The Best Cuts of Meats to Grill

Grilling is a fast cooking method involving direct heat, with meat being the most commonly grilled food. This technique differs from smoking or barbecuing, where meat is slow-cooked over several hours in indirect heat. Once you understand how to pick the right meat for grilling and recognize the best cuts, the grilling process becomes straightforward.

Best Meats to Grill

What Makes Meats Good for Grilling

Burgers and sausages are not your only options for grilling —  but you probably already know that. When it comes to beef, steaks work best on the grill, with expensive cuts like ribeye and filet mignon being preferable. Still, more affordable cuts like T-bone and strip loin can work just as well. Most steak cuts have enough fats to keep the cooked meat tender and flavorful. For pork, look for cuts with a dark pink to red color and enough marbling; these are ideal for grilling.

Chicken legs and thighs, being darker meat than the rest of the chicken, make excellent grilling options. Indeed, chicken is often considered the easiest meat to grill.

While lean, low-fat cuts, such as the ones mentioned above, perform well on the grill, be mindful to avoid ‘extra lean’ cuts. These extremely low-fat options may dry out and become rubbery when grilled.

List of the Best Types and Cuts of Meats to Grill

NameGrilling Temp.Grilling TimeMin. Target Internal Temp.Calorie/oz.Recipe to Try
T-bone Steak400°-450°F14-16 mins145°F72 kcalRock’s T-Bone Steaks
Porterhouse Steak400°-450°F12-15 mins145°F72 kcalGrilled Porterhouse Steak
Top Sirloin400°-450°F12-15 mins145°F69 kcalSirloin Steak with Garlic Butter
Strip Steak (New York Strip Steak)400°-450°F12-15 mins145°F72 kcalGrilled New York Strip Steak
Tenderloin400°-450°F10-12 mins145°F75 kcalGrilled Beef Tenderloin with Herb-Garlic-Pepper Coating
Tri-tip350°-400°F20-30 mins145°F76 kcalGrilled Tri-tip
Ribeye Steak400°-450°F14-18 mins145°F 79 kcalGrilled Ribeye Steak
Filet Mignon400°-450°F10-12 mins145°F69 kcalGrilled Filet Mignon
Ground Beef (Burger)350°-400°F 10-15 mins160°F71 kcalDelicious Grilled Hamburgers
Pork Belly225°-275°F25-35 mins165°F152 kcalGrilled Pork Belly with Sticky Sweet Glaze
Pork Chops375°-425°F15-20 mins145°F69 kcalGrilled Pork Chops
Pork Tenderloin375°-425°F15-30 mins145°F60 kcalGrilled Pork Tenderloin
Lamb Chops375°-425°F12-20 mins145°F78 kcalGrilled Lamb Chops
Chicken Legs or Thighs375°-425°F30-40 mins165°F49 kcalGrilled Chicken Drumsticks
Sausages (Kielbasa, Bratwurst etc.)350°-400°F15-20 mins160°FVariesGrilled Italian Sausage With Sweet-and-Sour Peppers and Onions

How Does the Type of Grill Matter

Plenty of different grills are available in the market, but they all have the same function of cooking the food in direct radiant heat. They can be divided into two main categories based on their heat source: 

  1. Charcoal Grills: As the name shows, these burn charcoal to produce heat. Meats cooked over a charcoal grill has a rich, smoky flavor, particularly desirable in thick steaks.
  2. Gas Grills: These run on propane gas and tend to preserve the original flavor of the meat, making it ideal for grilling burgers and sausages.

Pellet grills can be considered a third type, but they are similar to charcoal grills, except they use wood pellets instead of charcoal.


Can you grill frozen meat?

You can grill frozen meats, but be prepared for it to take about 50% longer to cook through and reach the target internal temperature. Thawing the meat before cooking helps it to cook more evenly.

Does grilling meat reduce fat?

When you grill meat, the direct heat causes a lot of the fat to melt and drip off the grilling rack. It not only adds flavor but also reduces the calorie content of the meat, making grilling a healthier cooking method than others that allow all of the fat to stay in the dish.