yes, beef can be on a heart-healthy grill 

Citrus-Marinated Beef Top Sirloin & Fruit Kabobs
you already may be grilling lean

Looking to lean up your grilling game? You're in luck! Many of America's favorite cuts of beef for grilling are already lean. 

your grill and taste buds will thank you

What is more satisfying than the sizzle of steaks ringing out in the summer air and the beauty of beef’s grill marks glistening above the coals as America’s favorite protein moves from the grill to your plate? Oh, the anticipation of that savory goodness! On the other hand, is there more of a buzzkill than letting that beautifully cooked steak pass over you and settle on your mate’s plate because you’ve been told beef can’t be part of a healthy diet. Pure...and...utter...beef-less sadness. 

If you think you need to pass on beef for a healthy grilling season, put those tongs down, turn an attentive ear and happily make room on your plate. Beef definitely can be on a healthy grill. Don’t believe us? Believe the science.

Results from the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study demonstrated that a diet including lean beef every day is as effective at lowering total and LDL (bad) cholesterol as the gold standard heart-healthy DASH diet.1 The results go on to say that, when included as part of a healthy diet, lean choices - such as Top Sirloin, Tenderloin, Strip Steak and 95% lean ground beef - can reduce risk factors associated with heart disease.1,4 If those cuts sound familiar, it’s because 17 of the top 24 most popular cuts of beef sold at retail are lean and over 60 percent of whole muscle cuts found in the supermarket are considered lean when cooked with visible fat trimmed.2   

So how does this relate to your hopes and dreams of salvaging grilling season while maintaining a heart-healthy diet?  There are a host of other flavorful cuts of beef that, with a little seasoning and a little time, are perfect lean and economical options to bringing your grilling joy back to life.

most of your favorite cuts of beef are lean

Smoked Steak Skewers with Tomatoes, Onions and Olives

Top Sirloin

This is your “do anything” cut of beef in the steak world. Kabobs? You got it. Fajitas? Let’s hear that sizzle. Mouth-watering, tender steaks? Break out the cutlery. The sirloin is the perfect mix of flavor and tenderness. It doesn’t need much to be amazing except for a little salt and pepper. Heat up the coals and cozy it on down to its new home for the next few minutes. Sear to your desired temperature* and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. Pair with vegetables, fruit and whole grains. It really is that simple.

The sirloin is more affordable than some of the other premium steaks. Also, since a serving of beef is 3 ounces, cooked, you will have plenty of leftovers for the next day or two. That means weekend cookouts can be followed by the most epic leftovers for the office on Monday. 

 Depending upon the steak, be aware that the grain in most sirloins runs in two different directions. Make sure you cut against the grain. Check out some of the below recipes that use the sirloin.

Greek Beef Salad

grilled greek salad

Grilled Sirloin Steak with Spaghetti Squash and Edamame

grilled sirloin with spaghetti squash

Smoked Steak Skewers with Tomatoes, Onions and Olives

smoked steak skewers

Sous Vide Flank Steak Fajitas

flank steak

The king of Taco Tuesday is also a really versatile cut. The flank steak is a thin cut of beef with a lot of flavor and is still considered lean. Since it is thin, it can overcook easily, so a meat thermometer is your friend. Slice it thinly across the grain and it’s ready for a whole-grain corn tortilla, salad or bed of brown rice or quinoa.

Flank Steak benefits from a tenderizing marinade of balsamic vinegar, basil, Dijon mustard and garlic.

balsamic marinated flank steak

mediterranean grilling

mediterranean flank steak pita

Chimichurri-Marinated Strip Filets

Kansas city strip steak

This is the unicorn of the steak world. The beautiful combination of tenderness and flavor shouldn’t exist, but it does, and we couldn’t be more thankful. The Kansas City Strip (yes, Kansas City: sorry, Big Apple) gives us incredible versatility. The steak comes in both bone-in or boneless. Cook it whole and slice against the grain.

Check out these recipes using the strip steak. 

Chimichurri-Marinated Strip Filets

Chimichurri marinated strip steaks

Garden Herb Strip Steaks

garden herb strip steaks

Pomegranate Steak with Quinoa

pomegranate steak and quinoa

Lemon-Garlic Grilled Beef Tri-Tip Roast with Vegetables

Tri-Tip Roast

Once just a west coast steak, the tri-tip is spreading across the country. While it is sold as a roast, it is most popularly cooked as a steak. We highly recommend letting this steak rest and not cooking it beyond medium doneness (145° F), and the indirect heat or "reverse sear" method is recommended. As with the sirloin steak, the grain will go in two different directions on this cut, so make sure you always are cutting against the grain. 

The trip-tip can be served in slices, cut thinly for BBQ sandwiches and even carried over the next day for breakfast burritos.  

Check out these recipes that use tri-tip. 

