Summer’s here, time to grill! Meat is the star of any BBQ party. With 6 cuts to choose from, we’ll share marinating tips, seasonings, and grilling techniques for a successful BBQ.
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1. Skewers and Kabobs
When it comes to BBQs, skewers and kabobs are always a crowd pleaser. They are versatile, easy to handle, and perfect for grilling. But what types of meat cuts work well on skewers and kabobs?
For skewers and kabobs, you’ll want to choose meat cuts that are tender and quick-cooking. Chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, and lamb leg are all excellent choices. These cuts are lean, and flavorful, and cook evenly on skewers. Beef sirloin is another great option as it remains tender and juicy even when cooked over high heat. For a seafood twist, consider using salmon. This fatty fish holds up well on the grill and imparts a delightful smoky flavor when barbecued.
Marinating meat improves taste and tenderness. A good marinade includes acid, oil, and flavorings. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Seasoning is important for skewers and kabobs. Salt and pepper enhance flavors, while spices and herbs can be used for more complex tastes. Tougher cuts may need extra seasoning.
2. Rib Cuts
Ribs are a BBQ classic. They’re meaty, flavorful, and fun to eat. However, not all rib cuts are created equal. So, what are the different types of rib cuts, and how do they differ in flavor profiles?
Pork ribs come in different cuts: baby back ribs are smaller and lean, while spare ribs are larger and have more fat for tenderness. Beef ribs from the cow’s rib section offer a rich, beefy taste, albeit requiring more preparation. Yet, their delicious outcome is worth the effort.
For tender, juicy ribs, grill them slowly at a low temperature (around 225°F) for several hours. Use wood chips for added flavor. Another method is the 3-2-1: grill uncovered for 3 hours, wrap in foil for 2 more hours, then finish without foil for 1 hour. This gives delicious, smoky ribs.
3. Steak Cuts
Steak is arguably the king of the BBQ. Its robust flavor and tender texture make it a favorite among meat lovers. But what are the best steak cuts for grilling?
The Tomahawk steak, a bone-in ribeye cut, is one of the most impressive steaks you can grill. It’s large, richly marbled, and full of beefy flavor. The T-bone and Porterhouse steaks are other excellent choices, offering two different textures and flavors in one cut – the tender filet mignon and the flavorful New York strip.
The Top Sirloin is a leaner option than ribeye but still flavorful. Flank steak is lean and tasty, great for fajitas. Use a meat thermometer to cook steak to perfection: 130-135°F for medium-rare, 135-145°F for medium, and 160°F and above for well done. Let steak rest after grilling for moistness and flavor. Rest for at least half the cooking time.
4. Pork Cuts
Pork is a versatile meat that’s perfect for grilling. But what are the best cuts of pork for the BBQ? The pork shoulder, often referred to as Boston Butt, is an excellent cut for slow cooking on the BBQ. It has the right amount of fat that melts away during slow cooking, resulting in tender, pull-apart meat that’s perfect for pulled pork.
Pork tenderloin is another great cut for grilling. It’s lean, tender, and cooks quickly, making it perfect for weeknight BBQs. Pork chops, either bone-in or boneless, are also a good choice. They’re meaty, flavorful, and relatively quick to grill.
A brine improves pork’s taste and moisture while cooking. It consists of water, salt, sugar, spices, herbs, and aromatics. Marinating pork in citrus juice, spices, and herbs adds flavor. A dry rub of brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper pairs nicely with pork. Adjust ratios to suit personal taste. The rub’s sweet and smoky flavors enhance pork’s natural sweetness.
5. Chicken Cuts
Chicken is a BBQ staple. It’s affordable, versatile, and loved by almost everyone. But what are the best cuts of chicken for grilling?
Chicken legs and thighs are excellent for grilling. They’re juicy, flavorful, and relatively forgiving – even if you overcook them a bit, they’ll still be delicious. Chicken wings are another great option, especially for parties and gatherings. They’re quick to cook and fun to eat. Chicken breasts are a healthier option, but they require careful cooking as they can easily become dry. To prevent this, consider brining or marinating them before grilling.
To keep your grilled chicken juicy and flavorful, there are a few strategies you can employ. First, use a marinade or brine. This not only adds flavor but also helps to tenderize the meat. Second, avoid overcooking. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of your chicken – it’s done when it reaches 165°F at the thickest part. Lastly, let your chicken rest for a few minutes after grilling. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, keeping it moist and delicious.
6. Lamb Cuts
Lamb is a meat with a rich, distinct flavor that can be a wonderful addition to any BBQ. But what are the best cuts of lamb for grilling?
Lamb chops, either loin chops or rib chops, are excellent for grilling. They’re small, tender, and quick-cooking, making them perfect for a BBQ. Lamb leg steaks are another good option. They’re lean, flavorful, and can stand up to strong marinades. The lamb shoulder is also suitable for grilling, particularly when cut into small chunks for skewers or kabobs. This cut has a good amount of fat, which keeps it juicy and flavorful during grilling.
Marinating lamb before grilling can enhance its flavor and tenderize the meat. A simple marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper works well with lamb. For a Middle Eastern twist, consider a marinade of yogurt, garlic, cumin, coriander, and lemon juice. When it comes to seasoning lamb, simplicity is often the best approach. Salt and pepper can bring out the natural flavors of the meat. For added flavor, consider rubbing the lamb with a mixture of garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest before grilling.