tender or tasty. Even with the better cuts, steaks usually mean a choice between great flavour and tenderness. They rarely have both, the exception being a “T” Bone, which combines two cuts in one steak.

The more expensive steaks are from butchers and have usually been hung, which intensifies the colour and flavour. The true colour of steak is brown (sometimes with a hint of blue) and not bright red, which indicates freshly cut and not hung. Marbling is fat (not gristle) that runs through the meat, which adds taste.

Here is a short guide to the most common steaks.

Sirloin

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This cut is from the middle back, is a good size and is well marbled, but lacks real depth of flavour. It is eaten more often than it used to be despite being expensive. It is however, tender and juicy and is also sold on the bone sometimes, which also adds flavour.

Rib-eye

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This is a modern, trendy steak. It comes from the fore rib (which along with sirloin are the top cuts for roasting beef). It is marbled with a central piece of fat, which makes for a very rich taste.

Fillet

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The fillet comes from inside the sirloin. This muscle does little or no work so it’s very tender. It also has no fat so it doesn’t have much flavour. For this reason, chefs tend to disregard fillet. Most people, who cook fillet, usually serve it with a sauce to deliver flavour.

Rump

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It’s a huge steak and full of flavour. But it needs to cook a little longer as it isn’t easy to eat too rare – around three minutes each side (depending on size). So if you’re doing a dinner party but don’t want to cook six individual cuts, buy a really big rump, cook whole and share. It’s best to buy rump 5cm (2in) thick, flash-fry, then slice into strips.

T-bone

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Once highly fashionable in the 60’s and 70’s. A “T” bone is part sirloin and part fillet. Sounds ideal doesn’t it – one tender, the other tasty. The problem is that each part, if cooked separately, would be cooked differently, so it’s a bit of a compromise. One solution is to cook it as if it were sirloin and add a sauce to compliment the fillet.

Cooking
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When cooking steak on a BBQ, traditional charcoal is best. Gas just doesn’t generate enough heat on domestic BBQ’s. It’s only the very powerful catering grills that can cook a good steak. Our Rotigrill XL3 has tremendous grill capacity, whether you use the standard 500mm x 500mm grill or the 1000mm x 500m full length grill. It produces a great heat and the cooking height is adjustable, so you can get the cooking conditions just right.

Rare, medium or well done? There’s a lot of snobbery surrounding how rare you like your steaks. Admittedly, when you talk to chef’s they will explain that a lot of flavour can be cooked out of a steak, if there is no juice left in the meat. However, we believe that it’s your steak, so it’s your choice.

The golden rule for cooking steak is to sear it over a really high heat, then cook it to your liking and then rest it for a few minutes to let the meat relax (tenderises) and the juices flow through the meat (enhances the flavour).