Want to learn how to grill a steak to perfection? Few things beat a juicy, tender steak with a light, smoky crust.
Look no further – we’ve got some easy cooking tips for making quick, drool-worthy grilled steaks.
Step 1: Choose a beef cut with marbling
According to Brittany Crump, MPH, RD at Savor the Nutrition“The best cut of beef for a grilled steak should be tender with lots of marbling, which are the flecks of white fat found in all meat. The marbled fat melts as your steak sears, infusing flavor into the meat while keeping it juicy and tender.
If you’re watching your fat intake, Holly McKee-Clark, Culinary Specialist for Beachbody, says, “Top sirloin is a flavorful but still lean cut for grilling.
Other cuts of beef with adequate marbling for a grilled steak include:
- Striploin steak (eg, New York or Kansas City striploin)
- Top sirloin steak
- Filet Mignon or Tenderloin
- Flank steak or flank steak
Your piece of steak should be about one to two inches thick to produce a good char without overcooking the meat inside.
The exception is flank or skirt steaks, which should be sliced thin and against the grain after cooking to break down the tougher muscle fibers.
These steaks are best served on tacos, fajitas, sandwiches or salads.
Step 2: Prepare and season the steak
Before seasoning, pat your steaks dry with a paper towel to create a dry surface for the seasoning to stick to.
“To help the flavors seep into the meat better, score your steaks in a criss-cross pattern on both sides before adding your rub or marinade,” McKee-Clark recommends.
For flavor, you can simply season the steak with salt and pepper.
Or pick up some premade steak seasoning at the grocery store. You can also create your own by mixing a mixture of the following:
- Garlic or onion powder
- Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
- Parsley flakes
For tougher flank or skirt steaks, we recommend using a wet marinade – usually made with oil and acid – to make the steak more tender than a dry rub.
Let your steaks marinate for at least 30 minutes to soak up the flavor.
Your basic steak marinade typically includes:
- Lemon juice or vinegar
- Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
- Chopped garlic or onions
- Your favorite herbs and spices
Step 3: Let the steaks come to room temperature
Take your marinated steaks out of the fridge and let them sit, covered, on the counter, for 20 to 30 minutes to approach room temperature.
Grilling a steak while it’s cold means the inside of the steak will have to cook longer, which could result in an overcooked exterior.
Step 4: Grill the steak on hot, clean grills
Now that you’ve prepared, it’s time to learn how to grill a steak. Starting with a clean grill gives your grilled steak some nice, distinct shading marks.
“Brush a little oil on the grill to keep the steak from sticking to your grates. Steak is a quick-cooking meat that requires a hot, preheated grill at 450-500°Fadvises Crump.
How long should you cook a steak on a grill? What about each side?
It’s difficult to give a specific cooking time for steak because it depends on the size, thickness, and desired doneness of your steak.
- You can start by searing your steaks on the grill for 2-3 minutes and repeat on the other side.
- A thicker steak should cook longer, but it’s best to undercook it, check for doneness, and continue cooking if needed.
Do you close the grill when cooking a steak?
“If your steak is thicker than about ¾ inch, close the lid to create a convection oven. If it’s a thin flank or skirt steak, leave the grill open; otherwise, you won’t You won’t get a good sear on both sides before the steak is done,” says McKee-Clark.
To check the cooking, you can cut the steak but you risk losing a little juiciness.
“A meat thermometer is a grill master’s best friend,” says McKee-Clark, “Check your meat before you think it’s done, then every minute or two after that. Remove your meat from the grill when it is 5°F below your desired cooking temperature, then cover it with foil for 10 minutes. The meat will continue to cook while it rests.
If you have a meat thermometer, use the chart below to rate doneness and continue cooking your steak until you like it.
|Cooking the steak||Internal temperature (degrees F)|
Special note on how to grill a flank or skirt steak“Beware, these cuts are thinner than regular steaks and will take less time to reach the desired doneness,” says McKee-Clark.
So keep an eye on this grill!
Step 5: Rest your steak before cutting it
If you cut the steak right after it’s cooked, the juices will run out, leaving you with a less juicy piece of steak.
Instead, tent your steak with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes so the juices can settle.
As stated above, this also allows the steak to finish cooking.
We recommend cutting against the grain, as this breaks the muscle into smaller pieces, making your steak less chewy – this step is essential for tougher cuts like flank steak!
For all other cuts, enjoy the steak as desired.