Fire up the grill -- it's time to grill steak!
Grilling a perfect, tender steak doesn't take a culinary degree. Learn a few tricks on meat selection, seasoning and cooking to give you enough know-how to cook excellent, mouth-watering steaks every time you fire up the grill.
Selecting the Meat
A quality steak starts with selecting the best piece of meat. One of the most important qualities to look for in a grilling steak is the amount of marbling in the meat or the amount of fat in the cut. The more marbling in a steak, the more flavorful and tender it will be. Popular cuts with good marbling include rib eye, porterhouse, T-bone, tenderloin and New York strip.
Also, consider the thickness of the meat. You want a good, thick steak that won’t dry out too quickly on the high heat of a barbecue. Look for a cut at least 3/4 inch thick, but no more than 1-1/2 inches thick. Many cooks go for the 1-inch thickness as a happy medium.
Now, let’s talk about marinating. Some cooks love to experiment with marinades, while others prefer just a little salt and pepper to let the flavor of the meat speak for itself. It comes down to personal preference. However, if you are spending top dollar on a well-marbled rib-eye or porterhouse, you may not want to mask its flavor in teriyaki sauce.
Marinating does work well for tougher cuts, like sirloin, since the process helps tenderize it. Other cuts, like T-bone and New York strip, also respond well to marinades, but limit the soaking time to just a couple hours before cooking.
A simple method of seasoning is to apply a “rub” to the meat in the form of various herbs and spices. Choose anything from thyme and rosemary to a spicy chili powder or hot Cajun rub. Apply the rub on both sides of the steak about an hour before grilling to allow the flavors to sink in.
Now it’s time to get cooking! The most important thing to remember is to get the grill good and hot before you set the meat on it. A gas grill will heat up in about 10 minutes while a charcoal fire takes closer to 20. If you splash a little water on the metal and it sizzles and pops, it’s ready to go.
Place the meat on the hottest part of the grill and sear the steak for about one minute on each side for a 1-inch thick steak. After you’ve seared it, move it to a slightly cooler place on the grill and cook for another four to five minutes on each side. The thicker the steak, the longer it will take to cook. For beginning cooks, the best way to know when a steak is done is by using a kitchen thermometer to take the internal temperature of the meat. Slide the prong into the side of the meat and read the temperature. When it hits 145-degrees, it’s medium-rare, while at 160-degrees, it is medium.
Remove the steak from the grill when it’s at the temp you want and let it rest for a few minutes. Resting allows the juices to redistribute, making the meat more tender. One more thing, always use tongs when turning your meat -- never use a fork. The prongs of the fork will pierce the meat and let all of those wonderful, flavorful juices run right into the fire.
What kind of grilled steak do you like best?