10 Secrets to the Best Grilled Steak
It's grilling season! Whether you're making burgers and brats for a crowd, thick-cut Iowa pork chops or a chicken breast with bacon, cheese and BBQ sauce (my favorite way to grill chicken), grilling gives any kind of meat a great flavor and it can be healthier than frying it on the stove.
If you're splurging and steaks are on the menu, we have 10 steak-grilling tips to make sure your favorite cut of beef turns out perfect every time.
Hands down the best cut of beef you can buy is the filet mignon (tenderloin). It is the most tender steak and has the most flavor. The Porterhouse will give you the best of both worlds with the New York strip and a filet separated by the T-bone. The T-bone steak is a smaller sized Porterhouse. A ribeye and sirloin steak are also good cuts of meat to grill. It all depends on how much you want to spend.
Many people will say this is unnecessary. How many restaurants cook their meat from room temperature? I think this is a crucial step. A cold steak will not cook evenly on the grill. Leave it sit out for about 30 minutes before you place it on the grill.
Take a piece of paper towel and pat your meat dry.
The perfect seasoning for steak is salt and pepper. Use kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper for extra flavor. If you want more flavor, you can add a compound butter (more info on that later).
Lots of people will oil their grill grates. To avoid your meat sticking to the grates, the best thing to do is oil your meat. Use an oil with a high smoke point such as olive oil (not extra virgin) or corn oil. After you have the salt and pepper rubbed into your meat, rub your steak in oil.
You should always preheat your grill. After it has preheated for awhile, clean the grates with a grill brush and some elbow grease. You don’t want last night’s pork chops sticking to your steak. Many people think the gunk on their grates is “seasoning.” I think it’s gross old pieces of every meal you’ve ever made on the grill along with insect droppings. That is why you clean your grates and crank up the heat.
Let your meat sear. By letting it sear, it will be easier to turn and you’ll get those really cool grill markings (extra flavor) on your steak. When it is time to turn your meat, use tongs. Don’t stick your meat with a fork or you’ll lose juices.
I worked in a restaurant for many years and I could tell the doneness of a steak just by touching it. Today, I don’t rely on the touch test, I use a thermometer. Rare is 120 degrees, medium is 140 and well done is 160 degrees. The more well done, the dryer the steak will be. I don’t like a bloody steak, so I make mine around 145 degrees for a medium-medium well steak.
There are a couple of ways to do this and either takes the steak over the top. Melt a stick of butter and brush your steak with it right before it comes off the grill. You can also make a compound butter by mixing together softened butter, spices and herbs. Place on a piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a log, then freeze. Right before the steak comes off the grill, slice off a piece of the compound butter and set it on top of the steak to melt.
Never cut into your steak as soon as it comes off the grill. Allow your steak to rest for about 5 minutes before you serve it. This will seal the juices inside.