Jun 02, 2022 | Samuel Albert

What's the best meat to barbecue?

To get into the summer mood, start the BBQ in your backyard. Get your supplies together - charcoal, wood/gas, seasoning, sauces, BBQ tools, and of course, the meat. Above all, what really matters is the quality of your meat, the chief ingredient. Really, nothing else matters!

Beef and pork are considered the best meats for barbecue. Lamb, goat, poultry (the choice being locality-based - chicken, duck, turkey, quail, or any game food), and seafood are other popular options. 

You don't have to be a pitmaster to grill up your favorite BBQ meat. With numerous meat choices suitable for barbecue and mastery of a few grilling skills, you can make your own goofproof barbecues in no time, in a grill, or on a smoker.

Come, let us dig deeper into this subject as to why you should opt for one over the other.

  1. What is the BEST steak cut for barbecue?

While many steak cuts are available for grilling purposes, I would choose these arguably good ones over the rest for my BBQ.

PHOTO BY Farhad Ibrahimzade / UNSPLASH 

i) Tenderloin Steak: It is considered the most tender steak cut, as the name goes. A whole tenderloin can be bought from your butcher and cut later. But be informed, the meat can fall apart, and you might need to keep it tied with the butcher's thread to keep it in shape.

    The choicest part of the tenderloin is Filet Mignon which comes from the center of the tenderloin and yields the juiciest and most succulent steak for your steak cravings.

    Keep a close watch while cooking as it is a lean cut of meat. It is an excellent choice for dieters and weight watchers.

    ii) Boneless Rib Eye: Though not as tender as Filet Mignon, boneless rib eye has more fat and flavor than Filet Mignon.

      PHOTO BY Jon Tyson / UNSPLASH 

      With bone, this cut is called rib steak. It has two advantages: It comes from one of the delicate parts of the animal and has a surprisingly luxurious marbled texture. So, packed with all the fat and tenderness, it gives a deeper flavor to the dish. 

      Roasted or grilled vegetables and wedge salad are healthier choices that go well with this steak, although it tastes great with Mac and Cheese, bread, and fries as well.

      iii) Strip Steak: One of its many names is New York Strip Steak, as it originated from the city. Though not very tender, it combines lean cut and fat with a bold, beefy flavor. The meat can be made tender by pounding with a meat hammer.

      PHOTO BY Clark Douglas / UNSPLASH 

      Serve it with scalloped potatoes. Or grill some broccoli or Brussel sprouts alongside, and the meal is ready to be served in no time.

      iv) Flank Steak: Also famously known as London Broil, this lean beef cut, if not prepared carefully, can turn out to be tough. A marinade with a meat tenderizer blends well into this cut. Slice the steak before or after cooking into narrow strips against the grain.

        Make fajitas with flank steak for a lip-smacking experience. It also goes well with freshly baked bread, pasta, and veggies of your choice. 

        v) Top Sirloin Steak: This steak cut comes in handy when cooking for your whole family as it yields many servings. Cook it carefully, so the meat doesn't turn tough but flavorful and tender. Want to know the secret of grilling it tender?

          1. Souse the steak with a meat tenderizer marinade before starting the cooking process.
          2. The best way to cook any meat tender is to cook it low and slow.
          3. Wait (patiently) for the meat thermometer to reach the proper internal temperature.
          4. Stop cooking and rest the meat, so the liquid doesn't run out and gets absorbed evenly throughout.
          5. Cut the meat against the grain.   

           Apart from being a healthier option than the rib eye, it is economical. Plan this grilled steak frequently for your dinner, along with some delectable sandwiches or stir fries.

          vi) T-Bone Steak: This expensive steak cut is a New York strip-Filet Mignon combo, well worth its price. It does best with simple seasoning and is packed with a lot of flavor and juice. Flash cooking (cooking with high heat for a short time) retains the tenderness of the meat.

