Hear that? The sizzling sound of a thick juicy steak grilling. Mmmmm…
Nothing beats the taste of a perfectly prepared steak, and making that happen sometimes seems to be easier said than done.
Let’s face it; no one wants to be the “you messed up my steak” guy.
Even the most perfect of days can be destroyed by a dry, leathery, over-cooked steak.
So the next time you plan to treat friends and family to an outdoor grilling extravaganza, keep these tips in mind to ensure the perfect steak every time.
Start with a Clean and Oiled Grill
A clean grill makes all the difference when cooking great steak (or anything on the grill, for that matter.) You can tenderize, marinate, or rub that seasoning in until it hurts, but without a clean surface to grill on your efforts are all in vain. Clean grates keep the steaks from sticking when you turn them.
Searing your steak to perfection only to rip it open and leave the strategically calculated flavors permanently adhered to your grill is heartbreaking.
So before you slap that side of beef down on the heat, consider the following steps:
- Scrub the grates with a wire brush
- Begin heating your grill
- With a heavy duty grill brush, lightly brush with vegetable oil.
High Heat Cooking
Now it’s time to crank that heat up!
You want the grill to be at least 450*F, or hot enough that you can hold your hand over the grill for just one second. Most gas grills come with a built in thermometer. Use it.
High heat ensures a good sear and a crispy crust on these steaks.
Season the Steak
LESS IS MORE
It may sound cliché’, but when seasoning your steaks it’s gospel truth.
Generally there are two methods to add the perfect blend of flavors to your grilled masterpiece.
Marinades and dry rubs.
Grilling flavorful steaks such as a strips, filet, or ribeyes? Consider going with a dry rub. A dry rub at its bare minimum consists of kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
But this is Texas and minimums just don’t work here. So create or purchase your favorite blend of spices and cover the outside of the meat to enhance its flavor in the crust.
- Granulated Garlic
- Ground Chipotles
Remember the goal is to add just enough to heighten and accentuate the flavor, without hiding the main event, a perfectly grilled ribeye.
Marinades on the other hand, are a combination of oil, acid and herbs that penetrate the outer layer of meat with flavor. They are perfect for grilling cuts of beef like flank or skirt.
To design your own marinade, start with this easy ratio:
- 3 parts Oil
- 1 part Acid
- Any spices/herbs to happen to have on hand.
Turn Steak Once
Steaks cook quickly and for that reason you really only need to turn them once. Flipping too frequently prevents your steaks from forming their tasty, well-seared crust.
But how do you tell they’re ready for the flip?
If the steaks can be easily released from the grill, they are good to go.
And instead of poking it with a fork, PLEASE use a pair of pincher tongs for turning the meat. Barbecue forks will pierce holes in the meat, mauling it and releasing its juices.
Cook Until It’s Done
Exact cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak and your personal preference. This is why a meat thermometer is handy for an accurate read and measure of how much juice is released from the meat.
As you progress in your steak grilling journey you will be able to tell just by feel if your culinary works of art are complete. But until then:
A general rule of thumb for the perfect temperature is the following:
- Rare: 125°F – 130°F
- Medium-Rare: 130°F – 135°F
- Medium: 140°F – 145°F
- -Well-Done: 160° and higher
Rest the Steak
Add compound butters and sauces to your steak just before serving. Fresh herbs worked into soft butter and other secret additions to your post-grill display enhance, not only the flavor, but the presentation of your finished product.
Grilling steaks isn’t rocket science. It’s an art waiting to be mastered by you!