There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a perfectly grilled steak, and knowing how to achieve that elusive combination of tenderness, juiciness, and flavor is a skill that any grill master should have in their arsenal.
However, there are many different cuts of steak you can grill and ways you can cook that steak on the grill, so it can take a bit more forethought, and even practice, to get the perfect grilled steak temps – thus the perfect steak for you.
This blog post will guide you through the essential steps of grilling steak, including understanding the proper temperatures, choosing the best cooking method, and ensuring that your steak is properly rested.
How to Make a Perfect Steak on the Grill
Making a steak perfectly on the grill requires a few key steps to ensure that it is cooked to your desired level of doneness and is flavorful and juicy.
Here’s a simple guide to follow:
- Choose the right cut of steak: Look for a steak that is at least 1 inch thick and has good marbling (fat running through the meat). Ribeye, strip, and filet mignon are all good options.
- Season the steak well: Sprinkle both sides of the steak generously with salt and pepper. You can also add other seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, or dried herbs if you like.
- Preheat the grill: Heat your grill to high heat (around 450-500°F) and oil the grates to prevent sticking.
- Let the steak come to room temperature: Take the steak out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling to allow it to come to room temperature. This ensures that it cooks evenly.
- Grill the steak: Place the steak on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or longer if you prefer it more well-done. Use tongs to flip the steak, and try not to pierce it with a fork, as this will release the juices.
- Check the internal temperature: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. It should be 135°F for medium-rare, 145°F for medium, and 160°F for well-done.
- Let the steak rest: Once the steak is done, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures that the steak is tender and juicy.
- Serve and enjoy: Slice the steak against the grain and serve with your favorite sides, like roasted vegetables or a baked potato. Enjoy your perfectly grilled steak!
Choosing the Perfect Cooking Method
This is the most common method for grilling steaks, especially for cuts that are less than 1.5 inches thick. Simply preheat your grill to high heat, sear the steak directly over the flames, and then lower the heat to medium or move the steak to a cooler area of the grill to finish cooking.
For thicker cuts of steak (1.5 inches or more), reverse searing can produce amazing results. Start by cooking the steak over low indirect heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 115°F. Then, quickly sear the steak over high direct heat to achieve a beautiful crust.
This method involves vacuum-sealing the steak and cooking it in a temperature-controlled water bath. Sous vide allows you to achieve precise, edge-to-edge doneness with minimal risk of overcooking. After the steak reaches the desired internal temperature, sear it briefly on a hot grill or cast-iron skillet for a nice crust.
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Understanding Grilled Steak Temps
To cook your steak to perfection, it’s crucial to understand the various internal temperature ranges for different levels of doneness. Since you might be cooking your steak at a different temperature each time, you need to rely on a meat thermometer to give an accurate reading.
Using an instant-read thermometer is the most accurate way to ensure that your steak reaches the desired temperature.
- Rare: 120-130°F
- Medium Rare: 130-135°F
- Medium: 135-145°F
- Medium Well: 145-155°F
- Well Done: 155-165°F
The Importance of Resting Your Steak
Allowing your steak to rest after cooking is a critical step in achieving a tender, juicy, and flavorful result. As the steak cooks, the proteins contract and force the juices to the center. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak, ensuring a more even and satisfying eating experience.
To rest your steak, simply remove it from the grill when it reaches 5°F below the desired final temperature, tent it loosely with foil, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The residual heat will continue to cook the steak, bringing it up to the perfect internal temperature.
Grilling the perfect steak is an art that takes practice and understanding. By mastering the different cooking methods, knowing the ideal internal temperatures for various levels of doneness, and allowing your steak to rest properly.
With these skills, you’ll be well on your way to impressing your friends and family with your grilling prowess. So fire up that grill, and enjoy the delicious results of your newfound knowledge!
Before You Go
Since you’re interested in grilling and steaks, here are a few more of our articles we think you might like:
- Flank Steak vs Skirt Steak: What’s the Difference?
- How to Slow Grill Tri Tip Steak
- Best Grill/Smoker Combos
- Can You Grill Frozen Steak?
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Laura is a passionate home cook and grill enthusiast who has spent years perfecting her culinary skills, with a particular focus on grilling techniques and flavor combinations. Her fascination with the grill, smoke, and the mouthwatering results they produce has led her on an exciting journey to discover the best methods for grilling delicious and unforgettable meals.