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I’m sure we can all agree: grilling the perfect steak is an art form. It takes a certain amount of precision, attention to detail, and knowledge of the craft to get that perfect taste. That said, mastering the art of grilling a steak isn’t hard once you’ve tackled the basics.
With this list of grilling steak tips and techniques, we hope to give you a crash course on how to cook a delicious steak. There are a variety of methods available online and in cookbooks that can easily be picked up and expanded upon; here are some of the best tips and tricks.
This is a rookie mistake that a lot of grillers make. When you bring meat directly from the cold fridge and place it onto the hot grate, you risk your steak cooking unevenly. Oftentimes, you’ll see that the outside cooks a lot faster than the inside and by the time the inside is finished cooking, the outside is overdone.
So, how do you overcome this? Depending on the size of the steak, take it out of the fridge approximately 20-40 minutes before grilling. If the steaks are wrapped in anything, make sure to remove it and allow the steak to sit as-is on an even surface (and away from any pets).
This includes seasoning it properly with cooking oil (remember, not too much, remember) and using a stiff wire brush to remove any residue that might be sticking around from the last time you used it.
It’s best to season your grill before and after each use and to use the wire brush after cooking. Do this while the grates are still warm. This way, the residue doesn’t have a chance to cool off which makes it very difficult to remove.
This method of maintaining your grill is the best way to give it longevity and to preserve that iconic grill-flavor that you want in a grilled steak. It also makes the cooking process easier as the grates become less sticky the more they are seasoned.
Many professional chefs spend a decent amount of time searing their stakes and more and more home cooks are adapting their methods for personal use.
Consider using a searing technique to really bring out the natural flavor of the steak. Many myths are going around about searing but most of them are misinformed. Searing steaks ups the taste in ways you never thought possible.
Does your steak need a meat thermometer? The general rule of thumb is that meat thermometers are useful for steaks that are 1.5-2 inches thick. Here’s a guide to help you with cooking temperatures to tell you when steaks should be removed from the grill:
Rare: 120-125 Fahrenheit
Medium Rare: 125-130 Fahrenheit
Medium: 130-135 Fahrenheit
If your steak is under 1.5 inches thick, a meat thermometer may not be the best option as it can be inaccurate. In this case, a timer is a better choice. Rare steaks can be cooked for three minutes on a high setting. Four minutes is sufficient for medium-rare and five for medium.
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As steaks cook on a grill with high heat settings, they naturally lose their moisture. The longer steak cooks, the more fat and juices are lost. The key here is to figure out the sweet spot of the meat. Every grill’s high settings are different and there is a very short window of time between rare and medium-rare, medium-rare and medium, medium and well done.
Take the steak off the grill slightly before you think it’s done knowing that the steak still cooks for a short while after leaving the grill. This knowledge is crucial to avoid overcooking.
Here’s another difference between chefs and more amateur home cooks: chefs can easily tell when meat feels cooked as opposed to when it feels raw. How can you learn this skill? Easy — by touching the meat at various stages of cooking.
As the meat cooks, it naturally becomes harder. The more you touch your steaks, the easier this is to figure out. Cook a couple of steaks and you’ll be a pro at feeling your way around the grill.
That said, playing with your steaks too much can result in unfavorable results. Don’t play with your food too much. Flip the steak once using tongs and don’t touch it with anything but one finger. Resist poking or prodding the meat — it could alter the cooking process. Just let them do their thing.
This is one of the most important tips of all for a delicious steak, whether it's filet mignon, rib eye, or sirloin. Often, people take their steak off the grill and stick it right on the dinner plate without letting it settle. There are a few problems with this approach. First, remember that the steak is still cooking immediately after being taken off the heat. It needs time to settle so the juices flow throughout the entire piece of meat. This lets the juices redistribute so the steak is ultimately more flavorful.It’s helpful to put the steaks on a plate or board and cover them lightly with aluminum foil to help this distribution process. Once they’ve sat for about 8-10 minutes, your perfect steak can either be chopped up or served whole.