Before you throw your next steak on the barbecue, see what grilling experts do to ensure that it turns out tender and juicy.
Step 1: Start with a clean grill Clean the inside of your grill and the grate with soap, a brush, and a sponge, and then wipe or spray it with cooking oil. This prevents the steak from sticking to the grate and tearing, which will cause it to lose juices.
Step 2: Use good beef Start with good, grain-fed beef. No matter the cattle breed, USDA prime, grain-fed beef is the highest rating, followed by choice. Rib eye, New York strip, tenderloin, top sirloin, porterhouse, and T-bone are all good cuts for grilling. Look for evenly-distributed marbling – the white streaks that indicate fat. Without it, your steak won't be as tender or tasty.
TIP: Don't grill a steak less than one inch thick; it will dry out easily. The ideal grilling width is one to one and a half inches thick.
Step 3: Let them sit Take steaks out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to allow them to come to room temperature.
Step 4: Prepare gas or electric grill If you're using a gas or electric grill, turn it to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, or set it on medium, and let it heat up for at least 15 minutes with the hood closed.
Step 5: Prepare charcoal grill If you're using charcoal, set the briquettes over three-quarters of the bowl so they are about three times higher on one side than on the other. Leave one quarter of the grill empty, which provides an area with less heat in case your fire gets too intense. Use lighter fluid to start the fire, and wait until all of the coals are lit before you put anything on the grill.
Step 6: Season the steaks Pat the steaks with a paper towel to absorb moisture. Then brush both sides with olive oil and liberally sprinkle them with fresh pepper and kosher salt.
TIP: If you like to marinate your steaks beforehand, keep in mind that the acidity in most marinades makes meat cook faster.
Step 7: Cook them Cook the steaks evenly, flipping them four to six minutes after placing them on the grill.
TIP: Use tongs or a spatula to flip steaks. A fork will pierce the meat, releasing juices.
Step 8: Check the temp After you've flipped them, wait two to three minutes. Then, check each steak's temperature by picking it up with tongs and inserting the meat thermometer into the steak's side until it reaches the center. A reading of 115 means the steak will be rare when you serve it, 125 to 130 is medium-rare, 140 to 145 is medium, 150 to 155 is medium-well, and more than 155 is well done. You can also make a small incision to peek inside.
TIP: Meat continues cooking for a few minutes after you remove it from the heat.
Step 9: Let them rest Remove the steaks and let them rest, loosely covered with foil, for about five minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. For best results, let the steaks rest with the side that was most recently on the grill face up. Now dig in and enjoy!
FACT: World-famous Wagyu Kobe beef steaks are lower in saturated fat and higher in monounsaturated fat – the kind that's good for you – than some other types of steaks.