While I love to cook steaks indoors, in a cast iron pan, getting out over the open flames, on a grill satisfies a primal need to bring fire and meat together. It also, joyfully, imparts an awesome flavor to a great steak. But alas, how to grill a perfect steak still eludes many folks, and I've seen and eaten to many prime cuts of beef, that were tortured on the grill. Here, I show you the very simple and easy techniques that you can use to make sure that your grilled steak comes out perfect every time.
Many people will argue you have to use hardwood charcoal, others briquettes, and still others, will only use a gas grill. Personally, I think hardwood provides the most interesting flavor to the steak. However, I'm very happy to report, that regardless of what you use, you can still make a great steak – because the type of heat, matters far, far less than following some other simple, and basic rules.
How to Grill a Steak
- Take the steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes to hour before cooking to allow it to come up to room temperature
- Use this time, to get your grill going. If you're using coals, you want them just ashed over when you start cooking. Whatever type of grill/coals you're using, you want the grill very hot 500+ degrees when the meat hits the grates
- Just before cooking, season the steak(s) liberally with salt and course ground black pepper; then coat them with olive oil
- Lay the steaks on the smoking hot (and clean) grates, and leave them alone; don't poke, fiddle, move or adjust them. You have to allow them to sear. I like to leave the lid open.
- A steak that is 1 – 2 inches thick will take 3 – 4 minutes to get a good sear on the first side; once that time is over, turn the steaks to sear on the other side
- Again, don't mess or poke, or press, or do anything else with the steaks, for about 3 – 4 minutes; now you have to decide where on the temperature scale (rare to well done) you like your steak
- If you like a rare steak, you're probably good to go, and you can remove the steak. If you like it more cooked (I like mid-rare), you'll want to move the steak to a cooler part of the grill, that is not over direct heat
- Close the lid, essentially creating an oven
- About every 1 – 2 minutes the steak will move through another stage of doneness (rare to med-rare, to medium, etc). Although the best way to tell is by the firmness of the steak, or with a meat thermometer (which has it's downside, as poking the meat will release some of its juices)
- Once cooked through, remove the steak from the grill, and allow it to rest in a warm spot for about 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle into the meat – don't cut it immediately
- After it's rested, serve it up with your favorite sides and sauces….and enjoy!