Grilling the perfect steak is a discipline, an art. It takes preparation, patience, and skill to become a learned grillmaster plating up juicy cooked-to-order steaks with a hearty sear and flaky, flavorful crust. Cooking a steak to perfection isn’t complicated nor does it require any fancy kitchen gadgets. It’s a skill that’s easy to learn but hard to master. But first, you need to choose a steak.
Pick a Steak
But not just any steak. To grill a perfect steak, you need the best cut you can find. Look for a steak with thin streaks of fat distributed evenly throughout the steak. These fatty streaks are called “marbling,” and when this fat melts during the grilling process it brings unforgettable mouthwatering tenderness. Once you’ve selected a steak, keep reading for our grilling tips.
1. Thaw & Acclimate
For searing to occur, the proteins in our steak need heated to at least 310°F. Tossing cold meat onto a hot grill lowers the temperature and can prevent a crust from forming, so it’s important that any frozen steaks are thawed completely before cooking. Once thawed, allow steaks to rest outside the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.
2. Salt Early
Salt your steaks to taste with a few pinches of kosher or sea salt 30-45 minutes before grilling. Salting steaks in advance allows enough time for the salt to draw moisture from within the steak up to the surface, where it dissolves the salt and creates a brine that gets reabsorbed into the steak where it breaks down tough connective tissues.
3. Oil the Grate, not the Steak
If your steak contains too much moisture, it’ll steam rather than sear. That’s not good eats. Some oil is necessary to prevent sticking but be sure to apply it to the grill–not the meat. Use tongs and a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil to lube your grates.
4. Manage Heat
Remember, your grill needs to be rippin’ hot to get a good sear. Check the heat with a drop of water. If it sizzles and evaporates the instant it touches the grill, you’re good to go. If your oil is smoking, it’s too hot.
5. Use the 60/40 Rule
The argument over when and how often to flip a steak is one for the ages, but here are the facts: the best tasting steaks are seared on both sides and cooked evenly in the middle. The simplest, most foolproof way to do that is to only flip your steak once. The 60/40 rule suggests that 60% of your cook time should be spend on one side, and 40% on the other.
6. Keep the Lid Closed
It’s going to be tempting to take a peek while your steaks are sizzling, but it’s important to resist the urge. Opening the lid makes your grill lose heat, which makes steaks cook unevenly, and the sudden rush of oxygen can cause dangerous eyebrow scorching flareups.
7. Check for Doneness
There are a lot of methods for testing a steak’s doneness, but the only way to know for sure is to measure it with a meat thermometer.
- Rare: 120°F
- Medium Rare: 130°F
- Medium: 140°F
- Medium Well: 150°F
- Well: 160°F
The most difficult part of grilling a steak is the most important. It needs to rest. Pull your steaks from the grill once they’re cooked to 5-10 degrees below your target temperature and rest for 10-15 minutes. The residual heat inside the steak finishes the job while the juices, no longer in danger of becoming steam, settle within the meat for an evenly cooked steak bursting with flavor.
Hungry for a perfect steak? Stop in to our store at 1990 Center Road in New Franklin, Ohio for retail cuts or give us a call at (330) 529-4017 to inquire about custom beef processing from Lazy L Ranch Meats.