Grilling the Perfect Steak

Follow these easy guidelines next time you fire up the grill for the most tender, flavorful steaks!

Having spent 15 years in the steakhouse business, I can tell you a thing or two about grilling the perfect steak. One can employ a number of seasonings, marinades or sauces to impart a wild variety of flavor combinations, but to avoid the dried-out piece of shoe-leather that haunts many backyards, start your steak journey with some basic, easy tips for grilling a top-notch steak.

Everyone has a favorite and for me, it’s the ribeye! Starting with a quality piece of meat is half the battle and if you’re unsure what to look for, ask your meat expert wherever you buy meat (the $3.99/lb special at the average grocery store usually won’t cut it). Different cuts of steak require varying methods of cooking, so a great rule of thumb is to find a well-marbled piece of meat. Don’t be afraid of the fat; it’s the marbling throughout that contributes to the tenderness and flavor!

Prepare your steaks by brushing them with oil and giving them a little dusting of coarse sea salt and black pepper. The simplicity of the seasoning is a great base to draw out additional flavor without compromising the natural taste of the meat (or if you’re looking for an additional punch, use your favorite seasonings or dry rubs, it’s all good). Keep in mind that the oil is important, as it will prevent the steaks from sticking to the cooking surface and thus, prevent tearing the meat and releasing juices when you pull it off the grates.

I prefer to cook over a fire of lump hardwood charcoal (the smoky flavor and even heat cook one flavorful steak), but grilling over a gas grill or using charcoal briquettes are fine as well. Get your grill heated to a nice medium-high heat (about 350-400°) and toss the steaks on. Cooking times will vary, but a good rule of thumb for a medium-rare steak is going to be about 10 minutes (12 minutes for medium, 14 for medium well, etc. depending upon the size and thickness of the steak). Cook your steaks over indirect heat by either turning off one of your gas burners directly under the steaks or placing your steaks to the sides of your charcoal (avoid flames directly below the steak, as the rendering fat of the meat will cause flare-ups). Time your steaks if you want them done properly! After 2.5 minutes, turn your steaks 45 degrees. This will not only make that neat little diamond pattern, but will help to cook the surface evenly. After another 2.5 minutes flip the steaks, wait another 2.5 minutes and turn 45 degrees again and remove from the grill when you’re nearing the 10 minute mark. If you are not sure about the doneness, use the hand-test method to determine when to pull the steaks from the grill. Let the steak rest for a few minutes before you cut it as well to allow time for the muscle fibers to recombine and stop the juices from leaking all over your cutting board.

Following a few simple tips such as these will have you grilling the perfect steak every time!

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