How to Grill a Steak

how to grill a steak

There are some basic steps you can follow to grill the perfect steak, including using an instant read thermometer to check the meat’s temperature. A steak should be rare if it reaches 120 degrees, medium if it reaches 140 degrees, and well-done if it reaches 160 degrees. Once you’ve grilled your steak, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. There are also some mistakes you should avoid, including salting your meat too much in advance, setting your grill’s heat too high, and using a meat thermometer.

Sear and slide approach

The most common method of grilling a steak is using a sear and slide approach. In this method, the steak is first seared for about one minute on each side. Then, it is placed on the grill and grilled for five minutes or until desired doneness. The time will vary depending on the grill and the thickness of the steak. Once the steak is seared on both sides, flip it over and repeat the process.

After grilling, steaks are full of juices. It is important to wait at least four to five minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. A good instant read thermometer will give you an accurate reading in a matter of seconds, which is useful when grilling thin pieces of meat. A good thermometer will also help you monitor several pieces at once. Remember that meat continues to cook even after it is taken off the grill. It will continue to rise about 5 degrees.

A classic method of grilling steak involves using high temperatures and searing the steak first. This method is recommended for those who are familiar with grilling. It seals the meat’s natural juices and renders them in a more tender product. But if you don’t have an experience with the technique, you should check a meat thermometer to ensure the desired doneness. If you aren’t sure whether or not your steak is done, try experimenting with the Sear and Slide approach to grilling steak.

The reverse sear method is an excellent alternative to the sear and slide method. In this method, you sear the steak last, then slide it onto the grill it for an even cook throughout. This method is best for thick-cut steaks, as it ensures even cooking on the inside and prevents burning at the edges. Once the steak is done, it should be placed on a cooling rack to rest.

Salting meat too far in advance

You can salt meat too far in advance for grilling, but if you do, the results will not be as good as you’d hoped. Meat can develop a tough texture if it sits in salt for too long. For best results, only salt meat about 40 minutes before cooking. Thicker cuts can be seasoned just 15 to 30 minutes before grilling. If you’re not sure how much salt to add, check the package for directions.

The salting process is important for obtaining crisp skin and exteriors. If done correctly, it can prevent the creation of excess steam during cooking. Also, by pre-salting your meat, you’ll maximize its ability to sear and brown. You can also prevent the risk of food mixing if you salt your meat too far in advance. If you’re concerned about the salt rubbing off on your food, place the raw items in a high-sided dish and cover it with plastic wrap. This will allow some air to circulate and prevent any food from sticking together.

While many chefs skip salt when browning meat, this is a mistake. While salt does help to seal in juices, it will also draw moisture out of the surface of the meat. So, if you’re salting your steak just 10 minutes before you plan to grill it, you might end up with a shallow puddle of juices instead of a beautiful crust. You should always salt your meat at least 40 minutes in advance for the best results.

When preparing your steak, it’s crucial to take it out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before you want to cook it. This is because cold steak will not cook evenly. Moreover, most cookbooks will warn you against salting your meat too far in advance when grilling. The salt can draw out the moisture from meat and make it tough. Nevertheless, if you salt your steak ahead of time, you’ll increase its tenderness.

Setting the grill to a lower heat

Before grilling a steak, it’s important to preheat the grill to a high enough temperature to create a nice sear and seal in flavor. The ideal grill temperature for steak is 450-500 degrees, and this should be achieved within 10 minutes or so. The steak should then be left to sit for 15 minutes, or no longer than two hours. Make sure to follow food safety guidelines, though.

The temperature on a grill’s heat zone should be measured with an instant-read thermometer. The temperature of a steak will be affected by the position of your hand over the heat source, so it’s important to calibrate your system. Depending on the thickness of your steak, you may need to adjust the heat settings as needed to keep your steak perfectly cooked. The hottest part of the grill will be five to ten minutes after lighting the charcoal. Once it’s at this temperature, the steak should be flipped over and worked on.

One of the most common mistakes in grilling a steak is not using enough heat. A home stovetop is not capable of producing as much heat as commercial cooking equipment, so home cooks get nervous when they smell smoke or hear sizzle. So they tend to turn down the heat. By being prepared, however, you can ensure that your steak is cooked perfectly. And you can achieve this if you follow these simple tips.

When you’re finished grilling your steak, allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute evenly and keep the meat moist. In addition, setting the grill to a lower heat can help keep your steak at a consistent temperature for even cooking. When you’re grilling a steak, it’s also important to turn off the flame and move hotter charcoal to the cooler side of the grill.

