Why You Should Be Grilling Off-Cuts + 6 Meat Cuts to Try

This summer, feed your family for less. It never ceases to amaze us how quickly barbecue supplies can add up, especially when you invite over the neighbors. Thankfully, you don't have to stop inviting your friends over. All you have to do is trade in those T-bones or filet mignon for an off-cut or more primal cuts of meat.

Costly beef cuts aren't your only option when it comes to grilling, though beef brisket and ribeye steak are popular, tender cuts for the grill. There is a whole world of off-cuts out there who are just as delicious as the more fashionable, higher-quality cuts available. Think of them as the under-the-radar best cuts and just waiting for you to discover them. Here are six of them.

1. Skirt Steak/Flank Steak

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By now, skirt steak is a well-known off-cut. In fact, it is often sold at a premium. Despite that, it is still less expensive than some of its more familiar cousins. If you're new to the world of off-cuts and don't completely trust that they will deliver the same quality as your beloved T-bone, start here. You won't be disappointed.

While a skirt steak and a flank steak are not entirely the same cut of meat, they can be used interchangeably in most recipes that call for different cuts. While a hanger steak is also similar to this cut of meat, it has only recently become available at your local butcher in the U.S., whereas before it was a popular restaurant-only cut. Get a recipe here.

2. Bavette

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Also called flap steak, this cut comes from under the sirloin, next to the porterhouse and T-bone. It's not as fatty as a skirt steak, but it is slightly thicker which makes it great if you are determined to use a flavorful marinade before your meat hits the grill. 

Available in large sections with a longer cooking time, bavette is an American primal cut that's often overlooked at the butcher counter, though expensive representative cuts like porterhouse loin steaks often take its place. Get a recipe here.

3. Flat Iron

flat iron steak
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This cut comes from in between the shoulder blades of a cow and is surprisingly tender. It is also rather thin, so cook it over a medium-high heat and keep alert. You don't want it to burn up.

The flat iron steak tends to have excellent marbling, making it a supple choice for the grill or for slow cooking away in the Crock-Pot. If you're looking for a tender and delicious substitute for a sirloin roast or pot roast, the flat iron steak is your go-to in the meat case. Get a recipe here.

4. Petit Tender

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All this off-cut of steak needs is a simple rub and a quick sear to render it perfect. It does, however, have to rest a little longer than other steak cuts. That's okay because it'll give you plenty of time to whip up a side dish.

Also known as the beef shoulder tender petite roast, this cut originates from the Chuck Shoulder Clod and can be grilled whole. Get the recipe here.

5. Bone-In Short Rib

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Of all the steak cuts, this one has a nice marbling of fat which allows you to enjoy the naturally complex flavor of steak without having to do too much work for moist cooking. Really just a dash of salt and pepper will do. If you really want to gild the lily, you can add a pat of butter, but unlike some cuts of meat, it is not at all necessary here.

Pro tip: When grilling this fatty cut, carve out a valley in the coals directly below where you'll be grilling your short rib. That way, when the fat drips down, it won't drip directly onto red hot coals and flare up.

Get the recipe here.

6. Tri-Tip

grilled tri-tip
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Tri-tip is a wonderful off-cut option if you have a large or picky family to feed (or both)! If you opt for the tri-tip, you can easily feed 10-12 people all of whom like different levels of doneness for their steak. Since the ends of this cut narrow significantly, you will effortlessly have slices that range from medium-rare to well-done.

Plus, this cut is one of the best to leave in an overnight marinade to maximize flavor. Get a recipe here.

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