I realize the subject of grilling steaks is a big topic. With the numerous cuts of beef available plus different desired levels of cooking, instructions could span several pages. But for our purposes, I will focus on grilling two popular cuts: filet mignon and New York, with a medium-rare result as our goal. The New York is also known as “strip steak” and comes from the short loin of the cow. The filet mignon comes from the tenderloin and being thicker, takes longer to cook, but the core techniques are about the same. I love grilled steak for the smoky, charred flavor impossible to achieve indoors.

Keys to Success for Perfectly Grilled Steaks

  • Start meat at room temperature
  • Make sure grill is clean
  • Use highest heat to produce grill marks
  • Season heavily
  • Don’t touch, move or cut the steaks while cooking, for a juicier result
  • Allow steaks to rest before serving to let juices settle
  • Serve with Potato Gratin with Leek and Pear, Gorgonzola and Walnut Salad

How to Grill Steaks 

  • Pre-heat grill to the highest setting for 20-25 minutes
  • Grind black pepper and salt heavily over meat, both sides
  • Pour thin layer of oil on both sides and work it in
  • Place the thicker filet mignon steak on the grill first
  • Lay at a slight angle to create grill marks
  • Close grill lid and let the filet cook for roughly 3 minutes (note the nice grill marks)
  • Flip the filet to the other side at a slightly different angle
  • Add the New York steak to the grill
  • After 3 minutes, place the the filet on the back burner, turning the heat to low; I’m letting the meat come up to medium rare
  • Just after moving the filet, flip the New York to the other side
  • Judge level of cooking with the “feel” method: comparing the feel of the steak to the firmness of the pad of your hand under the thumb. As you move your thumb to meet each finger down to the pinky, the pad of your hand becomes firmer. The firmness of the pad when touching thumb to index finger is about what medium-rare feels like on the beef. You’ll become more comfortable with this method over time, but if unsure, use a meat thermometer. Don’t cut into the steak. You may need to check 3-4 times. The goal for medium-rare is about 125° and the total cooking time is about 6 minutes.
  • For medium to well done, turn the heat down to low, close the lid and let the beef sit a bit longer
  • Pull steaks off onto a cutting board
  • Let meat rest for 3-4 minutes, preventing juices from running out
  • Cut slices from each steak to reveal similar done-ness due to starting them at different times

Wine Recommendation for Grilled Steak

Steak flavors range from subtle, as with the filet mignon, to rich and potent, like the much-loved ribeye. So it follows that good wines to pair can vary from light to full-bodied. Aside from the core steak flavor, particular treatments and sauces will influence what wine will best match your dish. For our simple salt, pepper and olive oil preparation, I would recommend a soft merlot or full-bodied pinot noir with the filet mignon and a cabernet sauvignon or fruit-forward zinfandel with the New York.

Total Time: 
25mins
Prep Time: 
15minutes
Cook Time: 
10minutes
Main Ingredient: 
Steak