Think you need to spend a lot of money for amazing grilled dinner recipes? Save a few dollars and put these cheap cuts of meat to the test for the best grilling recipes all season long. 

Great grilling doesn’t always mean spending top dollar on prime cuts and butcher-quality steaks. Explore a variety of affordable beef cuts that deliver mouthwatering flavors without breaking the bank. And we’re not just talking about ground beef burgers. We’re talking about the most inexpensive steak recipes that still taste like a million bucks.

Elevate your grilling game with these common budget-friendly steak options, perfect for satisfying both your taste buds and wallet. Now, that you’ve chosen your type of steak, all you’ve got to do is get out your grill and clean it for amazing recipes all season long.

The Best Cheap Beef Cuts for Grilling

Choosing budget-friendly beef cuts is essential for enjoying delicious grilled meals without straining your finances. These economical options allow you to experiment with new flavors and recipes while also feeding the whole family. 

Top Sirloin Steak

Top sirloin is a lean and moderately tender cut from the upper rear of the cow. It has a milder beef flavor perfect for robust steak sauces but is still a great choice for grilling hot and fast. Top sirloin steak grills quickly and is perfectly portioned for individual servings with your favorite side dishes. It’s a good alternative for grilled filet mignon.

  • Grill over high heat for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare or until the internal temperature reaches 130-135°F.

Chuck Steak

This cut comes from the shoulder area and is known for its rich, beefy flavor. It can be a bit tough, but soaking it in a steak marinade and cooking it to medium rare can help tenderize this cheap cut of meat. Chuck steak is perfect for grilling in recipes that keep it as a steak or diced and skewered for kebabs. We like this cut as a great alternative to ribeye, and other expensive steaks are just too expensive.

  • Grill over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side for medium-rare or until the internal temperature reaches 130-135°F.

Want a leaner version? Grab a ranch steak for the big flavor you get from the chuck but with less marbling and connective tissue. The ranch steak is similar to a flat iron steak but a smaller cut of meat.

Sliced medium rare blade steak on a plate showing a rose-pink center.

Blade steak

This unknown cut may be the hardest to find on this list, but that makes it all the more fun. The blade steak isn’t from the chuck but runs down the back of the cow, under the shoulder blade, leading to its other names of lifter or wedge meat. Although this cut is not tender, it backs the big, bold beefy flavor you get from the rib primal, and we think if you’re feeling adventurous, it’s a great cut to throw on the grill.

Use caution through and make sure not to cook the steak temperature past medium for the most tender bites and pair this with Cowboy butter on the side for dipping.

Skirt Steak

This long, thin cut comes from the diaphragm area of the cow. It’s prized for its deep flavor and relatively tender texture when cooked properly. Skirt steak is perfect sliced thinly for grilled fajitas, stir-fries, or just simply throwing on the grill with some salt and pepper for grilled steak tacos. Make sure to slice it against the grain to maximize tenderness.

  • Grill over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare or until the internal temperature reaches 130-135°F.

Flank Steak

Flank steak is lean and has a strong beefy flavor. It comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow and is often used in dishes that call for strips of beef, like grilled steak salads. A good flank steak marinade can help to it for a few hours or overnight to help tenderize the meat. Grill it quickly over high heat to avoid overcooking. Slice it thinly against the grain to serve for the best results. It’s perfect for grilled flank steak tacos with fun taco bar ideas or carne asada. 

  • Grill over high heat for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare or until the internal temperature reaches 130-135°F.

Hanger Steak 

Also known as the “butcher’s steak,” hanger steak is a flavorful and relatively tender cut from the cow’s lower belly. It’s best when marinated and cooked over high heat to medium rare. Hanger steak works well in a variety of dishes, from steak frites to Asian-inspired stir-fries. It’s even great steak grilled with peppers and onions for quick hoagies. Add some cheese, wrap them in foil, and toss them back on the grill for a few minutes for an amazing tailgate or camping recipe.

