Learn how to make the best steaks on the grill and get everyone drooling with the look and the smell of a perfect steak. Leave them wanting more afterwards. Read about tips here for making your grilled steaks extra special, from choosing a good piece of meat to seasoning and grilling the steak.
“Honey, this was the best steak I’ve ever had!”
Isn’t it our goal to hear those words after slaving away on a grill? I know that it’s ALWAYS my goal, whether I was cooking in my kitchen, grilling, or baking. I’m all about the pat on the back and hearing non-stop yummy noises while everyone is chowing down what I created.
Yeap, I’m quite needy when it comes to my cooking. If I didn’t hear “oh wow” or “this is so good” when people are tasting my food, I consider it a mission failure. But the toughest critic always is and always will be me. We’re tougher on ourselves than others are on us and it’s because we know best what we’re capable of.
So to keep all of your family and friends (and you) satisfied, I want to talk about some tips for making your grilled steak the most memorable steak they’ve every had.
I really want to stay clear of the word “perfect.” Perfection is a subjective matter. For example, temperature of the steak will be something that is up for debate for everyone. A medium-rare steak is perfect for my husband, I prefer a medium, and my mom prefers a medium-well steak.
I’ve known people who don’t want to see anything pink in their steak and I’ve known people who would drop the steak on a hot grill, cook it for 10 seconds on each side and call it “perfect.” So temperature, and cuts, are left up to individual preference. Today, I’m not here to debate the perfect temperature and cut of the steak. I’m here to offer tips for grilling a steak to make it steak better and incredibly delicious.
HOW TO CHOOSE A STEAK
Before the fun grilling part, we need to choose the meat. First of all, you can throw pretty much anything on a grill but whether it will taste the best, that’s not exactly true. There are some cuts that just perform better on the grill.
When choosing a cut, go for loins like sirloins and rib eye steaks. The pretty piece of meat that you see in the picture above is Wagyu strip steak from a T-bone steak.
The main thing that I look for to make the steak extra special is lots of fine marbling. Marbling is an intramuscular fat that you see throughout the meat, not on the outside of it. You want to look for those fine lines of fat within the meat.
The finer the fat, the better. Fine marbling is what will give your steak juiciness, tenderness, and lot’s of flavor. You don’t want to have lot’s of thick fat in the middle of your meat.
You also don’t want the steaks to be too fat or too thin. It’s best to choose the steaks that are 1.5 inches thick, with 2 inches being absolute thickest.
HOW TO SEASON THE STEAK
Put that seasoning mix down right now! The best seasoning for a good piece of steak is salt and pepper. If you’re looking to enjoy a good cut of steak, the flavor will be all there in the meat, no need to add anything but salt and pepper.
If you are spending a lot of money on a good cut of beef and put a lot of effort into the preparation, you don’t want to mask the natural flavor of the meat with sauces, marinades, and spice mixes. Save those for lesser cuts of meat.
Before putting it on the grill, pat the steak dry with a paper towel, rub it with some oil on all sides, and season it generously with salt and pepper on both sides. (Judge the amount based on your own taste and needs.) Remember, you always want to put oil on the actual meat, not on the grill.
USE ROSEMARY BRUSH
Another little flavor tip is a “rosemary brush.” A rosemary brush is simply a few rosemary sprigs tied onto a wooden handle or a brush or a spatula.
Put this rosemary brush into a small metal bowl with melted butter and crushed garlic in it right next to the grill. It gently infuses the butter with some rosemary flavors, but it doesn’t overpower. When you’re ready to brush the steaks, it will be beautifully aromatic and ready for the steaks.
Crushed garlic cloves is my favorite method of adding garlic to my dishes. Crushing it with a knife before minding brings out so much more natural garlic flavors and aroma.
To make a rosemary brush: tie a rosemary bunch onto a wooden end of a spatula or a spoon with a piece of kitchen twine. Melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter and pour it into a small metal bowl. Crush 3 garlic cloves and add them to the melted butter. Place rosemary brush into the butter and let it sit there while you are cooking the steaks.
HOW TO GRILL STEAK
Take steaks out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking and let them sit on the cutting board to warm up.
Pat steaks dry with a paper towel, rub it with some oil on all sides, and season it generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
Place steaks on the hot side of the grill to sear them. After a couple of minutes, use metal tongues to turn the meat to the other side and move them over to the cooler side of the grill (or the higher shelf away from the direct heat).
To check your steaks for doneness, use a meat thermometer, it will give you the most accurate reading. If you’re a seasoned chef or cook steaks all the time, I’m sure you can trust yourself to know when your steak is ready by touch, but otherwise, use a thermometer.
When the steaks are getting close to your desired temperature (about 15-20 degrees away), move it back to the hot side to finish the sear on the lighter side. After you’ve moved the steak back to the hot side, check the temperature every couple of minutes.
To check the temperature: hold the steak with tongues and insert the thermometer through the side of the steak, towards the middle. You want to hit the reading on the thickest part and in the middle. If you are cooking the steaks with bone, don’t get the reading right next to the bone.
When the steaks are just a couple of minutes away from being done, brush it with rosemary garlic butter generously, on both sides.
Take your steaks off the grill and let them rest for about 5 minutes before cutting.
125°-130° degrees = Rare
135°-140° degrees = Medium-rare
145°-150° degrees = Medium
155°-160° degrees = Well
(*First number is when to take off the grill.)
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How To Grill Steaks
- Meat Thermometer
- Metal tongues
- Rosemary Brush (see post)
- 10 oz steak rib eye or sirloin
Rosemary Brush (can be used on 3-4 steaks):
- 2 springs of rosemary
- 3 tbsp butter melted
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
Prepare the steak:
- Take the steak out of the refrigerator and place it on a cutting board. Let it rest and get to room temperature for about 30 minutes.Pat it dry with a paper towel before adding the seasoning.
Prepare the grill:
- If you are using charcoal grill, I recommend placing your lit and ashed over charcoals on half of your grill. This will create a hotter and a cooler side of the grill so that you don’t burn your steaks while getting them to temperature you desire. If you are using a gas grill, you should have a higher cooking shelf to place steaks away from direct heat while cooking.
Grilling the steak:
- Brushed the meat with oil and season it well with salt and pepper on both sides. Place steaks on the hot side of the grill to give them a nice sear.
- After a couple of minutes, turn the meat to the other side and move it over to the cooler side of the grill (or the higher shelf away from the direct heat).
- To check your steaks for doneness, use a leave-in meat thermometer, it will help you track temperature the whole time. Insert the thermometer through the side of the steak, towards the middle.
- (You can also use a meat thermometer that is not meant to be left in the meat. To check the temperature: hold the steak with tongues and insert the thermometer through the side of the steak, towards the middle. You want to hit the reading on the thickest part and in the middle.)
- Once the steak is getting close to your desired temperature (about 15-20 degrees away), move it back to the hot side to finish the sear on the lighter side. After you’ve moved the steak back to the hot side, check the temperature every couple of minutes.
- Take the steaks off the grill when it hits 5 degrees away from your desired temperature. Steak will keep cooking while resting.
- Let it rest for about 5 minutes on a cutting board before serving. Make sure to slice against the grain.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles on May 31, 2016. Updated May 11, 2020.