Meat Cuts and Grilling

Summer is here, and people everywhere are firing up their grills with thoughts of great-tasting barbecue dishes. Most often, what comes to mind is the sight, sound, and aroma of a sizzling steak. But steak is far from the only option! With so many different cuts of meat, how do you know what works best for the grill? Which cut is the leanest? Fat Content and Cooking Tips for Popular Meat Cuts

Popular Meat Cuts

% Total Calories From Fat

Cooking Notes

Striploin (club steak, New York strip)

29%

Best grilled to medium rare.

Flank

35%

Great cut for a steak salad or sandwich; a leaner cut so do not overcook.

Sirloin (top sirloin)

39%

A flavorful cut that needs a marinade to tenderize. Teriyaki is the most popular flavor used.

Tenderloin (beef medallions or filet mignon)

41%

One of the leaner cuts, so cook quickly.

Rib-eye

51%

Best grilled to medium rare.

T-bone

55%

Often served as a large steak that is best shared.

Porterhouse

59%

Often served as a large steak that is best shared.

*One serving of meat is 3 oz, which is roughly the size of a deck of cards. Most restaurant meals serve much bigger portions, so be aware that you're getting multiple servings on your plate; it's best to share bigger cuts among two or three people. The nutritional information assumes all visible fat is trimmed and not eaten (except for marbled cuts which have the fat incorporated within the meat, making it inseparable).

Health Concerns When Grilling Meats

Grilled meats contain two substances that are considered carcinogenic - HCA and PAH. To minimize your exposure to them, grill smaller cuts of meat (to shorten cooking time), and marinate your steaks (which has multiple benefits: it flavors the meat, tenderizes it, and reduces the build-up of HCA). And of course, common sense will tell you to cut and discard any charred bits.

Is It Done Yet?

If you are a barbecue rookie, you can check for doneness two ways: with a meat thermometer or using the hand-touch method. Both are provided below. When using a meat thermometer, insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat without touching any bones.

Level of Doneness

Meat Thermometer Reading

Hand-touch Method

Blue rare

130 F

Meat feels like the soft fleshy part of your hand (at the base of your thumb) when your hand is relaxed.

Rare

130 to 140 F

Same as above

Medium rare

140 to 145 F

Meat texture feels like the base of your thumb when the thumb touches the forefinger.

Medium

145 to 150 F

Meat texture feels like the base of your thumb when the thumb touches the middle finger.

Medium well

150 to 160 F

Meat texture feels like the base of your thumb when the thumb touches the fourth finger.

Well done

160 to 170 F

Meat texture feels like the base of your thumb when the thumb touches the pinky finger.

Judy Tucker                           www.stressedandlovingit.com

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