When it comes to butchering a cow, there are 14 major cuts of beef. After this, there are many sub-cuts, and some restaurants boast up to 40 different cuts of beef to choose from on the menu. A pig is divided eight ways, and similar to beef, has many cut variations. There are up to 10 different ways you can butcher a chop (part of the loin) alone. Depending on what cut of meat you choose, there's an ideal way to cook it. Beef chuck, shoulder and short ribs are typically best when braised. Pork shoulder is best roasted. Cubed beef from the chuck or shoulder is great for stewing, as is the pork leg shank. But when you really want to get the most flavor out of your meat, the grill is the way to go. Here are five different cuts of meat that taste better grilled.
Some people might start ribs out in a pot of boiling water to make them more tender, but the grill or smoker should be the final destination for any rib recipe. Both pork and beef ribs are excellent on the grill if you give yourself enough time to make it happen. You can't rush ribs -- it will make the meat tough and difficult to get off the bone. This can also happen if your heat is up too high. "Slow and low" is the barbecue motto for a good reason. Set your grill to a medium heat, about 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 degrees Celsius). The ribs can take as long as 90 minutes and should never take less than 45 minutes. Make sure to rotate the ribs and cook them meat side down for a good, evenly cooked result. Adding flavored chips to your fire will enhance the grilled flavor.
Many cuts of pork are best braised or broiled, or in the case of bacon, cooked in a pan. When it comes to the loin, though, the grill is the way to go. Center-cut pork loins are great in the oven, but can be prepared on the grill for some extra flavor. The chop, especially the variety with the bone, should always be cooked on a grill. Look for chops with a thin ring of fat around the outer edge. The fat cooked on the grill can really enhance the flavor of the meat and can be cut away before being served. The bone-in chops are the best option for your grill. Ask any chef, and he or she will tell you that the bones in any cut of meat add flavor. Pair that with the smoky goodness of an open flame, and you're in for a delicious grilled treat.
The skirt steak is cut from the inner diaphragm muscle of the cow. It's one of the cheaper cuts of steak you can buy, with its fatty lining and tough reputation. But skirt steak can be very tender, as long as you prepare it on the grill. It's a great steak to use in Mexican dishes like steak tacos or fajitas. Marinate your steak for at least three hours in your choice of marinade. Or, you can use a spicy Mexican dry rub made from dried cumin, chili powder, ancho and chipotle chilies, and a little cayenne. Minced onion is another good addition to any skirt steak marinade. The great thing about skirt steak on the grill is that it's quick. Get the grill nice and hot, about 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius), and cook the steak for about four minutes per side for a tender medium rare.
The New York strip steak may be the most classic cut of meat you can throw over a hot fire. It's cut from the top loin muscle, which isn't very heavily used. As a result, the strip steak is one of the more tender cuts of beef you can sink your teeth into. A well-cut strip steak has a thin ring of fat around the steak and has plenty of marbling -- the tiny specks and streaks of fat running through the beef. Some people go for heavy marinades, but a good cut of strip steak requires little more than salt and pepper and a hot grill. Rubbing the steak with some olive oil, crushed garlic and rosemary is another simple and delicious strip option. Depending on the size, a strip steak should get about four to six minutes per side over a 350-degree Fahrenheit (176.6-degree Celsius) grill for medium rare.
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to steak, but many beef aficionados will tell you that the porterhouse is the best cut of meat. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, the hefty T-bone is left in, and the bone always adds extra flavor to your grilled steak. The second reason is that the porterhouse is really two steaks in one. On the large side of the bone, you have the classic strip steak. On the other is a little tenderloin treat. The porterhouse is similar to its cousin, the T-bone, but the tenderloin cut is larger. The porterhouse also typically has a nice amount of marbling. Just like with the strip steak, you can work with a dry rub or marinade depending on your taste. Heat your grill to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) and give it five to six minutes per side for medium rare. Adding flavored chips like apple wood boosts the grilled flavor even more.
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Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- "Bodacious Grilled Ribs." howstuffworks.com, 2009. http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/bodacious-grilled-ribs-recipe.htm
- "Cuts of meat." codicotecutchers.com, 2009. http://www.codicotebutchers.com/meat/cuts-of-meat.html
- "Grilled Porterhouse." cookingforengineers.com, 2009. http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/31/Grilled-Porterhouse-or-T-Bone-Steak
- "Grilled Skirt Steak." epicurious.com, 2009. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Skirt-Steak-234664
- "Guide to Cuts of Meat: Beef." mealsforyou.com, 2009. http://www.mealsforyou.com/cgi-bin/customize?meatcutsbeef.html
- "Guide to Cuts of Meat: Pork." mealsforyou.com, 2009. http://www.mealsforyou.com/cgi-bin/customize?meatcutspork.html
- "How to grill a strip steak." ochef.com, 2009.http://www.ochef.com/75.htm
- "Pork Chart." alpinemeatsanddeli.com, 2009. http://www.alpinemeatsanddeli.com/images/porkdiagram.jpg