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May 30, 2008 10:00 AM

Grilling steak - cover on or off?

I plan to toss a couple thick ribeyes on a weber smokey-joe grill tonight and was wondering if I should leave the top on or off while grilling.

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  1. Both;-)
    I would make a dual-zone heat for cooking. Gather more coals on one side to make it hotter for the searing of the meat on both sides. This you will do with the top off, so you can keep an eye on flare ups. You want to caramelize the meat, not burn it. That will make it taste bitter.
    Once you have achieved a sear on each side (probably 4-5 minutes per side), move the steaks over to the less hot area, cover and let them come up to your desired temperature. There shouldn't be any flares on the less hot side.
    Hope this helps!

    2 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      Great idea - expect my wife just invited a couple over which means 2 more steaks and not enough room to do the dual-zone method (using a small smokey-joe). I usually grill on a gas grill, except when it comes to steak, hence the smaller grill. I could use the gas grill and do the dual zone, which I've done before, but then I lose that great charcoal tatste. Hmmmmmm.....

      1. re: BatMan

        You could sear on the Smokey Joe and finish them off on the gas grill!

    2. I have just been researching grilling meat and it ways (with a gas barbecue) to leave the cover on. Use a meat thermometer, too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sarah galvin

        I wouldn't stick a thermometer into a cooking steak. Once you've cooked a few, its easy to tell doneness by touch.

        1. re: chileheadmike

          Yeah, you're right. Use in the beginning while you are learning, perhaps, rather than always cutting and checking.

      2. Think about how you would do them in a cast iron skillet. You would first sear to build a crust then finish in the oven if they were thick steaks. Same holds true for the grill. When you cover the grill you are in essence creating an oven.

        1. If you have access to a pie tin, or empty tin can, fill it with apple wood or some other type of chip (you can find small bags at your local home supply store) soak the chips for a few hours, then place the tin or can on the corner of the gas grill. Heat your grill to about 400 degrees, make sure the smoke gets going, then quickly place the steaks on the grill to sear. Turn the heat down to 325 - 350. Rotate steaks 1/4 turn after a couple of minutes, after about 4 minutes, flip the steaks. DO NOT keep peeking - that's my problem : ) and you can check the doneness by the finger method (thumb to index = rare, thumb to middle = medium, etc., (feel the fleshy part of your thumb for the measure).
          The sear smoke combination will give you a good flavor; not the same as from a charcoal grill, but you will not have to run between grills, either.

          1. Ribeye - hot fire, quick cooking, cover off. Don't leave the grill while cooking.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rudeboy

              I disagree. Ribeye (at least 1 inch thick) - hot fire, 3-4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes 2nd side for MR and definitely COVER ON.