Grilling steak can be a daunting task, with mixed opinions on the perfect level of doneness. But fear not, because grilling a steak is actually easier and faster than grilling chicken! In this guide, we will provide you with all the necessary steps and cooking times to help you become a grill boss in no time.
Choose the Perfect Cut
When it comes to grilling, our all-time favorite cut is the ribeye. With its thick and beautifully marbled fat, it delivers an explosion of flavor without needing a marinade. However, we’ll also provide steps for other delicious cuts such as flank steak, skirt steak, filet mignon, sirloin, tri-tip, and strip steak. Each cut possesses a unique combination of tenderness and fattiness.
Marinate Leaner Cuts
For leaner cuts like flank and skirt steak, marinating is key. Even just 30 minutes can make a difference! While our flank steak marinade is perfect, it’s also incredibly easy to create your own. Start with olive oil as a base, then whisk in bold flavors like balsamic vinegar and mustard, add something fresh like herbs or citrus, and round it out with a touch of sweetness using brown sugar or honey. Don’t forget that sirloin also benefits from marinating!
Remove the Chill
To ensure even cooking, let your steak sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. Cold steak straight from the fridge will cook unevenly and may not deliver the best results.
Create a Flavorful Crust
Season your steak with a thick blanket of kosher salt and pepper to achieve a crispy exterior. Salt and pepper alone are enough to satisfy any true steak lover, but if you want to enhance the flavor, consider using an all-purpose seasoning such as adobo or creole. Remember to season the steaks right before they hit the grill. Allowing salt to sit on the surface of the meat for too long will draw out moisture, resulting in a soggy surface.
Oil the Grill (Not the Meat)
Give your grill grates the cast iron treatment by brushing them with a high smoke point oil (like canola or peanut) using tongs and a paper towel. Heat the grill on high until the oil starts to smoke, then rub the grates again to create a slick coating. This non-stick treatment will ensure your steak doesn’t stick to the grill and will give it those beautiful char marks.
Opt for Direct Heat
Direct heat is essential for grilling steak. It involves cooking the meat directly over the flame, whether it’s gas or charcoal. The direct heat is responsible for that gorgeous dark char on grilled meat. Indirect heat, on the other hand, is better suited for slow-cooking foods like ribs.
Temperature Trumps Time
When grilling steak, it’s important to focus on temperature rather than time. Depending on your preferred level of doneness, you should aim for specific internal temperatures. For medium-rare, the recommended range is 130-135°F (54-57°C). Medium falls between 135-145°F (57-63°C), and medium-well ranges from 145-155°F (63-68°C). It’s always best to use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy. However, if you’re confident in your skills, you can also judge doneness by touch. The steak should give in slightly in the middle and bounce back quickly when pressed. But remember, using a thermometer is always a safe bet, especially when aiming for that perfect medium-rare.
Grill Temperature Matters
Don’t forget that grill temperature is just as crucial as internal temperature. You want the grill to be screaming hot to achieve those beautiful char marks and develop a ton of flavor on the surface of the steak.
Don’t Touch That Lid
When grilling a quick-cooking steak over direct heat, it’s best to skip using the grill lid entirely. The lid is more suitable for larger cuts that require indirect heat.
Flip or Don’t, It’s Up to You
The number of times you flip a steak during cooking is a topic of debate. It ultimately comes down to personal preference. The myth that flipping more than once causes excessive juice loss has been debunked. We found that flipping a steak just once resulted in attractive grill marks, while flipping multiple times increased the chances of achieving a more even crust.
Let It Rest
Give your steak at least 10 minutes to rest before slicing into it. This allows the meat to seal in all its glorious juices and ensures a tender and flavorful bite. Lightly tent the meat with foil to retain the heat during the resting period.
Slice Against the Grain
When cutting your steak, it’s essential to slice against the grain. The grain refers to the appearance of the muscle fibers on raw or cooked meat. It indicates the direction of the muscle fibers and varies depending on the cut. Slicing against the grain, perpendicular to the fibers, ensures a more tender bite. The goal is to shorten the length of the fibers, making it easier for your knife, fork, and teeth to navigate through the meat.
Leftover Steak Storage
If you have any leftover steak, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. When reheating, be cautious not to overcook it. Microwave at 60% power in 30-second intervals to maintain the steak’s deliciousness.
Have you tried grilling steak using our guide? Let us know how it went in the comments below!