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How to Broil Steaks

Created March 8, 2017
Learn the secret to serving a tender, perfectly done broiled steak.

It's happened to all of us. We've tried to impress someone with a nice steak dinner and overcooked the steak until it was nearly inedible. Meanwhile you are thinking, "Why don't I know how to broil steaks?"

Broiling steak seems to be the easiest type of cooking method; press the broil button, put it under the broiler and presto! Not so. Knowing how to broil steak is a skill and, well, it's right here at your knife-tip.

What is Broiling?

Broiling is cooking directly under red-hot heat, which means a shorter cooking time and no marinating needed.

Certain cuts broil better than others. Beef known as the tender cuts are the best broilers. Tender cuts include these:
    Rib-eye steak Top loin Porterhouse T-bone Sirloin Eye round steak

Less tender cuts can be broiled too, such as top round and flank, but marinate them for 6-8 hours to tenderize them.

The best steaks for broiling are 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick.

To Salt or Not to Salt

Salting steak is a huge controversy. Know this: Salting is not required, it's up to you.

If you like salt, add it to your meat just before broiling, but avoid straight table salt. Use coarse salt like Kosher or sea salt. To prepare the steak, wipe it down with a damp cloth and rub it well with the coarse salt and cracked pepper. Add enough, but don't overdo it because you want to taste the steak, not the seasoning. For added flavor, slit the fat on the steak with a knife and insert thin slices of garlic. Just be sure to slice the garlic very thin or it will fall out when you flip the steak.

How To Broil

Set your oven to the "broil" setting. Use a broiler pan -- the kind with a grid where the fat from the meat can drain and won't smoke. Cover the bottom of the broiler pan (not the grid) with tin foil for less mess. Don't crowd.

Give each steak its own space for even cooking and so you can easily flip it when it's time. Place the beef at the top of the oven 2-4 inches from the flame.

Know Your Steak Style

Everyone's taste and idea of a "done" steak varies. What one person considers "raw" another thinks is perfect. Your preference determines how long to broil the steak.

The guidelines for specific doneness are to cook steaks to the following temperatures: 
  • Medium-rare: 145°F
  • Medium: 160°F 
  • Well: 170°F 
 Then be sure to let the steak sit for at least 3 minutes before serving -- this allows the steak to finish cooking and for the juices to be absorbed; creating the most flavorful steak.

Timing is everything! Set a timer or watch the clock; otherwise you will end up with that hockey puck again! The secret to great steak is to time it and flip once. Jot down the time it took to get the steak to the doneness you like for the next time.

Now that you know how to broil steaks, impress your friends or family with a juicy steak dinner. Let us know how it goes!