BY FARMER DAN
Do you want to up your steak grilling game? Are you intimidated by throwing a nice piece of meat on the grill (hoping it won't end up charred and inedible)?
Let's start with this - grilling steak isn't rocket science. Just follow a few (simple) steps and you'll be turning some fine steaks.
Here are my 5 simple steps to grilling the best steak you ever had.
1. KNOW YOUR STEAK
Before you even light the grill - get to know your steak.
Is it grass-fed or grain-fed?
Is it a tender cut or a less tender cut?
If your steak is grass fed, it’s going to have more flavor - and won’t need much in the way of extra seasoning. It might also be a bit leaner - but a good grass fed steak will still have plenty of marbling.
Some cuts need a marinade, and some don’t. It’s important to know the difference. Steaks from the Short Loin and Rib primals are more marbled and tender - they do not need a marinade.
These steaks should not be marinated:
On the other hand, steaks that are less tender will become more tender with the aid of a marinade including:
Sirloin Tip Steak
2. PREP YOUR STEAK
If your steaks are frozen, you can thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. Or you can put them in a bowl of cool water on the counter for an hour or so. Never thaw steaks with the microwave.
Place the steaks on a paper towel-lined pan and pat dry. (Moisture can cause flare ups and too much smoke.) If your steaks are marinated, drain away the marinade and pat them dry. Then allow the steaks to come to room temperature for 20 minutes. This helps them cook more evenly.
If your steak doesn’t need a marinade (see above), then all it needs is salt and pepper.I use Maine Sea Salt, and I salt the steak an hour before I grill it. (This keeps the salt from just falling into the fire). Add pepper a bit later (maybe 15 minutes) after you add salt.
4. COOK IT RIGHT
Create two cooking zones on your grill -- a hot one for charring and searing and a cooler one for gentle cooking. For a gas grill, turn the burners on one side to high and the other side to low. If you're using a charcoal grill, push the hot coals to cover half the grill and leave the other side empty.
Cover the grill and preheat for 15 minutes so it gets very hot--about 500 degrees F. Keep the lid vents open if using charcoal.
Watch the grill temperature - and control it. You don’t want it too hot (a little flame is ok) and you certainly don’t want it too cool. Searing is fine - but the key is to control the distance from the heat to the steak. We want to cook the middle of the steak, not just the outside. And use a meat thermometer! I cook my steaks until they are about 125 degrees and then I remove them from the heat. (The steaks will keep cooking and will go up another 5 degrees while resting - so it will get to about 130 degrees which is medium rare.)
5. LET IT REST
Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes or so before cutting them. The steak temperature will rise about 5 degrees after you remove it from the heat. It is important tolet meat rest after cooking so it can reabsorb and distribute the juices that have been constricted during the cooking process. If you were to cut asteak right off the grill, you'll notice that the internal juices pool out of themeat, leaving you with a dry and tough final product.