Grilling season is beginning and it’s time to start thinking about those mouthwatering steaks. So, how do you grill the perfect steak?
Whether using gas or charcoal, the rules for grilling are the same. By following this step-by-step guide, you will soon enjoy mouthwatering steaks.
The most important step to grilling the perfect steak is choosing the right meat. Thin steaks dry out and become tough when grilled so choose a steak one to two inches thick. An ideal steak has fat throughout the cut. Good-quality chuck steaks are meaty with a mild marble through the meat.
Common thought is the filet or tenderloin is the best cut of meat. These are tender steaks, but they need a lot of seasoning to get a robust flavor. Ribeyes have great flavor but are fatty and expensive.
I love a top sirloin. It’s lean and flavorful but tough due to the lack of fat. Top sirloin can be hard to find so I substitute a good-quality chuck steak often or a thick, New York strip steak.
Before grilling your steaks, take them out of the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature. Do this at least 45 minutes before grilling.
Season your meat at least 20 minutes before you grill, allowing the salt and spices to dissolve into the meat instead of falling off into the grill. I avoid prepackaged steak seasoning, using my own recipe of meat rub because sometimes, less is better when it comes to flavoring a steak. You want the natural flavor of the meat to come through. I like to use sea salt, black pepper and a little garlic salt for my steak. I don’t recommend using sauce or marinade unless you have a low-quality cut of meat that would be enhanced by a little extra. Sometimes I take a small dab of unsalted butter and let it melt over the top of the steak right before removing from the grill. This heightens the flavor of the meat.
Start with a hot grill. Your charcoal needs to have an ash coating. If you use a gas grill, preheat to at least 600 degrees F. You want a fire hot enough to cook the steak to the doneness you want in the shortest time. Coat your grates with vegetable oil or a nonstick spray made especially for grilling.
The most important rule for grilling a juicy steak is cooking it fast and removing it from the heat the minute it’s done. Use a digital meat thermometer to check the meat for doneness. Avoid the temptation to keep turning your meat; flip the steak once and give each side a quarter turn.
Tip: When you flip your steak, never put it back in the same spot; the grill will be cooler in that area. You want to continue cooking the meat at a high temperature so find a hot spot elsewhere on the grill.
Temperatures and approximate times for grilling a 1-inch steak:
Rare: 120 – 130 degrees F – 7-8 minutes each side
Medium Rare: 130 – 140 degrees F – 8-9 minutes each side
Medium: 140 – 150 degrees F – 9-10 minutes each side
Tip: Try not to cook a steak above medium. Any higher doneness will dry out your meat, reduce the flavor and make it tough; reserve well done for slow cooking.
Once your steaks are done, place on separate plates, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Resting lets the juices move back into the meat. If you cut into a steak immediately, the juices will run out, causing a drier steak.
A final suggestion, cook all your side dishes first, saving your steak to cook last. This allows you to concentrate on the steak alone and avoid over cooking by running back and forth between the grill and the kitchen.
No matter what cut of meat you choose, with the right seasonings and cooking method, you will serve your family a feast they won’t forget.
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