How to Grill the Perfect Steak

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Grilling a steak in the backyard is a great American pastime.  Enjoy it even more by knowing exactly how to grill the perfect steak.  This grilling guide will help you beef up your skills in no time.

Advice from the Experts: How to Grill the Perfect Steak

Buy the Best

The most tender and flavorful steaks are Prime grade, but you won’t see them often at the grocery store. The next best quality is Choice. Good selections in the Choice grade are filets, rib eyes and porterhouse steaks. If you have access to a butcher, take advantage of their expertise. There are ranges within each grade and a butcher will know if your steak is at the top end of the Choice grade or the bottom. The top of the range will give you beef that’s very close to Prime quality.

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Warm It Up

Make sure the steak is at indoor room temperature. If you put a cold steak on the grill, the exterior will burn before the interior cooks to the desired temperature. Do not let the steak sit at indoor room temperature for more than an hour before cooking.

Oil the Meat, Not the Grill

Spray oil is a griller’s best friend when it comes to cooking steak or any kind of skinless protein. An evenly applied coating of neutral oil such as vegetable or canola on both sides of the steak will ensure the steak doesn’t stick to the grill.

Get It Hot

Preheat your grill on high. And then do the hand test. Hold your hand over the grates. You shouldn’t be able to leave it there for more than two seconds. You want to hear that sizzle when the steak hits the grill. That high heat will give your steak a perfect crust. Monitor the grill temperature to ensure that it remains at around 450-500 degrees.

Know When It’s Done

This is the most nerve-wracking aspect of learning to grill the perfect steak. To take the guesswork out of that, you need to be able to measure the internal temperature. Invest in into a digital meat thermometer or checkout our new Char-Broil® Wi-Fi connected grill. The SmartChef® Gas Grill connects to your smartphone and lets you easily monitor and control food temperatures and much more. You simply insert the connected probe into the steak and set your desired temperature from the SmartChef Gas Grill app – you’ll get a perfect juicy steak every time.

For rare steak, the internal temperature as measured in the middle of the steak is 125 degrees. For medium rare, it’s 130-135 degrees and well done is 155 degrees.

Let It Rest

Never cut into a steak that’s hot off the grill. Pull it off the heat, tent it with foil and let it rest about 8 minutes. While it is resting, the steak’s fibers will relax, the juices will redistribute back to the center and the temperature will come up.

Tip: If your steak is around 2 inches thick, it will continue to rise in temperature even when it’s off the grill. A good rule of thumb is to pull it off five degrees before target.

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Now that you know how to grill the perfect steak, visit the Char-Broil community site to find great recipes for grilled side dishes to complete your meal.

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16 thoughts on “How to Grill the Perfect Steak

  1. Hi Sherry, you can do both. You can oil the meat prior to cooking to increase flavor and then coat the grates with high heat oil prior to preheating to reduce sticking.

  2. Hi Kristi, we would recommend closing the lid to prevent any flare-ups that might occur.

  3. Hi Rita, to produce a perfect crust on the steak you will need to grill it while the grill is on high. Once your thermometer reaches the internal temperature that is to your choosing, you will take the steak off the grill and let it rest in foil.

  4. Hi Tim, yes, you can brush your steaks with olive oil. Add some cracked black pepper and sea salt for a seasoning that rocks!

  5. Hi Ron, you can cook steak over indirect heat. You can find a great recipe for cooking steak over indirect heat here.

  6. Better to grill on direct heat. Depending on thickness of steak and temp of grill, do each of the following for 2.5 to 3.5 minutes. 1)Place steak on very hot oiled grill.
    2) After 2.5-3.5 minutes, rotate steak 90 degrees to get crossed grill marks.
    3) After 2.5-3.5 minutes, flip the steak and repeat steps 1&2 to get crossed grill marks on other side.
    4) Insert a meat thermometer into the side of the steak and push probe towards center of steak.
    5) Continue cooking on high heat until it reaches correct temp for your desired doneness.

    Keep grill lid closed while cooking. A good grill temp is 650 degrees.

  7. Is it better to grill steak on the grates or a grate you use on top the grates. If so what’s the time difference. Marc

  8. Hi Jim, for a 1.5 inch steak you will want to cook for 6 minutes on each side for medium rare or 7 minutes on each side for medium.

  9. It is better to grill steak directly on the grate as opposed to a secondary grate. As long as the grill and grate are preheated there will not be a time difference.

  10. Hi Scott, we recommend smoking steaks at 230F until they reach an internal temperature of 145F. This will take roughly an hour or two.

  11. What should I look for when buying steaks in a grocery store.. I’vce heard the more marbling the better it is.. Is this true?

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