Tips for the Ultimate Labor Day Barbecue


Best Labor Day Steaks

Hamburgers might be great, but not for everybody. For those who want a really exceptional barbecue, pick up some juicy steaks.

Again here, look at the grading of meat. Prime is going to be virtually impossible to find. Popovic warns not to go below choice.

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"You always want to start with the best product," he said. "If you downgrade, you are not going to have an enjoyable eating experience."

With any lesser-quality meat, you are going to have to marinate it and pierce the meat to tenderize it. Those holes will also cause the beef to lose its juice and flavor.

"Even if you are on a budget, there are high-quality products out there," Popovic said, noting that a flat-iron steak offers great taste at a good price.

The type of steak you pick "really depends on your personal flavor" he said. A ribeye, for instance, is a "manly, manly steak." A filet mignon or tenderloin is softer.

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"Look at the labeling and talk to your butchers and managers," Popovic advises.

Ribeyes go for about $12.99 to $13.99 a pound, New York strip steaks about $11.99 a pound and filet mignon for $17.99 a pound.

Now when you get to the grill, heat it up really hot, throw the steak on and just season with salt and pepper. That highlights the flavor of the steak. With a good cut of meat, nothing else is needed. And Popovic said to season from high above so the spices will evenly disperse.

Sear the steak so its gets a nice hard crust, but the inside stays soft and chewy.

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"A lot of times you see a lot of people move around a steak a lot," Popovic said. "The juices fall off, into the flames and you're losing all that flavor."

Don't use a fork because it pierces the meat and forces out the juices. Use tongs.

Again take out that instant-read thermometer: 130 to 140 degrees will be really rare, 145 for medium rare and well done is 160 and above.

Let the steak rest after it comes off the grill. That redistributes all the juices and will actually cook the meat for another 5 degrees.

Finally, eat and enjoy.

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