Safely Defrost The Meat
Before starting the grill or adding your marinade, if your meat is frozen then you need to first properly defrost your steak. And please, whatever you do, don’t just leave it out on the counter all day hello food safety risk! Instead, defrost your raw steak in the fridge a day or two before cooking or in a cold water bath, swapping out the water every 30 minutes. Once defrosted, it can last in the fridge for up to five days.
Buy A Good Piece Of Meat
Try to get Choice, Prime, AAA or Certified Angus Beef. The cut is up to you. My absolute fave for maximum tenderness and flavor is a well-marbled Ribeye steak . New York Strip Loin , Porterhouse, T-Bone or Beef Tenderloin/Filet Mignon are also great.
- Tip: Experts will say its best to buy a steak 1 1/2- 2 inches thick. I think 1 1 1/4 inch steaks are just fine too .
You Cant Put Moisture Back Inside A Steak
As steaks grill over high heat, they lose moisture. Fat and juices are literally pushed out of the meat. Thats the price we pay for making the steaks easier to digest.
Perhaps the most important part of grilling a steak is taking it off the heat before it has lost too much moisture. There is a short window of time, usually just a minute or two, when steaks go from medium rare to medium, or from medium to medium well.
Catching that window requires vigilance. Dont walk away from a steak on the grill. And remember, its always better to take it off when its underdone and then return it to the grill than it is to let a steak overcook.
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Choosing The Best Steak
Cuts of Steak: Choosing good quality steak is important. There are several cuts of steak that are good for grilling, some come with bones and some without.
- Tenderloin or Fillet : the most tender, most expensive cut. It has no bone.
- Sirloin: often a large cut, and can include a bone or be boneless.
- T-bone and Porterhouse: both have a large bone, and are great for grilling.
- New York or Strip Steak: boneless and has strong beef flavor.
- Rib Steak and Rib Eye : cuts with a higher marbled fat ratio, and offer rich flavor.
- Top Sirloin: leaner and less expensive than Sirloin. Still a great choice for the grill.
- Rump Steak: comes from the upper part of the hindquarters. Tender and lean, and good for grilling.
- Skirt Steak: comes from the inner thigh and is best for slow cooking in stews. Try to get one of the other cuts for grilling.
Grades of Steak: Use the USDA grades beef into three categories to offer a basic guide as to the quality of the meat.
- Prime is the best but usually reserved for restaurants. It has the most marbling .
- Choice is the next best and is more commonly available. It still has good levels of marbling and is juicy and tender.
- Select tends to be very lean , and often dries out very easily.
How Long To Cook Steak
- Blue: Should still be a dark colour, almost purple, and just warm. It will feel spongy with no resistance.
- Rare: Dark red in colour with some red juice flowing. It will feel soft and spongy with slight resistance.
- Medium-rare: Pink in colour with some juice. It will be a bit soft and spongy and slightly springy.
- Medium: Pale pink in the middle with hardly any juice. It will feel firm and springy.
- Well-done: Only a trace of pink colour but not dry. It will feel spongy and soft and slightly springy.
Its very important to consider the size and weight of your steak before calculating the cooking time. If youre unsure, take advantage of the expert eye of your butcher who should be able to tell you how long you need to cook your meat.
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Choose Your Grade Of Meat
Lets start with the grades of meat. There is Select, Choice, and Prime.
- Select is usually the grade of sale-priced, or advertised meat. Its considered basic level meat by the USDA, there is not a lot of marbling.
- Choice grade, will have a Choice sticker on it signifying the grade, is just above Select. It has moderate marbling and considered great meat by most, if youre on a budget Id recommend starting there so you still get good meat.
- Prime grade. The last and best grade of meat in my opinion is Prime. It is the highest quality meat by the USDA and has abundant marbling. Trust me, it will always be worth it to pay the extra money per pound for the Prime grade.
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How To Tell If Its Done
Despite the common misconception, meat doesnt seal from a good char, so theres nothing necessarily wrong with cutting into a steak to see if its done the juices wont run out causing your steak to dry out but its pretty ineffective. Figuring out if a steak is done based on how it feels is much more precise. And it really isnt so hard as long as you know what youre feeling for. Theres a trick I once learned in a now closed New York City restaurant the key to figuring out the internal temperature of your steak is in the palm of your hand.
