Grilled steak is a delicious dish appreciated across the globe. Nobody could resist the juicy, savory flavor that overwhelms the palate when one bites into a thick, tender cut.
Not every slab of steak tastes the same, though. You need to learn how to prepare, cook, slice, and serve beef properly if you want to lock in its juices and maximize the flavor.
If you aren’t sure how to do this, don’t worry. We’ve compiled the best grilling steak tips for cooks of all levels, whether you’re hosting your first BBQ party or looking for a way to improve your steak recipe.
Grilling Steak Tips
Here are seven useful tips for grilling steak that everyone should know:
1. Buy Great Meat
Not even the best grilling steak tips work if you choose low-quality meat.
When shopping for steak cuts, here are some things to consider:
- Measure the Levels of Fat: The creamy, savory, and juicy goodness you taste in steak comes from the fat content. Choosing meat options with visible fat is a must if you’re looking to make a flavorful dish, so look for meat with the perfect mixture of fat and muscle. Excessively marbled meat is tough to chew, but lean meat tastes plain and bland, even though it is tender and easy to chew.
- Use Grass-Fed Beef: Grass-fed beef is tastier than its grain-fed counterpart—the extra nutrients and minerals from grass give beef the flavor and juiciness that steak lovers adore.
- Avoid Brown-Edged Beef: It’s normal for meat edges to turn brown after some time. The discoloration is the effect of oxidation, but it also implies that the packaged meat you’re planning to buy has been in storage for quite some time. For optimum flavor and umami, go for fresh, bright red steak cuts.
2. Trim and Tie Your Meat
Be careful not to trim too much fat. The juicy, savory flavor of steak we all love comes from the fat content, so removing it all would ruin the taste entirely. You paid extra for marbled meat, so it wouldn’t make sense to trim it too lean.
Many people forego tying their steak slabs because they feel it’s unnecessary. They’d rather start grilling right away. Tying the meat before grilling is a vital step, though.
It helps you achieve the level of ‘doneness’ you want by cooking the meat evenly. Uneven layers hamper this process—you wouldn’t want your steak to be medium well on the outside and rare on the inside, right?
Tying steak slabs also prevents deformation during the cooking process. It is important for expensive cuts, such as filet mignon, that have a unique form.
3. Salting Early Pays Off
Always salt your steak ahead of time. Salt mainly consists of hydrophilic properties, allowing it to draw moisture out of the meat and mix with the salt.
After fusing with meat juices, the salt creates a second layer of coating that adds flavor to the meat. The salt is baked once it hits that hot iron grill and hardens into a thin crust packed with beef umami and juices.
How long should you let salt sit on the meat before cooking it? Grilling it too soon doesn’t give salt enough time to draw out the flavors, but waiting too long will dry out the steak.
The answer varies based on your personal preference, but most cooks try to salt steak at least forty minutes before grilling it. Any shorter would be too soon.
If you feel that forty minutes isn’t enough time to extract the beef’s natural flavors, try leaving the salt on the steak overnight. It all boils down to personal preference.
4. Taking off the Chill Speeds Up Cooking
One of the most important yet overlooked grilling steak tips is defrosting the meat before cooking it. Many amateurs slap the meat on the grill after salting it for a few minutes or checking that it is thawed.
Not only will this reduce the flavor, but you’ll also have a challenge achieving your desired level of cooking perfection.
What’s likely to happen is that your grill will overcook the surface and undercook the meat. Even if you tie your slab when it’s still slightly frozen, the meat won’t cook evenly.
Leave the slab of meat at room temperature for at least 30 minutes—it should be enough time to defrost properly and soften the cut.
5. Searing Equals Flavor
We’ve all heard the saying that searing seals in juices, but it is not entirely true. The grilling steak tips about salting are the more important part of the secret.
The juice-filled salt on the surface is what will lock the flavor into the meat itself, and there’s no better way to do it than by searing it. Searing is grilling at a high temperature until a golden-brown layer forms on the meat.
It is the most effective way to ensure that the steak’s juices don’t drip onto the charcoal, grill, or plate.
6. Use a Meat Thermometer
You can’t put moisture back inside a steak—use a meat thermometer. Knowing grilling steak tips on how to achieve the perfect level of doneness is not enough without an accurate way to measure your steak’s temperature.
A thermometer is a cooking tool that determines the exact temperature of the dish.
- Extra Rare: 80°F to 100°F
- Rare: 120°F to 125°F
- Medium Rare: 130°F to 135°F
- Medium: 140°F to 145°F
- Medium Well: 150°F to 155°F
- Well Done: 160°F and above
7. Let the Meat Rest After Cooking
You might be tempted to dig in right after taking steak off the grill but control yourself. Let the meat rest for at least ten minutes per 500 grams.
It needs to reabsorb all the juice lost during the cooking process. If you skip this step, you’ll see all the juices and flavors disappearing whenever you slice or pierce the meat.