What cut of steak you should be grilling will depend on two factors.
How do you like you steak cooked?
If you prefer a rare or medium-rare steak you should be looking for a leaner cut of beef. The leaner the cut the better the steak will take to being grilled rare. A cut with more fat is less likely to render that fat in the shorter cooking time given to a rare steak.
Cuts of steak that should be cooked rare or medium-rare include: Sirloin, Top Round Steaks, and the Filet. These steaks should never be grilled past medium as they will get tough and dry out.
If you prefer your steaks cooked medium to well-done you should be grilling steaks that have more fat and preferably are bone in. The fat and bone help keep the steak from drying out on the grill while adding flavor. If unsure about your temperatures here is the page with that information.
Steaks with a higher fat content are: Porterhouse, Skirt Steak, NY Strip, T-bone and the Ribeye. The marbling on these steaks should be very visible, the more fat the better.
The USDA beef grades are an indicator of fat content as well. USDA Prime beef will have more fat content then the same steak with a choice grade. For grilling you should try to avoid the USDA Select grade as this has the least amount of fat.
Should almost always factor into your decision here. The steak prices here are just a sample and they will fluctuate all over the place.
Filet Mignon $19 lb
New York Strip $14 lb
Porterhouse $12 lb
T-Bone $11 lb
Bone In Ribeye $12 lb
Flank Steak $10 lb
Sirloin Steak $8 lb
Top Round Steak $5 lb
Skirt Steak $8 lb
In my opinion the Ribeye is your best all around option. Sirloin takes seasonings (try Lawry’s seasoned salt on it) very well and is a great value if you can find some with a little fat. If grilling for a large group you can typically save a few bucks by purchasing a roast and slicing it yourself, as long as it is not bone-in.
A couple of other things to keep in mind when steak shopping:
Thicker is better: It is much easier to get a 1 inch thick steak grilled right then one half the size.
Shop by the looks of the steaks. If you’re in the mood for a Porterhouse but the Ribeyes look better, purchase the Ribeye.
If grilled properly almost any cut can taste delicious. Some just take some practice to get right.
When in doubt ask the butcher what looks good to them today.
About the author: Mike is the owner of 4thegrill.com, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member. When writing this article I really just wanted to type “Just buy the Ribeye’s”.
This page contains links to 4thegrill’s products and/or revenue generating sponsored links and ads from Amazon and/or Google adsense. 4theGrill is not responsible for the content of the off site links we provide.