These Affordable Cuts of Steak Are Perfect for Weeknight Grilling
The most affordable cuts of beef don't always need to be reserved for slow-cooker stews and all-day oven braises. Here, discover some of our favorite budget steak cuts that are perfect for busy weeknights where all you need to do is season the steak, toss it on the grill, and then enjoy a beefy dinner.
Flank and Skirt Steaks
Flank and skirt steaks are a leaner and more economical cut of beef than most, but their reputation for needing a marinade has prevented them from being a great spur-of-the-moment choice for grilling. Luckily for us, food science has actually disproven the myth of a mandatory marinade. The new solution to a tender and flavorful skirt or flank steak is naturally suited for weeknight cooking (hooray!), which is to drizzle on a punchy sauce as soon as the meat is done cooking; as it rests, and the protein fibers relax and soak up all of the flavors. Talk about marvelous multitasking!
Skirt steak is naturally very thin, but a quick and effective way to the most tender grilled flank steak in the least amount of time is to put it through a few rounds with your meat mallet before throwing it on the coals. Pounding a flank steak to an even 1/2"-thickness will tenderize it plenty…it will also mean that it cooks much faster so keep an eye on it; on a hot grill, it may only take four or five minutes to have a steak that you can slice up and use for the main course salad or sandwich of your dreams.
Strip steaks are a great option for when you're wanting the feel of a nice steak dinner at home for a fraction of the cost of going out. This quick-cooking steak will satisfy your red meat cravings, and it won't need much more than a smattering of salt and pepper and a hot grill to make it taste great. One steak will be plenty to feed two, especially with hearty sides to go along with it like this Easy Creamed Spinach and crispy Smashed Potatoes.
Chuck Eye Steak
The chuck eye steak is nicknamed the 'poor man's rib-eye' by butchers, and it is a fabulous alternative to the splurge steak it is compared to. Known for its rich and beefy flavor, this cut comes from a part of the cow that normally needs low-and-slow cooking methods like braising in order to become tender. But the chuck eye steak's unique location next to the ribs means that it shares many of the same qualities as a rib-eye: rich, fatty, with a satisfying chew. This steak will grill up similarly to a rib-eye, so follow the method and timing of this recipe that is tailored to that specific type of cut. As for sides, it would be great with dishes like grilled corn on the cob and potato salad.
Flat Iron Steak
If you have filet mignon taste but you're on a Hamburger Helper™ budget, then the flat iron steak is your dream cut for grilling. It comes from a part of the cow that gets quite a bit of exercise (read: tough and best for braising), butchers have devised a way to cut the flat iron steak so that it remains very tender. This versatile steak is great for the grill, see what we mean by making this super summery recipe for Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions.