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Here are some foolproof tips on how to grill a steak. For carnivores, nothing beats steak on the grill. The smell alone is a powerful distillation of summer and good times. I know, it can feel intimidating though to grill steak on an outdoor grill. But if you just follow my simple steps below, you’ll definitely be ready to slap some steaks on the grill in no time!
If you loved my method for searing steak in a cast iron skillet, you’re going to love this grilled steak tutorial. Just like the cast iron skillet method, the steak releases the most wonderful smell when cooked on a grill and the taste is absolutely delicious. Follow along!
why you’ll love this grilled steak tutorial
- Quick and easy but very special: Beautifully grilled steaks really are a fast and simple meal – on and off the grill in minutes -with zero fussy prep work – leaving time for some fun side dishes!
- Crucial tips explained: Grilling is quick, but it can go wrong fast, too. I explain the simple prep steps and timing, so your precious steaks don’t come out gray and tough.
- Succulent, protein-rich results: Perfectly cooked steak is juicy and good for you (in moderation). It is a protein bomb with a day’s worth of protein in one serving, plus lots of iron for healthy blood, zinc that repairs the body, and tons of B vitamins.
Ingredients to grill steak
- Ribeye or New York Strip Steaks: This recipe uses steaks about 1″ to 1 1/2″ in thick steaks. The thicker the steak, the longer it will need to cook. These cuts are widely available, have a great balance of tender meat, and enough marbling, i.e., fat, for fantastic flavor.
- Avocado oil: Avocado oil has a high flash point – meaning it can be heated to a high temperature (around 500°) before breaking down or burning – so it is perfect for grilling. Substitutes include safflower oil or sesame oil. Sesame oil adds sesame flavor. This is great if you are going with Asian flavors for your meal.
- Butter: Butter adds a layer of richness and moisture at the end, but it is optional.
- Salt and pepper: Seasonings contribute to the brown crust that creates so much flavor for a steak. The salt, especially, draws juices to the outside of the meat, helping the crust form. Other spices popular for steak rubs include garlic and onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, thyme, or oregano. Some rub recipes add brown sugar, but use it sparingly and know that sugar burns easily and can contribute to over-browning and flare-ups.
How to grill steak
The most time-consuming part of grilling steaks is taking the steak out of the fridge 30 minutes before grilling. Bringing it to room temperature assures even quicker grilling. I bring the steak to room temp, dry it off, season and oil it, and then cook on a preheated grill – either charcoal or gas works. Cook on high. Let the meat rest and enjoy!
- After allowing the steaks to sit at room temperature, take a paper towel and pat them dry. Wet steaks will not get that tasty mahogany crust – they turn an unsatisfying gray.
- Now, sprinkle with salt and pepper and any additional spices.
- Brush with avocado oil to prevent sticking.
- Place the seasoned and oiled steaks on a grill that has been pre-heated to high. Cook with the lid open.
- Allow the steaks to cook for the allotted time in one spot without moving. Use tongs to flip and finish cooking. The second side needs less time. Remember, thinner steaks cook faster.
- Remove from the heat when they are just below – 3° to 5° – the desired temperature, because the temp will continue to rise during rest. Allow the steaks to sit covered loosely off the heat for a few minutes. Then, enjoy!
Tips for grilling steak
- Dry steak means seared steaks: Drying off the steak prepares the surface for crusting on the grill.
- Scrape and clean your grill: Make sure your grill is nice and clean, so the residue of your last meal and extra charcoal bits do not cling to your steak. Too many burnt remains are not good for you.
- Stay put and use a timer: Steaks cook quickly, give them your full attention and stand by the grill. A quick run into the kitchen can turn into a few minutes, and before you know it, your steaks have gone from juicy pink and medium-rare to dull gray and overdone.
- Test for doneness: No instant-read thermometer? Then, try the press test. A raw steak will feel like the fleshy part of your palm, right beneath your thumb. Press that part with the index finger of your opposite hand. Now, touch your middle finger and thumb together and press in the same spot feeling how the flesh firms up. That is what a medium-rare steak feels like. It helps to press the raw steak prior to cooking for a baseline feel.
- Zush up the butter: A fun way to pump up the flavor is to add minced fresh herbs, like oregano, thyme, or parsley, and some minced garlic to the butter.
- Rest is important: Treat the steaks like toddlers. They need a quick nap. While the steak rests, the temperature continues to climb for the first few minutes, and the juices reabsorb into the meat. If you cut the meat right away, all that deliciousness runs out onto the cutting board.
what to serve with grilled steak
- Grilled Romaine Lettuce
- Grilled Asparagus
- Grilled Corn
- Potato Cauliflower Bake
- Baked Potato
- Air Fryer Green Beans
how to store & reheat grilled steak
Grilled steak is best enjoyed fresh off the fire, but if you do have leftovers wrap tightly in foil or store in a shallow, covered dish. To reheat, bring it to room temperature for 20 minutes. Then in a covered dish, microwave at 30-second intervals until heated through. Be careful of overcooking. Alternatively, take a non-stick skillet or cast iron pan, oil lightly, and sear for a few minutes on each side to temperature.
how long will steak last in the fridge?
Grilled steak will last for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
can I freeze steak after grilling it?
Yes, you can freeze grilled steak. Wrap it very tightly in at least two layers of freezer-grade foil or paper, and then bag it in a freezer-safe bag. Frozen steak is best used within 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.
Frequently asked questions
An old theory used to be that bone-in steak was more flavorful than boneless, but in reality, the flavor in the marrow of the bone has no chance of leaching out during a quick turn on the grill. So bone-in or boneless – both have the same yummy factor.
Keeping the lid up promotes a beautiful sear on the steak. Closing the lid creates a convection oven-type air flow, which cooks the center of the food faster. But, if your steaks are very thick, you can sear both sides on high, then turn down the gas or move your steaks to the cool part of a charcoal grill, and cover for a very short time (start testing at 30 seconds) to bring the middle to temperature.
Here you will find a disconnect. The US government calls 145° medium and considers that the safe temp. Grill masters scoff at this and consider a steak overdone and ruined at that temp, especially factoring in the temperature rise while resting. Broadly speaking, rare is between 120-125°, medium-rare is between 125° and 130°, and medium-well is going to be between 140° and 145°.
Grilled steak is the perfect splurge for Father’s Day, a backyard date night, or an everyday celebration!
More grilling recipes:
- Grilled Zucchini
- Grilled Lemon Chicken
- Grilled Fish Tacos with Coleslaw
- Grilled Shrimp Skewers
- Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
- Grilled Pizza
- Grilled Mahi Mahi with Avocado Salsa
- Grilled Peaches
- Salmon Burgers
- Grilled Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs
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How to Grill Steak
- Allow the steaks to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Then pat them dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and brush with oil on both sides.
- Preheat an outdoor grill to high heat. Place the steaks on the grill and cook with the lid open for 4 minutes on one side without touching.
- Use tongs to flip the steaks and cook for 2-4 more minutes on the other side, depending on desired level of doneness (130°F for medium rare or 140°F for medium well), keeping in mind that the temperature will continue to rise about 5 degrees after you remove from heat and the steaks rest.
- Transfer the steaks to a plate or cutting board, add the butter on top and tent with aluminum foil, if desired. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes before slicing or serving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.