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How to Grill a Perfect Steak

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Perfectly grilled steaks are one of my family’s favorite entrees. I’m sharing my tips for how to grill a perfect steak on your barbecue.

Over the years, we’ve learned how to grill steak so that it’s tender and flavorful every single time! There’s definitely an art to grilling steak, but it’s easy to learn.

 Rib Eye Steak on a dinner plate with asparagus

How to Grill Steak

A good steak or beef roast always makes my family happy. I splurged on some dry-aged rib eye steaks from a local butcher shop for Nick’s last dinner before leaving for college. But these techniques work for beef tenderloin steaks, New York strips or whatever steak you prefer.

Here are some tips for grilling steak:

  • Buy the best beef you can afford. Good marbling (fat distribution) makes for a tender, juicy steak. A lean steak won’t be as flavorful either. I love Certified Angus Beef brand as their beef goes through rigorous scrutiny to receive the CAB seal of approval.
  • The cut of steak is important, too. My husband prefers rib eyes and New York strips. Although I love a great filet, the leanness of this cut is not ideal for grilling, but wrapping in bacon and a light coating of olive oil adds some needed fat.
  • PRO-Tip: Season early. Salt your beef 30 minutes before cooking. I often season my steaks a day before I plan to cook them and let them “dry brine” in the refrigerator overnight.
  • PRO-Tip: Bring your steaks out of the fridge about 1/2 hour before grilling so they don’t go on the grill cold. This allows for more even cooking.
  • Use charcoal if available and make a hot fire. The smokiness from the charcoal adds wonderful complex flavor. The goal should be a 450-500º fire.
  • Move only 2-4 times during the cooking process, twice if just flipping but twice per side to make cross-hatch marks.
  • Allow your grilled steak to rest at least 5 minutes before serving. This allows any juices to be reabsorbed.
Sliced Perfect Grilled Rib Eye Steaks on a square white plate

How to Tell When Steak is Done

The men in family like their steaks rare with a capital R. Just shy of mooing says the hubby. I’m more of a medium-rare gal and I’m constantly sending my steak back out to the grill! You need to know how long to grill steak when you’re cooking for those will different tastes.

I’ve tried to teach the grill-master the hand trick for how to tell when a steak is done. This is a technique where you press on the fleshy spot beneath your thumb while making the “OK” sign with your thumb and other fingers.

Using the thumb and pointer finger makes that fleshy spot feel like rare beef when you press on it, and pressing together the thumb and pinky finger make that fleshy spot feel like well-done beef, etc. Go ahead and google “hand test for beef doneness” for details.

Once you get used to checking your beef that way, you won’t ever need a meat thermometer. But for those who don’t want to learn this technique, though I won’t name names, a good meat thermometer is key for knowing when the steak is done.

How Long to Grill Steak

According to the Certified Angus Beef website, the temperature for each stage of doneness are as follows (Note: I always pull our meat off 10º before it reaches the temperatures listed and let the beef rest. During the resting period, the beef will warm another 10º). Here’s How Long to Grill Steak using a meat thermometer:

  • Rare (cool red center): 125º
  • Medium Rare (warm red center): 135º
  • Medium (warm pink center): 145º
  • Medium Well (slightly pink center): 150º
  • Well (little or no pink): 160º

More Grilled Beef Recipes:

If inclement weather hampers grilling, try this recipe for Pan Seared Steak

Perfect grilled rib eye steak featured image

Perfect Rib Eye Steaks

An easy recipe for grilled rib eye steaks

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Yield 1

Ingredients

  • One 1 1/2 inch thick rib eye steak per person, prime or the best quality you can afford, I recommend Certified Angus Beef brand
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, cut in half

Instructions

  1. A couple hours or the night before grilling, pat steaks dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle each side with a scant ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and return to the refrigerator, uncovered.
  2. Bring steaks out to sit at room temperature one hour prior to grilling. Rub each with a garlic half and re-season with salt and pepper. Grill over hot coals (or set your gas grill to high heat) with the lid open for about 3-4 minutes per side for rare. If you want the classic cross-hatch sear marks, turn the steak 45º (one ⅛ turn) at 1½-2 minute mark, then grill for a couple more minutes before flipping. Repeat on other side and grill for 3-4 minutes total. Use instant an read thermometer to check internal temperature: remove at 120º for rare and 125º for medium rare. There will be carry-over cooking and temperature will rise during resting period.
  3. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 steak

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 897Total Fat: 70gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 4gCholesterol: 238mgSodium: 176mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 65g

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How to grill the perfect ribeye steak

Photo circa 2012

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