            PHOTO BY Hanxiao / UNSPLASH

            This pairs well with grilled mushrooms, Chilean salsa, and sauteed spinach.

            vii) Porterhouse Steak: This big portion steak is a hearty meal in itself for more than one. It includes a Filet Mignon and a strip steak and is quite a tender cut.

            Ceaser salad and baked potatoes go along well with Porterhouse.

            Skirt Steak, Bone-In Rib Eye, Bone-In Strip Steak, Bone-In Filet Mignon, Strip Filet, Ribeye Filet, Flat Iron Steak, Ribeye Cap Steak, Bistro Steak, and Picanha are some of the good choices that you could try.

            1. What is the best temperature to prepare your steak cut?

            The inside temperature of the meat mostly ranges from 130 ℉ to 135 ℉ on the meat thermometer.

            While preparing thicker cuts or cuts with bone in them, approx. 160 ℉ to 165 ℉ is optimal.    

            1. Which pork cuts are suitable for grilling/BBQing?

            When it comes to grilling pork cuts, there are a plethora of options but let me just select the best ones for you.

            i) Baby Back Ribs - Baby back ribs are the prime choice when choosing the best pork cuts. They are worth every penny, making the barbecues an instant success with a melt-in-mouth experience. Who can resist the smoky grilled baby back ribs! It's heaven on a platter.

              Try them with baked beans or your favorite potato salad for a complete meal. 

              ii) Spare Ribs -  Though they are named spare ribs, the meat and fat in them are not sparse. They provide the most gratifying, flavorful dish, satisfying your heart and tummy. And what's more, it is time to toot your own horn showing off your pitmaster skills to your near and dear!

                Green beans, grilled vegetables, or coleslaw salad are great sides for spare ribs.

                iii) Country Style Ribs - These absolute favorites have more meat in them than bones. So, if you're a meat lover, choose these ones over the others. You are sure to enjoy your culinary journey, preparing it and sharing it with your friends and family.

                They go well with country-style baby lima beans, barbecue black-eyed peas, or BBQ roasted potatoes. 

                1. What is the ideal temperature to grill your pork chops?

                PHOTO BY Алекке Блажин / PEXELS 

                Approx. 350 ℉. 

                Lamb: Grilling is adventurous, so is choosing different meat for grilling. Divert from the beaten path of beef and pork once in a while towards the gamey flavor of lamb.

                1. What are the best cuts of lamb for grilling?

                Rib, rump, legs, and loin are a few famous cuts best suited for grilling. However, when selecting the lamb for grilling, choose young animal cuts as they are tender and can cook quickly. By looking at the cuts, you can tell if the animal is young.

                A crucial point to note when grilling lamb is the preparation. First, choose your meat tenderizer. Next, soak the cut in the marinade, preferably overnight or at least the amount of time your recipe calls for. Marinating the meat with a tenderizer makes the grilled meat delicate and soft and helps the flavors of the spices and herbs steep deep inside the lamb.

                Garlic, pepper, ginger, mint, parsley, bay leaf, and thyme greatly enhance the grilled dish's flavor. Spices complement the taste of the meat, so don't forget to add them in if you like spicy lamb meat. Grilled lamb meat is scrumptious and is a must try if you have not tried it at least once.

                1. How to grill lamb chops?

                Grilling lamb chops is pretty much the same as you would grill pork or beef. At the finish, the internal temperature should read 135 ℉. Keep a drip bowl at the bottom to collect the fat and liquid dribble from the cuts and reserve it for soup or stock. You don't want to waste the delicious drippings.

                Plan and add more veggies and herbs on the sides to make the meal healthy, as lamb is the fattest of all meats.

                If you are looking for other options to cut the fat, you can trim the fat away before grilling and discard the fatty drippings after grilling.

                Poultry: Poultry is a pleasant option for barbecuers who prefer to limit their fat intake and watch their calories. The added advantage of this versatile white meat is easy cooking and less prep time.