Image Credit: MediaFeed.org.
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What To Do With Leftover Steak
Got leftover steak? Dont waste it! Here are a few ideas to repurpose it:
Salad: make our Butter Lettuce Salad and top it with sliced grilled steak. Or, make our Steak Salad Recipe with tons of veggie and an herby vinaigrette.
Nachos: make a big sheet pan of nachos and instead of using ground beef, use sliced steak instead.
Bowls: Make our beef taco bowls, but use diced steak instead of ground beef.
Mac and Steak: Make a box of mac and cheese and serve it with sliced grilled steak.
Salting Early Pays Off
You might have heard the warning that you shouldnt salt meat too far in advance of cooking because it can draw out moisture. Its true that salt draws moisture towards itself, but over the course of 20 to 30 minutes thats a good thing, because the salt begins to dissolve into that little bit of moisture.
When the steak hits the hot cooking grate, the sugars and proteins in the moisture combine with the salt and other seasonings to create a delicious crust. Any moisture you might lose is well worth the flavor of that crust.
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How To Shut Down A Charcoal Grill
If youre grilling with a charcoal grill, fully close the vents and dampers, cutting off the oxygen supply to the coal. Whether youre using a gas or charcoal grill, be sure to clean the grate while its still hot this will make it easier to get off any food stuck on the grill. Once you’ve perfected steak, you can move on to grilling shrimp, chicken, burgers and more with our best recipes.
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How To Grill The Perfect Steak
Making the perfect steak on the grill is easier than you think, but it requires a little practice and good timing.
Given the differences between grills, cooking surfaces, and cuts of steak, there aren’t specific cook times for grilling steak. Meat changes in texture and density as it cooks, so it helps to know how each steak feels before it hits the grill. A meat thermometer is also helpful when checking doneness.
Take note of the thickness of the steak since it will affect the cooking time.
- Salt and pepper
- Very hot grill
- Timer that shows seconds
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Steak Temperatures For Doneness:
- Rare : 125 degrees
- Medium rare : 135 degrees
- Medium : 145 degrees
- Medium well : 150 degrees
- Well done : 160 degrees
Steak sizzling on a grill
Let the steaks rest on a platter for at least five minutes, then top them with big fat slices of herb butter.
Juicy grilled steak perfection!! That salty-seasoned crust and compound herb butter are mind meltingly-delicious. Your quest for perfect grilled steak ends right here. Enjoy, enjoy!
The Food Lab’s Definitive Guide To Grilled Steak
Summer’s here and I’ve got a brand-new backyard to grill in, so now seems like as good a time as any to reexamine some of the things we know about grilling beef.
Sure, we can all agree on what our goal is: A perfect steak should have a crusty, crunchy, well-browned exterior surrounding a core of perfectly pink, juicy, tender meat that spans from edge to edge. A perfect steak should have a nice contrast between the smoky, almost charred exterior and the deeply beefy interior. A perfect steak should be chin-drippingly juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender.
We all know where we want to go. The real debate is, what’s the best way to get there? You’ve just dropped $50 on some prime aged beef, and you’re rightfully nervous about screwing it all up. After all, there’s a lot at… ahem, wait for it… steak.
Want to know how to grill a steak? Here’s my advice: Do not do it the way they do it at steakhouses. It seems counterintuitive: Surely a restaurant with years of experience cooking hundreds of steaks a day knows a thing or two about how it’s done, right? Well, yes. They know how to cook a steak in a steakhouse setting, where their goal is consistency, quality, and, more importantly, speed. Hungry customers don’t want to have to wait for their meat, and a steakhouse has equipment and techniques designed to meet those needs.
Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
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How To Grill Ribeye
A ribeye steak is a classic grilling cut with generous marbling throughout the steak. Its known for its exceptional tenderness and flavor, so all it needs is a little salt and pepper to season it before tossing it on the grill!
