The weather’s heating up, and so should your grill! If you’ve ever been intimidated by cooking shows and picture-perfect magazine spreads, here are some basic tips to help you achieve a restaurant-quality steak in the comfort of your own backyard.
1. The Right Cut
Start with a good piece of meat. It can get a little pricey, but you’ll want to choose a good steak to ensure your first bite is a juicy one.
There are plenty of different cuts to choose from: New York strip, rib eye, t-bone – the list goes on! Click here for a comprehensive list of basic beef cuts.
2. Get Rid of Excess Fat
While the grill is heating, your next step is to trim away any excess fat. Marbling is wonderful as far as keeping steaks tasty and juicy, but excess fat around the outside isn’t desirable. Trim your steak when it’s cold from the fridge, and then let it come to room temperature.
3. Time to Season
Be generous with the salt and pepper. I prefer to use kosher salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to create a kind of crust on the meat. You can spice it up with a rub, but salt and pepper do the trick to let the flavor of the beef be the star.
4. Sear That Steak!
Once your grill is nice and hot, place your steak on the grill and let it sear.
Many people say you should leave meat alone once it’s on the grill, but I haven’t ruined a steak yet with over-flipping! This is apparently the subject of much debate – here’s one of many articles I found that tested both methods.
I am by no means a professional chef, but don’t worry too much about how many times you flip the steak. Just let it get a nice sear on both sides.
5. Cool Down and Finish Cooking
Now’s the time to turn down the heat a bit. Turn the temperature down to medium or move your steak to a cooler part of the grill. You don’t want it to burn!
Cooking times vary depending on the cut of meat and the grill you’re using, so you may want to use a meat thermometer to monitor your progress. Many people also check for doneness by touch, but a meat thermometer will easily do the trick. Foodsafety.gov advises that you cook steak to at least 145 degrees, and that you rest the steak for three minutes after cooking.
In my experience, cooking a steak to 145 degrees (plus at least three minutes of resting) makes for a nice medium rare steak. Keep it on the grill a little longer if you prefer your steak medium to well done.
Everyone has different tastes, so play around and experiment this summer to achieve your perfect steak.
What are your favorite grilling tips? Share them in the comments below.