Top 10 Can't-Miss Meats for Grilling



For true lovers of things seared or smoked, be it by charcoal or gas, the grill is always there. Grilling is an art form, one that draws flavor from the most prosaic of meats in a manner that shames the stolid work of an oven or stove top. So when you approach a grill, you should do so with an offering worthy of your backyard mini-volcano god. Choose from among the top 10 meats for grilling, and you'll enjoy a most savory grilling experience.

The Burger

A "universal favorite," the burger likely leaps to mind when you think backyard barbecue. It can be as simple as ground chuck and a slab of American cheese, or you can go the gourmet route and encrust it with bacon and blue cheese or top it with pineapple and chilies. Commonplace, but hardly common, the best burger is a simple, delicious one made from a mix of ground sirloin and chuck. Add salt and pepper, the cheese of your choice, and behold the grilled meat on which nations have been built.


The T-Bone

The T-bone is a cut of meat that derives its name from a T-shaped bone with meat on both sides. Perfect for sharing (or indulging yourself), the larger side of the cut contains meat from the strip loin, while the smaller side contains meat from the tenderloin. Loins abound, but the T holds them together for your enjoyment. The key to cooking a T-bone on the grill is to sear it on high heat on both sides for a few minutes before moving it back to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.


New York Strip Steak

The strip steak comes from a muscle that does less than its share of work and therefore is particularly flavorful and tender. The grilling philosophy for a New York Strip steak can be summed up as "less is more." Rub it with garlic salt and fresh ground pepper, cook it over high heat with the grill open to seal in the juices, and you'll be in a New York state of mind in about four minutes per side.


Chicken Breast

Marinate them before grilling, or simply season them with a rub to hold in flavor, but be sure to cook chicken breasts to at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure all of the pink is gone. Slather them in barbecue sauce, or try the same with a balsamic vinaigrette and serve them over a bed of wild rice for a more gourmet, but easy to achieve, repast.


Pork Tenderloin

Try it with an Italian-dressing marinade, allowing an hour for the meat and marinade to get to know each other. Cook over high heat, allotting 10 minutes of grill time per pound. Let one side cook until the outside of the cut of meat darkens and appears to have burn marks where it meets the grill. Flip and repeat, then enjoy.


Carne Asada

Most any cut of beef can be butterflied into thin sheets to make carne asada, but your best bet is to make it from skirt steak or flank steak. Marinate it, or go simple and cook it with an olive oil, salt and pepper rub. Wrap it in a warm tortilla and marry it with avocado, and pico de gallo for a meal that's south-of-the-border but well north of ordering a pizza.



Swordfish steaks seem made for the grill. They come from a larger, predatory animal, and therefore the meat is, in comparison to other fish, relatively tough. Keep things simple, and try a marinade that consists of olive oil, lemon juice and a few dashes of hot pepper sauce. Grill for eight to 10 minutes over medium-high heat.



The ignominious moniker "Chicken of the Sea" doesn't do the tuna justice. Think outside of the can, and realize that the grilled tuna steak is an easily prepared delight that can quickly become a regular on your weekly menu. Whip up a simple marinade consisting of olive oil, the juice of a lemon, oregano, salt and pepper. Let the fish sit for a few hours and then grill each side for about four minutes.



Considered an oily fish, salmon is chock full of protein, much sought after omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Served as an appetizer or as an entree, grilled salmon is best cooked with the skin attached. If you prefer a less "fishy" flavor, cut away the skin and any gray matter left on the meat.



Fresh or saltwater, these aptly named little crustaceans can pack flavor-filled wallop. The devil may be in the shelling (as well as the deveining), and when grilling, always be sure to soak your wooden skewers. Add a zesty marinade or baste with garlic-infused olive oil. No matter what, it's doubtful you can make enough.