6 Hints On How To Grill A Perfect Steak
Today I’m sharing 5 hints on how to grill a perfect steak at home. I’m talking steakhouse quality meats here!
Do you have a friend who is the grill master? You know the guy...the one who always hosts the backyard cookouts. He can throw down like a celebrity chef. His steak comes out picture perfect with amazing grill marks and even better flavor. Yeah. That guy.
Well, guess what? You, too, can get amazing results at home.
Grilling steak is both an art and science. Knowing these tips will help you get superb results every time.
Hint1 - Know Your Meats
Making a great steak starts before you even leave the butcher shop! Knowing which cut of meat you need for the recipe you are cooking is crucial. Some steaks are steakhouse quality cuts, like porterhouse, t-bone, rib eye, filet mignon, or strip steak. These are your traditional “steak and potato” offerings.
On the other hand, if you want to cook the meat into quick steak wraps or fajitas, you can choose a flat iron steak.
One pitfall is choosing a very lean cut of steak. Some people believe that they are getting more for their money by choosing lean steak. However, they are actually setting themselves up for a very tough steak.
Instead, look for event fat veins, referred to as marbling, in your steak. This fat melts into the meat throughout the cooking process, keeping the steak moist, succulent, and tender.
Hint 2 - Proper Seasoning
Steaks make for wonderful eating! Proper seasoning will enhance the steak, not take away from it!
The debate to marinade the steak or dry rub it for seasoning is an ongoing debate! On the one hand, the marinade can help to tenderize and add flavor. On the other hand, you want the flavor of the meat to shine through on a great cut of steak.
This argument boils down to personal choice. I tend to use a dry rub of a simple mixture of sea salt, fresh-cracked black pepper, and garlic powder on thick-cuts of better quality cuts such as filet mignon or t-bone. Start with smear, just a teaspoon of olive oil across both sides of the steak to give the seasoning something to stick if you find that your dry rub won’t stick to the meat.
On the other hand, if I’m making a quick thin-cut sirloin or flat-iron steak to cut into fajitas or an Asian wrap, I will make my marinade of choice, and I will place the marinade and steak into a vacuum-sealing bag. I vacuum seal the steak in the marinade for two reasons.
First, it doesn’t leak inside my refrigerator. Second, the suction of the vacuum sealer helps to open up the pores of the steak and allows that good flavor to penetrate the steak. Whether you’re making an Asian or Mediterranean or Mexican marinade, the flavor doesn’t matter. The principle is the same.
Hint 3 - Propping To Grill
Start prepping to grill by taking your steak out of the fridge to sit at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before you are ready to toss it on the grill. You don’t want it out any longer than that due to bacteria building. However, this step ensures a faster cooking time.
Don’t try to put your meat onto a cold grill. Ever. That causes two problems. First, and most importantly, the longer it takes you to fire a steak, the drier and tougher it will become. Second, you won’t get those gorgeous grill marks on a cold grill.
Preheat your grill to between 500 to 600 degrees. Whether you are cooking over charcoal or propane, it doesn’t matter. That high heat is key to the high-quality steaks at the best steakhouses.
Hint 4 - Grilling Times:
Grilling times are going to vary. Since most better steaks are cut to just under 1”, I am going to go with approximate cooking times for that thickness. For a much thicker steak, add a couple of minutes; for a thinner one, deduct a few minutes. I’m also assuming a medium temperature of around 145 degrees. This steak is not bloody, but it has a little bit of pink meat and pink to clear juices.
Place your steaks onto a clean, pre-heated grill and close the lid. Wait 3 minutes and rotate (not flip!) the steaks ¼ of a turn or 45 degrees to get that perfect criss-cross marking. Leave the steak in that position for another 3 minutes.
Flip the steak, and repeat the process of a 3 minute cooking time, a ¼ turn, and 3 more minutes.
Hint 5: How To Tell When A Steak Is Cooked
A rare steak will be cooked to 130 degrees, and you should not eat steak any cooler than this. A well-done steak...well, it’s not a steak in my opinion. But if you must, the max temperature for a steak is 165 degrees.
Bear in mind that the longer that you cook the steak, the drier it will be.
I should tell you I use a digital meat thermometer to check my steaks. But I don’t. I gently press down on the steak with my tongs and can tell from the firmness if my steak is ready. It’s a gift, what can I say?
But, seriously. In time, you will be able to tell if your steak is done by the firmness as well. It’s just a lot of experience grilling.
When I first started grilling, I had a period of trial and error. One thing that I found is this...if you are unsure if a steak is done, check it! If you overcook it, you can’t uncook it. Of course, if you undercook it, you can pop it back on for another two or three minutes.
Hint 6: Let It Rest
After you’ve removed your steaks, let them rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. The juices will redistribute into the pores of the meat evenly to give you that juicy flavor you crave.
As you are waiting to cut into the steak, resist the temptation, or you’ll release all those wonderful juices!
In summary, following these hints will have you wielding your tongs and spatula like a pro in no time! Soon, you’ll be the host whose grill-slaying skills is the envy of all your friends.
So tie on that grilling apron, and get to grilling!