One of my all-time favorite food items to cook has got to be steak. To me it doesn’t get any better than a nicely cooked steak, a few sides of vegetables, and an adult beverage of your choice. One great thing about cooking steak is that you have a few different options on how to prepare it. Today we’re going to show you how to cook steak 2 different ways: On the grill and with your stove using a cast iron skillet. These 2 methods are simple, efficient, and can be used in either a tailgating or homegating setting. Now I will admit that when I think of tailgating food, steak doesn’t come to the top of my mind. Depending on the grade and cut they can be pretty expensive, especially if you have a good amount of guests to feed. Also, who wants to fill up on a big steak when there’s lots of other food to try?! However, by purchasing some of the cheaper cuts and slicing them into bite size pieces, I think this would go well with any tailgating spread. In addition to showing you these cooking tips we’ll also provide some information on what to look for in a steak and how to get the most flavor out of these cheaper cuts of meat. So if you’re looking for some tailgating food ideas, take a look at the video and tips below!
Learning the Grades of Steak
Altogether, there are 8 grades of beef that determine the overall quality of a steak but only 3 of those are considered “consumer” grade by the USDA. These consumer graded steaks are what you will see anytime you visit a butcher’s shop, supermarket, or online retailer. According to the USDA, beef is graded in two distinct ways: “quality grades for tenderness, juiciness, and flavor; and yield grades for the amount of usable lean meat on the carcass.” In terms of quality, one big thing for us to take away from this is how much marbling the steak has. Marbling is the intramuscular fat that makes a steak flavorful.
The amount of marbling you can visually see in a steak is a good indicator of how fat or lean it is. The more thinner streaks of marbling you can see, the more fat it has. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the marbling adds really great flavor. But it will be less tender and lean, so you’ll want to find the right balance for your preference. I personally like a steak that has a little more marbling which increases the overall flavor, as I know of ways to cook them to also be tender.
The three main consumer grades given by the USDA are: Prime, Choice, and Select. Typically, the Prime cuts are going to cost you the most to purchase. They are commonly served in nice hotels & restaurants, and may be tougher to buy as a regular consumer. This is where having a great relationship with your butcher could come in handy 🙂
Next are the Choice and Select grades. You’ll be able to find these just about anywhere and are the preferred grades for most of the at-home grill master types. The Choice grades will still provide you with great quality, but less marbling than a Prime grade. The Select grades will provide you with even less marbling than the Choice, but will be more leaner if that is more of what you’re looking for.
In my experience, no matter if you’re cooking a Choice or Select grade steak, there’s always a way to cook it to your preference. Whether its using the reverse sear method to bring your steak up to the right temperature and finishing it off with a nice sear or by adding ingredients such as garlic, thyme, and butter to your cast iron skillet, any grade of steak can come out tasting fantastic.
Tips for Cooking Steak on the Grill
Make sure your steak is set out at least 30 minutes before grilling to get to room temperature.
Always season with at least kosher salt to help tenderize the meat.
Make sure your grill is pre-heated to desired temperature.
For this demonstration we’re cooking using direct heat, so no need to set up a two-zone grilling method. However, the two-zone grilling setup is my preferred way of cooking steak.
If need be, set a timer to help you keep track of where you are during the cook.
Let your meat rest off the grill for at least half the amount of time in which you cooked it.
Don’t forget to turn off your propane when you are finished!
Cut against the grain of the meat to maintain its tenderness.
Have all of your ingredients close by as you’ll need to work quickly.
Don’t be afraid of the butter!
Turn on a fan as it will get smoky during the sear process.
Watch out for splatter from the skillet.
The cast iron skillet will be hot, so make sure you have a pot holder nearby.
Similar to the grilling method, let your meat rest after you remove it from the stove.
Turn off the heating elements when they’re no longer in use.
Again, cut against the grain of the meat to maintain its tenderness.
Thank you for reading!
As we continue to grow this website, we’ll have more tailgating food recipes to share. But let us know what you think about this recipe. What, if anything, would you change about it? Is there one ingredient you would add or remove completely? What is your preferred cut or grade of steak? How do you like to prepare your steak? The great thing about cooking and grilling is there isn’t just one way to do it. I’m always curious to learn and hear from other peoples experiences, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!
The Tailgating Spot has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though we may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. If you like what we do here at The Tailgating Spot and would like to support us, you can help us out by shopping through our affiliate links.