  • Grill over high heat for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare or until the internal temperature reaches 130-135°F.

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and cooking times may vary based on the steaks thickness, the grill’s heat, the environment and weather, and your individual preferences. Always use a digital meat thermometer to ensure the meat reaches your desired internal temperature for food safety and optimal taste.

These cheaper cuts of steak are perfect for grilling on traditional charcoal grills, gas grills, flat top griddles like the Blackstone grill, or even pellet smokers and don’t require a Michelin star for perfect results. Just like with expensive steaks, like the show-stopping grilled tomahawk, set up your grill for 2-zone grilling, making a hot side and a cooler side to control the cook. Do this with charcoal by stacking lit charcoal to one side of the grill or on a gas grill by igniting one burner and leaving the others off or on low. All grills hold heat differently, so take the time to familiarize yourself with your grill before cooking. 

When grilling, whether it’s a cheap cut of meat or a top-tier New York strip steak, we always recommend a quality digital meat thermometer so you can cook your steak to your desired doneness. And for even more added barbecue flavor to your budget meals, consider adding wood chips or chunks right to your charcoal. 


  1. Marinate: Use a flavorful marinade with acidic ingredients (such as vinegar or lemon juice) to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. We love our all-purpose steak marinade as an easy go to to customize for any steak. Allow the beef to marinate for at least a few hours, or ideally overnight, for best results. However, avoid marinating too long as the acidity can cause the texture to get mushy. 8 to 12 hours is our max time for marinating beef. 
  2. Season well: Don’t be shy with the seasoning. Use a generous amount of salt and your favorite herbs and spices to enhance the meat’s natural flavors. We love a good dose of GirlCarnivore Ooomami Powder for bringing out steaks’ beefy flavor.
  3. Know whether to cook Low and Slow or Hot and Fast: Some cuts benefit from low and slow cooking methods, like smoking, which helps to break down tough fibers and create a tender, juicy end result. Others are served by hot and fast grilling over direct heat. Knowing what your inexpensive cut needs for the best results is the chef’s secret to making the most out of every cut. 
  4. Slice against the grain: The biggest trick to making sure your cut tastes amazing is how it’s sliced. When cutting the cooked meat, be sure to slice it against the grain. This shortens the muscle fibers and makes the beef easier to chew, making these cheap cuts of beef top-tier tender meat.  
  5. Rest the meat: After grilling, let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute within the meat before slicing into it. 
  6. Pair with your favorite side dishes: Complement your budget-friendly beef cut with delicious and flavorful side dishes, such as smoked baked beans, grilled vegetables, smoked baked potatoes, fresh salads, keto creamed spinach, or creamy mashed potatoes. And don’t forget to grab wine glasses and the perfect wine pairing. This will help create a well-rounded meal and stretch your dollars even further.

The best steak sauces

Make these largely overlooked cheap cuts of steak taste great by adding a homemade sauce. Even the toughest cut can be helped with a fresh compound butter recipe, chimichurri, or steak sauce.

FAQs for Perfectly grilling cheap steaks

How do I tenderize cheap cuts of steak before grilling?

For some cheap cuts, a great way to tenderize them is to marinate them for several hours before grilling. We recommend this for flank steaks, chuck steaks, hanger, and skirt steaks.

Can I still achieve a nice sear on a cheap cut of steak?

Yes, you absolutely can! To achieve a nice sear on a cheap steak cut, ensure your grill is preheated to high heat, and always pat the steak dry before seasoning it. Sear the steak on the hot side of the grill, without moving it, for a few minutes on each side to get those nice grill marks.

Is it necessary to rest a cheap steak before serving?

Yes, this rule applies to all cuts of meat. Always rest your meat a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy steak. To really add flavor, add a tablespoon of homemade compound butter on top while the meat rests.

Now that you’ve got some inspiration, set the table and light the charcoal. Start making the most of these cheap cuts of meat for grilling season! 

This article first appeared on Food Drink Life.

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.


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