Nothing tastes, sounds, and smells more like summer than a juicy steak sizzling on the grill. Unfortunately for meat lovers, many choice cuts like New York strip cost at least $15 a pound, which is pretty pricey for a family dinner. And forget about it if you are hosting a barbeque party.
Related: The Best Steaks in the U.S.
Shine spoke with two experts, John Stage, owner of Dinosaur BBQ, and Kari Underly, a third generation butcher and author of The Art of Beef Cutting, about their favorite budget cuts. Stage goes for chewier meat with big beefy flavor and Underly clued us in to the most tender of the cheaper steaks.
Stage likes to use a tenderizing tool called a jaccard to break up the connective tissue in tougher cuts. You can also tenderize meat with a fork. His favorite steaks do well with dry rubs or marinades. Cook on medium to high heat until the meat fully caramelizes and releases from the grill before flipping.
Related: 10 Nerdy Accessories for your Grill
Skirt steak. This flat, thin steak is a little chewy but has great flavor. "I'll eat a skirt steak as quick as a New York strip," Stage says. "It's a little chewy but as far as flavor goes, I prefer it to a more expensive cut like a rib-eye." This well-marbled steak is quick and easy to cook.
Flank steak. Stage says this thin, lean steak has big flavor but it's very lean, which makes it a bit tougher. It benefits from at least four hours in a marinade and should be cooked to medium and sliced against the grain.
Top Round. Also called London Broil, this steak benefits from slower cooking on indirect heat. Stage applies a dry rub about an hour before grilling to bring out the flavor and help tenderize.
To find the most economical cut, Underly suggests shopping for the steak that is in the grocery store flyer. "There will be a good selection of what's being promoted." Her approach to seasoning is simple -- a quick rub of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper before grilling.
Chuck-eye steak. This cut comes from the same muscle as the rib-eye but is about half the price.
Flatiron steak. "The great thing about this cut is that it's the second most tender muscle after tenderloin," says Underly. It also maintains some juiciness if you overcook it, so it is a good choice for people who like their meat well done.
Sirloin tri-tip. This is the most tender of the budget steaks that are cut from the round. Grill to medium and slice thin on a diagonal across the grain.
Underly says the best way to buy an affordable, tasty steak is to make friends with the butcher. "They will steer you in the right direction."
John Stage's Korean Marinade
Makes 4 cups
1 cup soy sauce
1 ⅓ cup teriyaki sauce
⅔ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
½ cup sesame oil
4 oz. dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Dump all the ingredients into a bowl and mix them together. Store in a plastic or glass container until ready to use.
John Stage's Red Rub
¼ cup smoked paprika
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup raw sugar
2 tablespoons dark chili powder
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 ½ tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix together in a bowl. You will have leftover rub; store it in an air-tight container until ready to use.