Earn Serious Grilling Cred with these Top Tips for a Great Steak
How do the pricey steakhouses do it? A perfect cut of beef charred on the outside and tender on the inside. Grilling a steak correctly takes some practice and Barbecue Country is sharing their tips to achieve that mouth-watering steakhouse taste, right in your own backyard.
1. Select the Right Steak
Look for well-marbled steaks. Fat promotes both a ton of flavour and tenderness. Here are some of our favourites:
A flavourful, well-marbled cut of meat with a high fat content from the rib section of the cow. However, because of that extra fat, ribeye needs to be trimmed and causes some grill flare-ups.
Strip Steak or New York Strip
A tender but somewhat chewy cut that comes from the rear of the cow. The beefy flavour isn’t as pronounced as the ribeye but is still well-marbled and flavourful. Because there isn’t as much fat, it doesn’t need to be trimmed and causes less flare-ups.
The t-shaped bone that gives this steak its name joins two types of steak in one piece of meat: the soft tenderloin and the richer, chewier strip steak. When grilling a T-bone, position the tenderloin (the less marbled area) away from the direct heat as it cooks quicker than the strip steak portion of the cut.
The flank steak is thin and comes from the belly of the cow, near the back leg, and is rich in flavour. To preserve tenderness, flank steak is always served sliced against the grain.
Another thin cut that comes from the front of the belly of the cow that "hangs" down. This cut has a strong beef flavour and marinates very well due to looser muscle fibers that soak it all up.
This thin, fatty cut comes from the diaphragm of the cow and does very well with high heat searing. Like the flank steak, serve sliced, against the grain.
2. Bring to Room Temperature and Season
Remove steaks from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. Bringing the meat to room temperature is a crucial step in the grilling process.
Liberally season the steak with salt right before grilling. Follow this simple rule of thumb for how much salt to use:
½ teaspoon of kosher salt (or ¼ table salt) per pound of meat.
For thin cuts of meat, use a marinade and add some sugar into the mix to help tenderize the meat. Leave refrigerated for 4 or more hours, if you can. Again, bring to room temperature before grilling.
3. Prep a Two Zone Grill
Whether you’re using charcoal or gas, we recommend setting up a two zone grill. This allows more control over how your food cooks. Build one area with intense, direct heat and the other with less hot, indirect heat. For a gas grill, just fire up one side of the grill and leave the other side off. For charcoal, arrange the lit, ashed-over coals on one side of the grill.
4. Reverse Sear Thick Steaks
For a steak that's 1 1/2 inches thick or more, the best strategy to ensure perfectly charred meat on the outside and cooked to desired doneness in the middle, is the reverse sear.
Start the steak over indirect heat (225°F), close the lid and let cook until 10-15 degrees below your target temperature.
Then go ahead and crank the direct heat up even more! Move the steak over the hotter direct-heat section of the grill for a final quick sear of just a few minutes per side.
5. Sear Thin Steaks Over Direct Heat
For a steak that's less than 1 1/2 inches thick, grill it over direct heat, flipping the meat about every minute until it reaches the desired temperature. Flipping the meat ensures that the surface browns evenly but that the middle of the steak doesn't cook too quickly.
6. Hit the Desired Doneness Temperature
As you’re measuring the temperature, please note that the internal temperature of the meat will rise another 5 degrees as the meat rests.
Rare (a cool red center): 125°F/52°C
Medium Rare (a cool red center): 135°F/57°C
Medium (a warm red center): 145°F/63°C
Medium Well (slightly pink center): 150°F/66°C
Well Done (very little to no pink): 160°F/71°C
7. Rest the Steak and Serve
That steak sure does look great! And you want to dig in and devour it. But letting it hang out for just 5 minutes helps trap all of its juices into the fibers of the meat. If you cut into it too soon, all of that flavour will run out onto the plate.
Now that you know the basics of grilling the perfect steak, start experimenting with different spices and marinades. Barbecue Country has you covered with an extensive variety in our store. Come check us out in person or online.