This July, we celebrate National Picnic Month. We also celebrate the grilling season which perfectly coincides with summer. Grilling steak is my hubby’s forte so summer is definitely his favorite season. Since we just moved into a new house, he already built his “happy place” in the backyard with a picnic table and his REC TEC grill.
Best Tips for Grilling Steak
Grilling steak is also a science, just like baking. It’s a science because you have to be methodical in choosing the best type of steak, cut, preparing the meat, and grilling it. You have to be precise especially when it comes to the meat temperature.
If you want to know how to cook the best steaks this grilling season, here are some tips to help you out.
Choosing the Right Cuts
- Normally, you can just go to the grocery and choose the best type of meat. However, if you want to get choice cuts, go to the butchers and ask for the best cut. You’d also know which part of the meat it comes from
- Choose the right cuts and thickness, preferable 1-inch to 1 ½-inch thick to get that perfect red center. Also, if you are serving a crowd, it is better to get a large cut then just carve them according to portion. Grilling a large cut of meat lets you carve out portions according to doneness. For example, the outer portion is usually well done while the innermost portion goes from medium-rare to rare.
- Choose the best type of meat. Ribeye steak is your safest bet. Get the marbled ones because they enhance the flavor. Here is a quick guide on how to choose the best steaks for grilling. You can also go for aged steaks – choose the steak that is 23 to 28 days.
- Opt for grass-fed beef because they are richer in Omega-3s and taste way better. Also, avoid enhanced beef because they are injected with additives and may affect the flavor.
- Trim the skin, not the fat. The fat adds flavor while the skin makes it difficult to chew and digest. Fat dissolves while cooking while the skin does not.
Prepping the Steak
- Bring the steak out from the fridge an hour before cooking and allow it to thaw under normal temperature. This is also the best time to season the steak. Place your steak in a cooling rack and let it warm.
- As you let the steak warm, season it with salt. Use canola oil or olive-blended oil to lightly oil the steak before seasoning it with salt. This method lets the steak sear fast and leads to a juicier steak.
- Salting while thawing helps retain water. Just before you grill the steak, pat it dry with a paper towel then salt all over. Use kosher salt for a better crust.
Marinade or Dry Rub?
- If you are using ribeye, tenderloin, New York strip steak, sirloin, or porterhouse, all you need is to season it with salt and pepper. You can also opt for a homemade dry rub made of pink Himalayan salt, pink and white peppercorns, cinnamon, brown sugar, chipotle powders, chili, and espresso powder-based rubs. This helps enhance the steak’s flavors in addition to grilling with charcoal.
- If you are using lesser cuts of meat such as hanger, flank, and tri-tip marinades will help bring out the flavor.
Grilling with Charcoal
- Always wipe your grill clean before grilling.
- Heat the grill for 30 minutes before using. While it warms up, brush it with oil. Use a silicone brush to make sure that the bristles don’t come off. TIP: To determine when the grill is ready, place your hands 2 inches above the grill and if you can hold it for just 2 seconds, it means it’s hot enough. If you have a thermometer, the temperature should be 600 degrees F.
- Use real charcoal for a smoky flavor and avoid using lighter fluid or gas to speed up the heating process. Grilling with charcoal is perfect if you want a smoky flavor so avoid ruining the taste by using chemicals. Safer option, too.
- Before grilling, pat your meat dry as dry meat makes the finest crust. Season with salt just before grilling.
- Create 2 zones for your charcoal. There should be a hot side for searing the steak, and an area where it’s not so hot to finish the cooking.
- When flare ups happen, don’t spritz with water as it will create ash. Just gently slide the meat off to the side and let the fire sizzle down.
- Avoid puncturing the steak with a fork because the juices will escape.
- Flip the steak only ONCE. Flipping often prevents even cooking, will sabotage charring and remove the seasoning.
- Take the guesswork out of grilling with charcoal and use a meat thermometer. Refer to the temperature guide below to determine the levels of temperature according to doneness.
- If you want to baste your steaks, use a silicone brush to lightly brush the barbecue sauce just before flipping.
|Internal Temperature (Core)||Degree of Doneness|
|80 to 100 degrees F|
26 to 38 degrees C
|120 to 125 degrees F|
49 to 51 degrees C
|130 to 135 degrees F|
55 to 57 degrees C
|140 to 145 degrees F|
60 to 63 degrees C
|150 to 155 degrees F|
65 to 69 degrees C
|160 degrees F and above|
71 degrees C
After Grilling Steak and Other Meat
- Be patient. Let the meat rest for 7-10 minutes so the juices will evenly disperse.
- Put it back on the grill for 30 seconds after resting to sizzle and season with grey sea salt to bring out the flavor.
- Slice against the grain for shorter meat fibers. This will make the steak more tender and easier to chew.
- After every use, let your grill cool then brush off the blackened areas with a steel brush. Soak your grill in hot soapy water, wash it well and dry before storing.
Bringing out the Flavor in Grilled Meat
- Bring out the flavor by using butter and herbs. Your best bet is to mix butter, thyme and garlic to rub to the meat during the last few minutes of grilling or just before serving.
- Serve your steaks with red wine because it elevates the flavor of the steak. Steak also enhances the flavor of wine.
By now, you should already be a master in grilling steak. Amaze your friends and family this grilling season with perfectly seared and juicy steaks. I’m sure your barbecue picnics will be so much fun and enjoyable once you’ve perfected the art of grilling steak!
To test your grilling skills, try this delicious Smoked Beef Chuck Roast recipe for your outdoor picnic summer grilling!
Don’t forget to share these grilling tips with your friends and family. Leave us a comment if you have additional tips!