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The Guide To Grilling A Perfect Steak

Grilling steak can bring on the pressure (especially when cooking for a crowd!) Follow our guide and you'll be a pro in no time!


Everyone wants to show off their grilling chops in the hot summer months - and we've already briefed you on how to grill vegetables. Now, the spotlight is on steak! From NY strip to ribeyes and everything in between, here's our guide on grilling a perfect steak.


grilling a perfect steak

Let the steak warm up a bit: Take your steak out of the fridge for 15 -30 minutes before cooking it. This encourages much more even cooking and shocks the steak less when it hits the hot grill.


Dry your meat: If there is excess moisture on your steak, it doesn't matter how much oil you add - the chances of the meat sticking to the grill is pretty good. Be sure to dry it well with paper towel before seasoning and oiling it up.


Season liberally. If you have a great steak, you don't need to add a ton of spices to make it delicious. That said, a liberal dusting of kosher salt on either side is essential! If you do want to marinade your steak to bump up the flavor, try Giada's Bistecca Fiorentina. 
Oil the steak, not the grill. Like Giada shows us in her cast-iron pan video, oiling the meat as opposed to the grill is the way to go. This helps avoid flare-ups on the grill. Note that you don't need much oil at all - just enough to help keep leaner cuts of beef from sticking!
Only grill tender cuts. Tender cuts of meat from any animal do well with direct, high-heat cooking. However, you're not going to enjoy the result of a grilled brisket - a very tough cut that needs to be cooked slowly! Reserve grilling for the quick-cooking meats, and save the rest for barbecuing, braising and roasting. Here's a go-to list of tender cuts of steak that do well on the grill.
  • NY Strip Steak
  • Ribeye
  • T-bone
  • Porterhouse
  • Tri-tip
  • Tenderloin/filet
  • Skirt Steak
  • Flank Steak
  • Sirloin
High heat! Grilling at 450° (at least!) is essential for cooking steaks. This ensures that you can get that delicious crust without running a high risk of overcooking the center of the meat.
Resist moving it. When you set your meat down on the grill, you have to commit to leaving it alone! Moving it too quickly can hinder that beautiful maillard reaction (essentially when the meat "caramelizes"), tender cuts can stick before the proteins have fully coagulated, and you can slow the cooking process.
Use tongs - don't stab it! Make sure you have a good, long pair of grilling tongs when placing, flipping and picking up your steak. Don't stab it with a big fork to rescue it from the grill! This lets the juices escape, and we don't want that.
It's okay to use a meat thermometer! A quick-read thermometer is a great way to start getting a feel for how your steak should be cooked - and there's zero shame in it! The "palm" trick doesn't always work, and seasoned chefs learn to just get a feel for it. Basically, there's no hard or fast rule as to exactly how long a steak should be on the grill, because there are just too many variables. How thick is the steak? How hot is the grill? Because of this, you can't rely on any amount of time - so a thermometer is a great fail-proof method. Here's a quick guide on temperatures for desired meat doneness - keep in mind that pulling the meat at these temperatures accounts for some carry-over cooking!
  • Rare - 120° to 125°
  • Medium Rare - 130°F
  • Medium - 135°F 140°F
  • Well Done -160°F and higher
REST! After putting all this TLC into grilling your steak, you must must must allow it to rest before you cut into it. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes so all of those delicious juices can redistribute into the meat - and even longer for a big steak. It also allows for that gentle carry over cooking to bring your steak to the perfect juicy doneness.
Cut against the grain. When you're cutting your steak to serve up, make sure that you're cutting against the grain of the meat instead of parallel to it. This gives each bite a more tender chew.

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