How To Grill A Thick Steak
When grilling steak that is 1 ½ inches thick or more, the best way to get the perfect char on the outside and desired doneness in the center is to do the reverse sear. You will cool the steak until it is almost done over indirect heat, then move it to the hotter direct-heat section of the grill for the final sear.
You will want to make sure the indirect heat section of the grill is around 225 degrees F. Then add the steak to the cooler part and cover the grill.
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Dont Flip Your Steak More Than Once
Weve all seen it happen, or at least, weve made the same mistake at least once in our lives.
But really, please refrain from overturning your steak. Doing so might overcook the meat, thus resulting in burnt parts.
Ideally, you should only be turning the steak ONCEon each side. And yes, only flip it once!
From The Right Temperature To Resting Time
It seems that people approach grilling steak one of two ways: either in a casual manner or paying perhaps too much attention. Some will heat the grill with abandon, throw the steaks on, flip once, then pull them off, and serve others will fret and worry, cutting into the meat every two seconds wringing their hands over whether the meat is done or not. Both techniques do have some merits but a method somewhere in the middle is ideal.
Grilling a delicious steak is easy, as long as you follow a few simple steps. As with anything, a bit of practice always helps, too. Follow some advice, grill a few steaks, and you’ll be serving up perfectly cooked juicy steaks in no time.
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Tips For Grilling The Best Steak:
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Prepare The Barbecue Grill
The cooking surface must be clean and oiled so your steaks will have good contact with the grill without sticking. Prepare the grill while it’s finishing heating up.
The easiest way to oil the cooking grate is with an oil-soaked paper towel and the metal brush used to clean the grill. Fold a paper towel in half until it is the size of your grill cleaning brush. Soak it with oil that has a high smoke point, like canola or grapeseed oil. Brush this over the cooking grates evenly. It will smoke some, but enough oil will remain on the grates as long as you don’t let the grill sit at its highest temperature for too long before grilling.
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Know What Cut Of Steak Is Best For You
Whether youre cooking a rib-eye, porterhouse, filet, skirt or sirloin steak, you should know what youre buying before you bring it home. The method you use for cooking your steak depends on the cut you get. Assess your budget, skill level and what kind of dish you want to make before you fire up the grill. Here’s a guide to every cut of steak to help you tell flank from flatiron.
Preparing The Sirloin Steak: To Marinate Or Not To Marinate
I like to keep it simple when it comes to top sirloin. Since its not a tough cut of meat, it doesnt need to marinate for a long time in an acidic solution. Because it is low in fat, you wont have to trim back much fat to prevent grill flare-ups. The prep time is minimal.
Since the steak already has a robust character and the grill will add some smoke flavor, I only use salt or kosher salt and ground black pepper for seasoning. Just before grilling, rub a small amount of olive oil on each side and hit the steak with coarsely ground pepper. Maybe use some minced garlic or garlic powder to taste.
If you have the time, salt the steak 40 minutes to 8 hours before cooking it. You wont need to use as much salt when you salt in advance and it will enhance the beefy flavor of the steak. Let it rest on a baking rack, uncovered, in the refrigerator if youre salting it overnight.
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Salting Your Steak Early Pays Off
There is a belief that salting meat too far in advance of cooking can draw out moisture. While its true that salt can draw moisture towards itself, it’s also true that over the course of 20 or 30 minutes that can actually be a good thing as the salt will begin to dissolve into that little bit of moisture that’s been drawn out.
So, when you drop the steak onto the hot cooking grate, all the sugars and proteins in the moisture will mix with the salt, and any other seasonings you’ve added, which creates a perfectly crisp crust. The flavor of that delicious crust is worth any moisture you may lose.
Defrosting Your Choice Of Steak
Next up, like every other meat that you have to cook, defrosting enters the picture!
For this steak, itd be in your best interest to let the steaks sit outside your refrigerator, covered, and at room temperature.
Dont forget that when you defrost for too long, youre giving bacteria and all kinds of junk a BETTER ENVIRONMENT to multiply.
And well, if were aiming for the best or even just something completely edible, you dont want any of that.
So start defrosting your steaks around 20 minutes before you start grilling them!
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