Grill Master: 5 Essential Tips for Grilling Meat + How to Butterfly!

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Food & Cooking |


The grill can be for so much more than burgers and steak. While there’s nothing wrong with those classics, I’m afraid that cooking other cuts of meat on the grill is often overlooked because we tend to stick with what we know. But what about some of the other, bigger meat cuts? Like a shoulder or tenderloin?

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Grilling large cuts of meat is a lot different than grilling a steak or burger. Notice, I didn’t say harder, just different. Below are five simple cooking techniques that will help to understand the best way to grill large cuts.

5 must-know tips for grilling large cuts of meat

Tip #1: Season well

Use plenty of salt. If you are able to plan ahead, it’s best to salt your meat at least one day in advance. This gives the meat time to soak in the salt, so the entire cut is seasoned rather than just the exterior. This one simple tip greatly improves the flavor of your meat and is not just for grilling. Your roast chicken will never be the same!

Tip #2: For tougher cuts — low & slow

Briskets and shoulders need a long time to render the fat and break down the tissues to be tender. The long wait is worth it for their deep flavor and heft. Low and slow is the key here.

Tip #3: Use a thermometer for accuracy

The most accurate way to judge if the meat is done is to use a thermometer. There are great ones made for grilling that can alert you when the meat is done. Then you can sit down and enjoy a cold drink while the grill and thermometer do all the work.

Tip #4: Let it rest

Meat, especially large cuts, needs a long time to rest after it’s cooked. This way the meat softens and the juices redistribute.

Tip #5: For tender cuts without a lot of flavor (hello, tenderloin) — butterfly!

Both pork and beef tenderloins are great for the grill. They have a buttery, soft texture but quite frankly lack the deep flavor that you get from some of the tougher cuts, like a pork shoulder. To quicken the cooking time and add more flavor, I butterfly.

How to butterfly + grill a tenderloin

Butterflying is essentially opening up the meat in order to speed up the cooking time or to stuff the meat with all sorts of flavorful ingredients. Remember when we spatchcocked a chicken? It’s essentially the same method.

Here I’ve butterfly a pork loin.

Cut of pork tenderloin

1. Simply run a very sharp knife down the middle of the loin. Make thin cuts and gradually open it up so you don’t accidentally cut it all the way through. Cut it just enough so that the meat lays flat.

Butterflying Pork Tenderloin

Butchering a pork loin

2. From there you can stuff to your hearts desire. First, salt and pepper the meat. Then I added a couple of tablespoons of dijon mustard, fig preserves and finally Serrano ham. I tied it all up in a tight, uniform shape with cooking twine.

Seasoning a pork loin for the grill

Pork loin stuffed with Serrano ham and seasonings

Grilled Pork Loin Stuffed with Seasoning and Serrano Ham on Craftsy!

3. Turn the heat up all the way on one side of the grill, and turn the heat to low on the other side.

4. Sear the meat on all sides on the hottest part of the grill, then move the meat over to the low heat to finish cooking.

5. Cook until the thickest part of the loin reaches 160 F. Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes.

6. Slice and enjoy!

Is fish more your thing? If so, check out this great class Fire Up the Fish. In it you’ll learn how to grill salmon, lobster, swordfish and more. Grilled fish cakes? Yes, please!

You might also enjoy our post on how to grill vegetables.

What’s your favorite meat to cook on the grill?