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The Best Grilled Steak Recipe

What is it? What is the best cut of beef for a grilled steak? Is it necessary to build a two-tier fire, so you can sear the steak over very high heat, and then move it to an area of lower heat? Should the steak receive salt, pepper and/or olive oil before it goes on the grill? Should it receive none of these things? Should it receive something else? I'm not especially interested in sauces, blue cheese, that sort of thing. Just the meat, and maybe a little fat (olive oil, butter), salt and pepper.

Thoughts?

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  1. Get good meat: USDA Choice at minimum, or Certified Angus, Prime if you can get it

    Recipes always call for olive oil...I have cooked steaks for more than 40 years, and never oiled one. Let it sit out for an hour, and then salt it liberally...with more than seems necessary...with sea salt or kosher salt. Both sides. Pat it in. Don't pepper until it comes off the grill, then grind some fresh pepper. Same with garlic. Garlic burns and gets bitter. Maybe add a little garlic butter to give it some flavor notes after it comes off the grill..

    Make a real hot fire on a grill....use real charcoal if possible, not briquets or gas. Sear the steak on both sides, and then move to a cooler part of grill. I usually leave it on the direct heat, for a nice char and medium rare. Let the steak sit for 5 minutes after taking off the grill for juices to recirculate.

    One secret to a great steak is to put it on the grill and then don't fiddle with it. Flip it once. I trim the excess fat off the sides....eliminates flareups. If you get a good grade of meat it will have marbling, or streaks of fat in it.

    Best cuts to grill: a NY strip or ribeye. Bone-in always has more flavor and juicier.
    Enjoy!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: steakman55

      Excellent comments....I would only add. After applying the meat to the grill surface...wait a couple + or - minutes then lift the steak and rotate (not flip) a few degrees...This will give you the criss-cross pattern of grill marks that are so eye applealing...if that matters to you.....

      Enjoy!

    2. Grilling is useful knowledge to acquire in cooking. You can turn out good results on a small hibachi or a $2K wonder as well. High heat is important in charring the surface of the meat. That's why places like Morton's & Ruth's Chris are in business, they can crank up to 1800-2000 F which you can't achieve on your home broiler. Bobby Flay from the FN, Steve Raichlen from PBS are some of the big names in grilling.

      About meat - make friends with your butcher, preferably a small specialty place not your local mega mart. I often buy much more reasonably priced and better tasting meat at my butcher and truly feel he goes out of his way for me because he knows I am good for $4-500/mo. Also, he will custom cut and trim meat the way I want it. Because we like our meat med rare, we want our steaks cut 1.5 - 2 in thick, so they can char on outside and be med rare on inside. We also prefer steaks with bones, more expensive but oh so much more flavorful (and we like to gnaw on bones!). Here are some of our favorite cuts in order of preference:

      bone in rib eye
      porterhouse steak
      strip steak
      sirloin steak (hard to find w/ bone, but pin bone if you can)
      flank steak
      skirt steak
      chuck eye steak (not kidding, very flavorful if you marinate well)

      The only steaks we marinate are flank, skirt, and chuck eye. The rest can all stand on their own merit. Important to have meat at room temperature, season and let sit on counter 30-60 min prior to grilling. We season with Lawry's or kosher salt, Montreal steak seasoning, garlic. That's it, period. Don't oil steak. If your grill is screeching hot, as it should be, food won't stick. If you want to be fancy, put on pat of compound butter as steak rests. Unfortunately, can't give real specifics on timing, depends on heat of grill, temp of meat, etc. Learn to judge doneness of meat by feel (med rare is like flesh on your hand between thumb & forefinger) or temp (120 for med rare). Very important to let sit 5-10 min to rest before serving. Experience is best teacher, good luck!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Diane in Bexley

        I use a weber kettle for almost all of my grilling and I've cooked thousands of steaks on it. The problem I always had was generating enough heat to get the steak charred pretty good and still have a rare steak. I finally resorted to something similar to the method I use to BBQ chicken.

