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Many of us enjoy cooking a steak every now and again, but few of us are running around buying expensive cuts of beef these days. Luckily, a lot of cheaper cuts are just as satisfying as a ribeye or tenderloin medallion, if maybe not quite as tender, for a third of the price.
I was perusing my grocery store app, thinking about Memorial Day. I would like to make a nice meal, but not spend a lot of money doing it. Sound familiar? Top sirloin steaks were on sale. Perfect. I got six steaks for $24. I would probably need to pay that for one ribeye.
What Is The Difference Between More And Less Expensive Steaks?
More expensive steaks tend to have more marbled fat. This makes for a more tender, juicy steak. Which cuts are considered the “nice” cuts changes with time though. For example, Tri-Tip used to be fairly cheap, since it is a tougher cut, and now it’s $15 per pound at my local Costco. Supply and demand, man.
Less expensive cuts of beef typically are less tender and may require more finesse to make them delicious. However, with just a little know-how, you can make a cheaper cut into a gourmet experience.
How Do I Cook An Inexpensive Steak?
If I do get my hands on a premium cut steak, I’m going to baste it in butter. It’s luxurious, and fun to do. It’s also a little bit of extra work. If I’m going to cook a less expensive cut of beef, I’m typically going to grill it.
Now, there are no rules here. If you want to butter baste your top sirloin, you do it! If you are looking for more of a weeknight steak, read on.
How To Prep Your Top Sirloin
For the purposes of this article, we are going to use top sirloin steaks. These are readily available and inexpensive.
For grilling steaks you will need:
- A propane or charcoal grill, or a grill pan for the stove.
- A probe thermometer.
Brine The Steaks
About an hour to an hour and a half before you want to put your steaks on the grill, take the steaks out of the fridge. Lay them out on a cutting board and pat them dry.
Season both sides of each steak with a generous amount of kosher salt and ground pepper. Let the seasoned steaks rest on the cutting board until you are ready to grill. This will let the salt make its way to the interior of the steak, seasoning the meat throughout. This process is called “dry brining.”
Cook The Steaks
When your steaks have been brining for about 45 minutes, go clean and preheat your grill to medium heat- about 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Before you put your steaks on, insert a probe thermometer. Just do it. Not using a thermometer does not make you a better person. Unless you have worked at a steakhouse and have cooked thousands of steaks, you can benefit from a thermometer. Insert the thermometer horizontally through the steak, not touching any bone or fat.
Insert the probe into the thickest part of one of the steaks, and set the thermometer five degrees below your final desired temperature. Carryover cooking will finish the steak as it rests, without overcooking. If you have a very thin steak, pull the steak when it’s 2 or 3 degrees below, as it won’t benefit as much from carryover cooking.
Here is a handy chart for steak doneness temps:
I like to flip my steaks when they are about 30 degrees away from being pulled from the grill.
So, if I was cooking steaks and wanted a medium doneness, I would set my thermometer to alert me at 140 degrees, and I would flip the steaks at about 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rest Your Steaks
If you cut into a steak right off the grill, you are going to lose a lot of juices. If you let it rest even for five minutes, you will be rewarded with tender, juicy goodness.
Resting meat gives the proteins time to relax a little, this expelling less liquid when cut. The juices redistribute throughout the piece of meat. Trust me, you want to rest your steaks.
Steaks do not need a long rest, since they are not huge pieces of meat. About five minutes should do the trick.
You do not have to spend a fortune to eat steak. Cheaper cuts, such as top sirloin, are much more affordable and often just as delicious as an expensive cut.
Go forth and confidently command the grill this summer! Also, please comment down below how you like to cook your steak!