A well cooked steak is a meal fit for the Gods, an unwavering sign of manhood, and a simple pleasure that all deserve to enjoy. Whether you like yours medium rare, well-done, or anywhere in between, the secret to a great steak comes in the preparation and cooking. Usually I’ll serve steak with mashed potatoes (I’m a man of simple flavors), or some veggies if I feel the need to pretend I’m healthy, but we’ll save the sides for another time. In this article we are going to take a quick look at our 3 top tips for grilling the perfect steak.
Temperatures are Important
When grilling a steak (much like when grilling any kind of food) it is important to operate at the correct temperatures. This means for both the steak and the grill. Take your steak out of the refrigerator far enough ahead of time to allow the beef to warm up. A near room-temp steak will grill better than a cold one because it allows for more control on heat distribution.
To make your steak a flawless work of art you must have two temperatures to cook at, a high temperature for marking (or “searing”), and a lower heat to finish cooking. If you are cooking in your kitchen, this is easily done by using two burners, if you are grilling you can achieve the same effect by piling up the embers up on one side of the grill to create a side close to the heat source, and one further away.
Mark your steak at a high heat. This is best done by placing the steak in the “searing” section you’ve prepared, and only turning the steak once. Each side of the meat slab should be facing the heat only one time. This will create a nice outer layer which keeps in the juices as the steak cooks through to your desired “done.” After the steak has been marked, move it to low heat until the internal temp is what you’re looking for…which brings us to our next tip.
Know When it’s Perfect
An easy-to-make mistake many amateur grill masters make is taking the steak off too early, or leaving it on too long. You know how you like your steak (for me, medium), here’s the secret to getting it cooked right every time. Buy a cooking thermometer. All meats have specific internal temperatures that indicate whether they are fully cooked or not.
When it comes to beef:
Medium Rare = 130-135 degrees F (55-57 C)
Medium = 140-145 degrees F (60-63 C)
Medium Well = 150-155 degrees F (65-69 C)
Well Done = >160 degrees F (>71 C)
So once you have a thermometer, simply pop it into the thickest part of the steak during cooking. When the internal temperature is equal to 140 F, you have a perfect medium steak. It really is that easy.
Allow Rest for a Wicked Steak
This step is so simple, yet missed by so many home cooks. Let the steak rest once you’ve taken it off the heat. A short ten minutes away from the fire allows the fibers within the steak to relax and the juices to distribute into the meat, making for a more tender and flavorful steak. Leaving your freshly cooked dinner on a cutting board while you set the table, gather the family, or clean the grill, will make it taste better, who knew?
There you have it, 3 simple tips to guide you in your quest for the perfect steak. Sometimes it’s the simple things that are forgotten, but the basics are what will satisfy your stomach.
Any other tips for grilling the perfect steak? Let us know in the comments!