Using a meat thermometer

One of the best tools you can use when grilling steak is a meat thermometer. You can use a steak thermometer to know when the meat is done by referring to its internal temperature. These devices come in a variety of sizes and styles. One type is the oven-going probe thermometer. This type of thermometer has a wired probe that goes into the meat and attaches to the base outside the oven. The good thing about these types of thermometers is that they don’t require you to open the door to the grill to see the meat’s internal temperature. This kind of thermometer is also programmable, which means that you can set the temperature at any time. You can use it to cook steak, fish, poultry, or any other type of food.

Another great benefit of using a meat thermometer is that it keeps your meat safe from overcooking or undercooking. The CDC recommends checking the internal temperature of meat before serving it to prevent the risk of foodborne illnesses. It’s important to keep in mind that about 48 million people get food-borne illnesses each year, and 1 million of those cases are related to contaminated poultry. With a meat thermometer in your kitchen, you’ll be able to cook your meat safely and look good!

To use a meat thermometer correctly, you must make sure that you insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat. Avoid placing the probe in the bone or gristle. Once the steak is at the desired temperature, you’re ready to remove the meat from the heat source. The probe will continue to read the correct temperature. The USDA has also developed specific minimum internal temperatures for meat.

Using a thick cut of beef

When grilling steak, you can avoid the uneven cooking that you can get with thinner cuts. A thick cut of beef holds more moisture when grilled, so you should use a steak that is less than one inch thick. When cooking steaks on the grill, salting them is recommended a day in advance. You should make the salting at least half an hour ahead of time, and it will pull out moisture from the meat. Salting the steak for a longer period of time will make the salt re-absorb into the meat.

A steak that is only an inch thick is best grilled on direct heat, and you should avoid cooking steaks that are two or three inches thick. One-inch thick steaks should take between eight and ten minutes for rare, and 12 to 15 minutes for medium. Thicker, two and three-inch thick steaks need between twenty and thirty minutes. If you have time and a thermometer, a thicker cut will take longer to reach the desired temperature.

When grilling steak, you should also remember to keep the meat as dry as possible. If it has been salted, you can place it overnight in the fridge to dry up. If you haven’t salted it, you should wipe the surface of the meat with paper towels before grilling. To make the salt-free seasoning easier to use, you can also make your own herb butter.

Another advantage of using a thick cut of beef when grilling is its forgivingness. Thin steaks can easily be overcooked, and a thick cut will give you extra leeway if you’re a beginner. Whether you leave the bone in or remove it is entirely up to your personal taste. However, thick steaks require more cooking time to cook the center. If you don’t have enough time to do this, use a thin cut of beef when grilling steak.

How to Grill a Steak Step By Step

Grilling a steak is a delicious way to enjoy a juicy and flavorful meal. Here’s a basic guide on how to grill a steak to perfection:


  • Steak of your choice (ribeye, sirloin, New York strip, filet mignon, etc.)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Optional: Garlic powder, onion powder, or your favorite steak seasoning
  • Optional: Fresh herbs or garlic cloves for extra flavor


1. Select the Steak

  • Choose a good-quality steak with marbling (small streaks of fat within the meat) for extra flavor and juiciness. Steaks like ribeye, sirloin, and New York strip are popular choices.

2. Prepare the Steak

  • Take the steak out of the refrigerator about 30-60 minutes before grilling to allow it to come to room temperature. This helps with even cooking.

3. Preheat the Grill

  • Preheat your grill to high heat, around 450-500°F (232-260°C). Ensure the grates are clean and well-oiled to prevent sticking.

4. Season the Steak

  • Brush both sides of the steak with a thin layer of olive oil. Season it generously with salt and black pepper. You can also add other seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, or your preferred steak seasoning for extra flavor.

5. Grill the Steak

  • Place the seasoned steak on the hot grill grates. Close the grill lid and grill the steak for a few minutes on each side. The exact cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak and your desired doneness. Here are some general guidelines:
    • For rare: Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side.
    • For medium-rare: Grill for about 3-4 minutes per side.
    • For medium: Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side.
    • For medium-well: Grill for about 5-6 minutes per side.
    • For well-done: Grill for about 6-8 minutes per side.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The target temperatures for steak doneness are approximately:
    • Rare: 120-125°F (49-52°C)
    • Medium-rare: 130-135°F (54-57°C)
    • Medium: 140-145°F (60-63°C)
    • Medium-well: 150-155°F (65-68°C)
    • Well-done: 160°F (71°C) and above

6. Rest the Steak

  • Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest for about 5 minutes on a cutting board. Resting allows the juices to redistribute and the steak to remain juicy.

7. Slice and Serve

  • Slice the steak against the grain into your desired serving pieces.
  • Serve your grilled steak hot and enjoy it with your favorite side dishes, such as grilled vegetables, a baked potato, or a fresh salad.

Grilling a steak is a simple yet incredibly satisfying way to prepare a delicious meal. You can customize the seasonings and the level of doneness to your liking. Experiment with different cuts of steak and find your perfect grilled steak recipe.

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