Eating a perfectly grilled cut of beef is a heavenly experience on its own, but it’s even more satisfying when you pick out the right steak and cook it yourself. Fortunately, grilling steak is quick and easy. It can be done on any grill capable of achieving high heat. Here’s three simple steps to help you grill those perfect steaks!
Pick Your Steak
Of course, the “best” steak is a matter of personal preference. Our favorite kind of steak is one with some good fat content throughout, some prefer a leaner cut of meat for its tenderness. Look for flecks or clumps of white fat spread across the meat. True fat content is found throughout the flesh of the steak. These fat patterns, or “marbling,” are important because fat helps distribute juices through the entire steak and provides a bit of flavor in its own right. The USDA has defined three grades of beef that appear on food labels. Select cuts have the least marbling, whereas Choice features a moderate amount and Prime has the most.
Season Your Steak
Let your steak rest for about half an hour to reach room temperature. A generous helping of kosher salt and coarse, freshly ground black pepper is all you need to complement the naturally juicy flavors of a good steak. Some people also like to add a little rosemary, cayenne powder, garlic powder, or garlic cloves to the mix.
You’ll need more seasoning for thicker cuts of meat, so don’t be afraid to leave a light layer of salt and pepper on the surface of a huge steak. Make sure you season every side of the steak and pat it down a bit to help hold the spices in.
Right before they go on the grill, dunk steaks in clarified butter or olive oil, to add more flavor and help create an all-over sear. This is the finishing touch of seasoning for the perfect steak!
How to Grill Steaks
Preheat your grill for about 15 minutes. After preheating, it’s a good idea to create a dual-zone grilling setup so you can properly sear steaks but also finish them over low heat if they’re not quite done cooking.
Place your steak over high heat for about 2½–3 minutes, rotating it 45 degrees at the halfway point if you want crosshatched, diamond sear marks. Then flip your meat over and repeat the process for about the same amount of time, which should give you a medium steak.
Cook time will vary slightly depending on the thickness of the steak and your desired level of doneness. The only way to be sure that your meat is safe to eat is by reading its internal temperature with an Instant-read thermometer. Use a high-quality meat thermometer for reliable and accurate results.
While your steak is on the grill, resist the urge to move it around. You won’t get those beautiful sear marks unless the grill grates have sufficient time to transfer heat to your meat. When it’s time to turn or flip, your steak should easily release from the grates — if not, that’s an indication that it needs a bit more time for sear marks to form.
Meat continues to cook after it comes off the grill. Remove steaks when they reach 5 degrees below your target temperature. If you want your steak to be at 125˚F, take it off the grill when it reaches 120˚F. Ten minutes of resting does wonders for a steak. Fibers relax, juices spread, colors are recalibrated, and flavors retained.