Garden Grill Tri-Tip

garden grill tri-tip

Grilled Beef Tri-Tip Salad with Balsamic Dressing

grilled tri-tip salad with balsamic-dressing


Oh Filet, how much we love you. It’s like biting into a savory cloud of juicy perfection. Lean, tender and the perfect steak to impress your friends. Heck, you’ll even impress yourself. Just try it. You most likely have seen the videos of people cutting a filet with a’s that tender. However, with that tenderness comes a small cost of flavor when compared to something like a strip steak or a ribeye. But with a little salt and pepper and the natural flavor of the fire, you’ll be ready to pat yourself on the back and receive copious accolades from friends, family and social media if you’re the type to post food pics. #BeefForTheWin

Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

tenderloin, pear and cranberry salad

tenderloin with sweet onion corn salad

Garlic-Thyme Rub Tenderloin Steak

garlic thyme tenderloins

lean, cheaper cuts of beef that love a marinade (You'll love them too)

If you’re on a budget or trying to feed a large family, there also are plenty of lean cuts of beef that are very economical and very flavorful. These cuts just need a little bit of TLC in the form of a marinade, and you will fall in love with them. It’s important not to overcook these cuts of beef. Also, when you flip the steaks and pick them up, use a pair of tongs so you don’t lose any juiciness. 

Classic London Broil

bottom and top round (london broil)

When cut into thicker parts, this often is referred to as the London broil. It’s large enough to feed a family or provide you with leftovers for meal-prepping throughout the week. Some of those leftover ideas can include wraps, salads or sandwiches. Plan to marinate between 6-24 hours.

Grilled Top Round Steak with Parmesan Asparagus

grilled top round with parmesan asparagus 

Tangy Lime Grilled Top Round Steak


Asian Barbecue Steaks

Sirloin tip side

This is a different cut than the typical sirloin steak or sirloin filet. It’s still lean but will need some extra marinating to be cooked on the grill. With time and proper cooking, it will be amazing.

Recipe: Asian Barbecue Sirloin Tip Side

Mediterranean Eye Round Steaks

eye of round

They can look like a filet on the shelf. While they won’t be as tender with a marinade, they still offer lots of flavor and are a great option. The great news is you often can get these on sale. Plan to marinate this cut between 6-24 hours.

Recipe: Mediterranean Eye of Round

pairing beef with fruits, vegetables and whole grains

Fruit grilling tips

Many fruits taste even better on the grill! That's because the heat caramelizes the natural sugars found inside, making them an even sweeter partner to the savory goodness of beef. 

Fruits to include

  • Watermelons
  • Peaches
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Pears
  • Mango
  • Strawberries
  • Nectarines
  • Cantaloupe

Grilled Steak and Watermelon Salad

veggie grill tip

Try to avoid slathering your veggies with tons of salt or butter. We are still trying for a heart-healthy grill, right? So, go lighter on the seasoning, pair them with the hero cuts above, and you’ll have a satisfying and balanced meal.

veggies to include

  • Zucchini and summer squash 
  • Bell peppers 
  • Grilled romaine 
  • Grilled corn 
  • Asparagus 
  • Artichokes 
  • Mushrooms

Beef Lifestyle_Platter of steaks
grains and grills

If you're feeling like the plate needs a little more, here are some recommendations for items that can be prepared away from the grill and put on the plate.

grains to include

  • Brown or wild rice 
  • Quinoa 
  • Whole wheat pasta 
  • Whole wheat bread

Grilled Steak and Watermelon Salad

grilled steak and watermelon

kabob citrus recipe

citrus rubbed kabobs

Balsamic Marinated Beef Top Sirloin Steak & Asparagus

grilled steaks and asparagus

FY22 Summer Grilling Photography

You're still the grill master, but a grill master who is focusing on delicious, nutritious and wholesome food

While your status as grill master never left, don’t feel like you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor. Focus on cuts of beef that have “loin” or “round” in the name and pair them with grilled vegetables and whole grains. After all, we’ve waited all year for grilling season to begin. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if we couldn’t enjoy the foods we love while sticking to a diet that’s good for us?   

For more information on how beef can fit into a healthy and balanced diet, visit .

*USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145° F. 


  1. Roussell, MA, Hill AM, Gougler TL, West SG, Vanden Heuvel JP, Alaupovic P, Gilles PJ, Kris-etherton PM. Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet study; effects on lipids, lipoproteins, and apolopoproteins. AM J Clin Nutr 2012; 95(1) 
  2. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a Contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. Lean Matters: Chronicling Beef’s Change from Gate to Plate. 2014. Available at 
  3.  Consumer Beef Tracker, NCBA, 2020
  4.  Fleming JA, et al.  Effect of varying quantities of lean beef as part of a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern on lipids and lipoproteins: a randomized crossover controlled feeding trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2021; nqaa375