        I build a big mound of charcoal in the center of the grill up to about 2" below the grate. Of course, this is how I always start my fire but when I cook steak I don't spread it out. I do try to give the mound somewhat of a flat top so the steaks cook evenly. When I get a good hot fire going I throw the steaks on for 3-4 minutes per side and then move them to the edge, which will be much cooler, to finish.
        If you've got even halfway decent meat you shouldn't have to do anything more than a little salt just before the steak goes on and a little pepper when it comes off. I always make sure I pat the steak dry before I put it on so it doesn't generate any excess steam. That's the kiss of death for a good steak. That's also the reason that I salt it just before I put it on the grill. I'd always heard that if you salt the meat too early it draws more moisture to the surface. I don't know if that's true or not but I do it my way just in case. My brother-in-law gave me some garlic butter from Germany and while it lasted the best use I could find for it was a big pat on a hot steak.

        Happy Grilling

        1. re: GrillMaster

          Thank you all for your extensive and extremely helpful tips!!!! I'm going to be busy grilling steak this weekend!

          1. re: pitbossmgm

            Apparently I am in the minority here but I like mine with a splash of high quality extra virgin olive oil when it comes off of the grill much like a bistecca fiorentina.

          2. re: GrillMaster

            Grillmaster....I too use only a Weber, and have gone through several. I have a large one to smoke turkeys and porkloins, and went through several of the small Smokey Joes but did not like to bend over the grill and it was easy to tip over. Now use the Mid-size, on legs/wheels, and it is perfect. If you are using briquets, try this for a hotter fire: real charcoal. Use a chimney starter with crumpled up newspaper and you will have a really hot fire in about 15 minutes. The briquets burn hotter and cleaner than briquets. Sear the steaks for a few minutes on each side without the cover, and then move them off the center of the fire and put lid on to finish.

            1. re: steakman55

              I wish I had easy access to real charcoal. I've had the opportunity to use it before and I do like it. I've also have a chimney that I use whenever I'm grilling burgers or anything else that needs a lower fire with the coals spread out. The key to the technique is having a good regular shaped mound of coals that reach just below the grate. Maybe 2". The grill I've got is actually a weber set into a big rolling shelf. It has a small propane cylinder that fires the charcoal quickly. The only complaint I have with the webers is that you can't easily adjust the level of the grate over the fire. That is, in my opinion, a big downside but I just can't imagine grilling on anything else. It just does so much and does it pretty well.

              Pitboss, I think one of the you'll notice from most of these posts is that they are not really what I'd consider a recipe but a technique. I firmly believe that most man-food is more technique than recipe. That's because we're better:)

        2. I have a slightly unorthodox method, but it works for me. The key is an old Weber gas grill that has a propensity to flare up. I use this to my advantage. Season the steaks (in my case, usually thick NY Strips or ribeyes) with salt and pepper, sometimes (if my GF is involved in this step) Montreal steak seasoning and Worcestershire, not my preference but not particularly objectionable; and let them rest while the grill heats up on high for some time. Get it nice and hot. Slap the steaks on, and let the grill flare up. This spikes the heat inside the covered grill so that it pins the thermometer on the high side - well over 500, my guess is over 700. Puts a nice char on the steaks, believe me. Move them around so they're out of the direct flame if they're getting too much of that oily black smoke, otherwise let them cook hot and fast; this is not for the faint of heart, but it really does produce excellent results. Flip them once, remove them when they're somewhat less well done than you want them (I do this by touch, aiming for the rare side of med-rare to take them off) and let them rest 10 minutes. After the rest, if you've taken them off at the right time (takes practice...) they will be crusty outside, and perfectly cooked to an even shade of red/pink all the way through, juicy and delicious. Well, this works for me, though I realize after writing all this that it's pretty subjective and probably won't be applicable for many other people. Sorry; but try it if you can....

          1. I have a dino sized 2+ inch bone-in ribeye that my Grill Pro Brother instructed me to cook thusly:

            Grill on each side about 8 minutes over direct heat. Remove and place on top rack/away from direct heat and cook in covered grill another 15 minutes.

            What do you guys think about these times? I have a gas grill that gets up to 500 or so and like my steak medium to med rare.

            (I'll make sure it is room temp to start and salted prodigiously, and wil let it rest too)

            1 Reply
            1. re: yamalam

              Sounds like an awfully long time for medium rare steak. I suggest using an instant read thermometer, insert into center and pulling steak off at 135 degrees and let rest for 10 minutes (temp should increase to 145 degrees).