                PHOTO BY Brett Jordan / PEXELS 

                1. How long do you cook BBQ chicken?

                BBQ is a low-slow cook method. It often takes 1-2 hours for that authentic barbecue chicken with a smoky flavor.

                Grilling on a griddle is a relatively quicker option requiring approximately 10-12 minutes.

                1. What is the optimal temperature to cook BBQ chicken?

                Approx. 160 ℉. Use a meat probe thermometer for measuring the temperature, which would rise to 165 ℉ during the resting period even after removing the meat from heat. 

                1. Which chicken is suitable for BBQ?

                Boneless and skinless chicken does not taste as good as the skin-on, bone-in ones. The only difference is the taste and flavor, which comes from the chicken's skin. However, the cooking and basting part is almost the same for both.

                Also, the boneless, skinless ones cook way faster than the bone-in, skin-on category.

                So, when it comes to chicken suitable for grilling, tastewise, unskinned chicken with bone-in is the best option.

                Some Tips For Grilling Chicken:

                PHOTO BY JK Sloan / UNSPLASH

                Whatever seasoning you opt for barbecuing your chicken, the dish will be delicious when properly cooked.

                We don't want uncooked insides or charred outsides, so try and avoid barbecuing or grilling unsized, big chicken, which makes the process hard. So, if it's a large chunk of chicken, halve it and toast it over the grill or BBQ it for uniform cooking.

                Baste with your favorite BBQ sauce in the end. The sugars in the sauce will caramelize and burn if applied earlier. The final touch of the gorgeous reddish-brown color can be attained every single time by searing on both sides for a few minutes.

                Turkey: When you are game for something distinct, turkey is a terrific option. So, whether you opt for a whole turkey roast for Thanksgiving or just wings, thigh, boneless breast, or breast with bone, it is going to be a whole new experience. So, put your BBQ gloves on, and let's start grilling.

                If you are a beginner BBQer, select a small turkey if you would like to learn to grill the whole bird. It is relatively easy when the portion is small as there is less chance of the recipe failing. However, practice makes things perfect. As time goes by, you can confidently venture out and grill a large turkey with absolute ease and confidence.

                1. How to grill a whole turkey?

                1. Get your turkey on the prep board and stuff the insides with onion, garlic, herbs of choice, and lemon wedges.
                2. Clip the wings and tie the bird up with kitchen twine.
                3. Lather the skin with butter or olive oil and sprinkle pepper and salt.
                4. Start grilling with breast side up. Place a dripping bowl on the bottom to catch the dripping liquids.
                5. When the meat thermometer reads an internal temp of 165 ℉, it is time to remove the turkey and rest it.
                6. Cut and serve the golden bird along with your favorite sides.
                7. Enjoy the crispy outsides and the soft, tender insides.

                  1. Which fish are best suited for grilling?

                  Fish comes to the rescue of seafood enthusiasts who love barbecuing seafood. However, not all fish are suitable for BBQ. Soft, flaky fish can't withstand the grill's high heat and might fall off the bone while grilling.

                  So, make sure you choose a firm, hard fish like salmon, tuna, red snapper, swordfish, halibut, or similar hardy ones for your grilling expedition. The choice of the fish and the freshness is what really matters.

                  Grilling shrimp is way easier than you think it is. Keeping the shells on help retain the moisture. Make sure you don't grill over 5 minutes, as it can toughen the shrimp meat.

                  1. How do you prevent fish from sticking to the grill grates?

                    PHOTO BY Mike Bergmann / UNSPLASH 

                    1. To start the grilling process, oil the grates liberally.
                    2. Prep and season the fish. If it is wet, pat it dry with a paper towel before grilling. Apply oil to the fish.
                    3. Heat up the grill well before placing the fish over it.  
                    4. Clean the grates properly after each use.

                    So, now that you've made your choice, there is no stopping you. But, of course, no celebration is complete without the delectable, juicy grilled delicacy. But, it Better Be Quick (BBQ)!

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