The Worst Cut Of Steak To Grill, According To A Chef

Grilled steak can be a real delight — the juicy, red center, smoky sear, and savory richness make it the perfect accompaniment for tangy coleslaw or veggies that can stand up to the char of your grill. However, pick the wrong cut, and you may be in for a terrible texture. Food Republic reached out to Chef CJ Jacobson of Aba Miami to get some advice. For him, there is one cut that is simply the worst choice when it comes to grilling: filet mignon.

"The reason comes down to preference," Jacobson says, but his opinion also just makes practical sense. Filet mignon is cut from the narrower side of a whole tenderloin, which is located toward the back of the cow's body beneath the spine. It is insulated by a layer of soft fat and does not see a lot of movement. That means it stays tender, and the filet mignon portion is the most tender of the whole larger cut. As such, it is incredibly delicate, and cooking it on the open flame of the grill is risky business — it is really easy to accidentally overcook it. This cut also has very little fat, which can cause it to dry out quickly.

Instead, Jacobson says, "I prefer a filet getting a full crisp sear on a cast iron pan." He also likes to "finish a steak by butter [basting] with garlic and thyme." Doing so adds necessary fat and lovely flavor to an otherwise lean and mild-tasting cut.

More cuts of steak to avoid grilling

When it comes to grilling, skip the super delicate (and expensive!) cuts, such as beef tenderloin steaks, which have identical pitfalls to filet mignon. While sirloin is quite flavorful, it is also very lean, which makes it prone to drying out. The best cuts of steak for this cooking method have lots of fat. Also, very large steaks like T-bones or porterhouses are particularly challenging to cook evenly, especially for a novice griller. These are essentially two steaks in one: The first portion is the strip, and the other is a segment of the tenderloin. This means that each part will cook at different rates, so it is likely you will end up with a steak that is tragically both overcooked and undercooked.

Instead, choose a piece of beef with ample fat and flavor. According to Chef CJ Jacobson, the absolute best cuts of steak to grill have plenty of marbling. New York strip, ribeye, short rib, flat iron, and skirt steaks are all solid options.