Learn How to Grill Steak Perfectly every time with this step-by-step guide & temperature chart. No marinades or fancy cooking methods. Just learning to pick the best cuts of meat, seasoning well, and searing on a hot grill to get a perfectly grilled steak without fail.
Looking for more summer grilling ideas? Try these grilled chicken breasts or these easy chicken kabobs!
How to Grill Steak Perfectly
In my humble opinion, one of the KEY things everyone needs to know how to grill is steak. Once you know how to grill a steak perfectly every time all the other grilling comes naturally. It’s also the one thing you don’t want to mess up, because trust me messing up a $20 per lb piece of steak is no bueno.
I can confidently say I am a master at grilling steaks! In fact, so much so that Mike actually prefers to get a top-quality steak, stay in and get a good bottle of wine. Trust me, once you learn how to make a steak the right way you’ll never want to go out for a steak again.
Picking the Best Steak
The first step to grilling a steak perfectly is choosing the best cut of meat. Here is how to do it:
Choose Your Grade of Meat
Let’s start with the grades of meat. There is Select, Choice, and Prime.
- Select is usually the grade of sale-priced, or advertised meat. It’s considered “basic level” meat by the USDA, there is not a lot of marbling.
- Choice grade, will have a Choice sticker on it signifying the grade, is just above Select. It has moderate marbling and considered great meat by most, if you’re on a budget I’d recommend starting there so you still get good meat.
- Prime grade. The last and best grade of meat in my opinion is Prime. It is the highest quality meat by the USDA and has abundant marbling. Trust me, it will always be worth it to pay the extra money per pound for the Prime grade.
How to Tell a Steak is Ideal for Grilling
When picking the best cut of meat for grilling here are the things to keep in mind.
- Grade of Meat – I highly recommend buying Prime, you will definitely taste a huge difference. However, if it’s not in the budget then go Choice.
- Date – Don’t be afraid to shuffle through the meat packages. I always buy the freshest meat, and actually prefer to go to the butchers counter to ask them. They know exactly what’s out and what the best to buy is.
- Amount of marbling – Scan the marbling in your steak. I want to make sure I see a good amount of marbling but not so much that I barely get any steak because the fat just takes over. This is very common in Ribeye Steaks specifically.
Which Cut of Steak is Best?
All steaks are great for grilling but there definitely is a hierarchy. Here are the best steaks to grill from oh my gosh that the best to these are great. Because let’s be honest, all steaks are great.
- Filet Mignon – This steak is known for it’s tenderness. It is usually 2-3″ thick and oh so tender. It has a very mild steak flavor.
- Ribeye – The most marbling, and the richest steak flavor of steaks. You can buy bone-in or boneless on these – if you don’t mild dealing with the bone I’d recommend buy it bone-in because the bone gives it more flavor.
- Tomahawk Steak – Essentially this is a Bone-in Ribeye Steak but it has at least 5″ of the bone extending. Think steak with a handle, but with the most intense glorious flavor. I love to do a reverse sear on these.
- New York Strip – This is a well-marbled steak, not quite as much as the Ribeye but with firmer texture.
- Top Sirloin – Naturally lean, signature angular cut by Omaha Steaks. Usually between 5 and 10 ounces.
- T-Bone – Now this is deal, 2 steaks in one cut. In a T-Bone you get both a filet mignon and NY strip. It has the iconic “T” shaped bone in the middle.
How Long to Grill Steak
The great thing about steaks is you can choose your temperature or your level of doneness. Whether you like your steak still mooing or dry to the bone as long as you follow this guide you will have the perfect steak.
The handy chart below shows you the temperature at which a steak is done. These temperatures are organized by the way you like your steak cooked – rare, medium-rare, medium, and well-done. I’ve also included some helpful information about what your steak will look and feel like when it is done cooking.
Please keep in mind that timing will vary due to the thickness and the actual temperature of your individual steak. I HIGHLY recommend buying a meat thermometer, this is the one that I use. It has a lengthening probe so you don’t burn yourself trying to figure out the temperature, preprogrammed USDA safe meat temperatures (everything from fish, to lamb, chicken, and beef), and lastly, it’s instant read.
Is it Important to Let Steak “Rest” After Grilling?
Yes! It is key. Any protein that is placed on a searing hot surface will seize up and all the juices will go to the center. When you take it off the grill, letting it rest for at least 5 minutes will allow all those juices which are in the center to redistribute through the steak again, ensuring that every bite you have is tender and juicy.
How to Grill a Perfect Steak
Ok now that we have reviewed all the tips for choosing and prepping your steak, let’s get down to the grilling method:
- Remove steaks 30 minutes prior to grilling to take the cool off.
- Heat grill to medium high heat, approximately 350-400°F.
- Pat steaks dry with a paper towel. Lightly brush both sides of steak with avocado oil.
- Liberally season both sides with salt and pepper. (the thicker the steak the more salt you’ll want, the measurements are a base!!!
- Place seasoned steaks on searing hot grill and close the grill. DO NOT TOUCH. Flip at recommended time below for desired doneness.
- 3 to 4 minutes per side for rare (120°)
- 4 to 5 minute per side for medium-rare (130°)
- 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium (140°)
- 6 to 8 minutes per side or well done (150°+)
- Once steaks reach doneness temperature immediately remove from grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.
- Top with a scoop of garlic herb butter (listed below) before serving.
Tips for Success
- Start with clean grates: I actually like to clean my grates right after I grill so the next time I use it is clean. Anytime you grill you want to start with clean and oiled grill grates, so there are no residual flavors and nothing sticks.
- Bring Steaks to Room Temperature: This is a key part. If you take a steak straight from the refrigerator to the grill it will seize up and you’ll end up with a really tough piece of meat. Be sure to take your steaks out of the refrigerator to take off the chill for at least 30 minutes before grill.
- DO NOT TOUCH: One of the biggest things I can tell you when grilling is to stop opening and closing the grill and stop messing with your meat when it’s grilling. Just put it on the grill, close it and let it be. Trust the time and flip when your protein releases from the grill grates. It’s kind of a science.
- Keep it Simple Stupid: No need for fancy marinades or seasonings. If you have a good piece of meat, all you need is salt and pepper.
- Slice Against the Grain: Unless you want to be chewing on a tough piece of meat for hours I’d highly recommend slicing against the grain (perpendicular) so you have a tender and moist piece of meat.
- Compound Butter: For an extra burst of flavor to really take your steak over the top I recommend finishing with truffle salt or a compound butter! Trust me, you’ll never go back!
What Wines Go With Grilled Steak?
Some of our favorite wines to serve with steak are this cheaper clean crafted Cabernet Sauvignon, my absolute favorite this smooth Cabernet Sauvignon and a fruity Pinot Noir.
More Steak Recipes to Try
- Grilled Steak Street Tacos
- California Steak Salad
- Grilled Steak Fajita Salad with Chimichurri Dressing
- The Perfect Foolproof Garlic Herb Prime Rib Roast
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