The Food Lab’s Definitive Guide To Grilled Steak
Summer’s here and I’ve got a brand-new backyard to grill in, so now seems like as good a time as any to reexamine some of the things we know about grilling beef.
Sure, we can all agree on what our goal is: A perfect steak should have a crusty, crunchy, well-browned exterior surrounding a core of perfectly pink, juicy, tender meat that spans from edge to edge. A perfect steak should have a nice contrast between the smoky, almost charred exterior and the deeply beefy interior. A perfect steak should be chin-drippingly juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender.
We all know where we want to go. The real debate is, what’s the best way to get there? You’ve just dropped $50 on some prime aged beef, and you’re rightfully nervous about screwing it all up. After all, there’s a lot at… ahem, wait for it… steak.
Want to know how to grill a steak? Here’s my advice: Do not do it the way they do it at steakhouses. It seems counterintuitive: Surely a restaurant with years of experience cooking hundreds of steaks a day knows a thing or two about how it’s done, right? Well, yes. They know how to cook a steak in a steakhouse setting, where their goal is consistency, quality, and, more importantly, speed. Hungry customers don’t want to have to wait for their meat, and a steakhouse has equipment and techniques designed to meet those needs.
Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
How Long Is Steak Good For
- Use steak you bought by the good by date on the package. If you wont be able to use it by then, follow the instructions in my how to freeze steak article. I also show you how to thaw steak fast in this other article.
- Once you cook a steak, it should be good if kept covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Dont allow steak to sit out for more than 2 hours.
- Please dont thaw a steak by letting it sit out on the counter all day either. That can be dangerous.
Dont Forget The Thermometereven If Youre A Pro
Chef Christian Ragano thinks this is one of the most important things to remember. Temping a steak by hand can be tricky, he says. It takes a ton of practice and a ton of experience. Thomas Keller once said, You have to cook a steak a thousand times just to suck at it.’
Dont have a meat thermometer on hand? Ted Hopson, chef and co-owner of L.A.s The Bellwether, recommends using metal cake testers. People always are looking for secrets on how to get the perfect steak doneness, he says. We use metal cake testers. the best tool you can use for this. Insert the metal tester into the steak, leave it for five seconds, then pull it out and touch it to your lips or inner wrist. The internal temp of the steak will tell you how done it is. If it is cold, your steak is rare, if it is just warm, medium rare, slightly hot, medium, etc… No more pushing on it to test itwhat happens when you hit a muscle knot? now it is even easier. Plus, cake testers are less than a dollar and you can get them in baking sections or on Amazon.
Chef Prentiss offered these numbers to aim for:
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Cooking Times And First Position
Have everything at hand before you put the steaks on so that the grill has your full attention. Keep the grill closed as much as possible to hold in the heat. Before putting on the steaks, take a good look at them. Decide which side you are going to call the “top.” You will cook the steaks in four positions, timing each change in position.
- 1-inch thick steak: 1 minute per position
- Between 1 and 2-inch steak: 1 1/2 minutes per position
- Less than 3/4-inch steak: 45 seconds per position
Medium Well or Well Done :
- 1-inch thick steak: 2 minutes per position
- Between 1 and 2-inch steak: 3 minutes per position
- Less than 3/4-inch steak: 1 minute per position
For the best results, it’s important to know your grill. Some grills comfortably hit temperatures over 700 F, while others have trouble mustering 500 F. If your grill runs at a lower temperature, you might need to increase these times by as much as double.
To start, open the grill and position the steaks on the grate farthest from youmeaning the top of the steak is to the back of the grill or at the 12 o’clock position.
With the steaks on the grill, close the lid and start counting the time as indicated above.
Get The Right Thermometer
Knowing the correct temperature of a frozen steak is essential when it comes to cooking it properly. Be sure to have your ThermoPro meat thermometer handy. They offer a variety of types of thermometer depending on your specific needs including wireless meat thermometers and instant-read meat thermometers. Get the right thermometer and cook like a pro.
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Steak Doneness: Internal Temperatures
To gauge exactly when your steak is cooked to your liking, take its internal temperature. These are the temperature benchmarks you’re looking for:
Rare : 125-130 degrees F Estimated Cook Time: 8 minutes
Medium Rare : 130-135 degrees F Estimated Cook Time: 9 minutes
Medium : 135-140 degrees F Estimated Cook Time: 10 minutes
Medium-Well: 140-150 degrees F Estimated Cook Time: 11 minutes
Well-Done: 155 degrees F or above Estimated Cook Time: 12 minutes or more
The Six Inexpensive Steaks You Should Know
These are the steaks that butchers and chefs love to use because not only are they more inexpensive, but they’ve got character. Many of them are whole muscles that must be trimmed by the butcher just-so if you want them to be tender and large enough to cook as steaks. There are also not many of them on a steer. For every 20 pounds of ribeyes and T-bones you can get off a steer, you get two hanger steaks. That ain’t much.
These butcher’s cuts tend to be more packed with flavor because of the work they do, yet because they’re not as marketable to the general public and require a bit more skill to cook and serve correctly, they remain much cheaper than their mainstream counterparts. This is good news for you if you want to maximize your flavor and your dollar.
Also Sold As: Butcher’s steak, hangar , arrachera , fajitas arracheras , bistro steak, onglet .
Where It’s Cut From: From the plate section of the cow , it “hangs” off of the cow’s diaphragm, hence the name. U.S. meat-cutting classification of NAMP 140.
Also Sold As: Fajita meat, Roumanian Strip .
Where It’s Cut From: The outside skirt is the diaphragm muscle of the cow, cut from the plate. It is the traditional cut for fajitas, and is generally sold to restaurants. Inside skirt is part of the flank, and is the more widely available form of skirt.
The Short Rib
Also Sold As:Kalbi , Jacob’s Ladder , asado de tira
The Flank Steak
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How To Cook Medium Steak
If you are grilling for a large group of people, this level of doneness often pleases most everyone. A medium-cooked steak should have a thick band of light pink through the middle but have more browned meat than pink overall. The sides should be a rich brown color and the top and bottom charred darkly . This steak will have some play through the middle, but feel firm to the touch.
For a 1-inch steak, place steak on a hot grill for 6 minutes. Turn and continue grilling for another 4 minutes until an internal temperature of 140 to 150 F is reached.
How To Cook Top Sirloin Steak In The Oven
- Be sure your steak is completely thawed.
- Bring the meat to room temperature. Remove your steak from the refrigerator 30-40 minutes before cooking.
- Set oven for broil and preheat 10 minutes.
- Season steaks as desired we recommend Kansas City Steak Original Steak Seasoning.
- Place steaks on the rack of a broiler pan. Position broiler pan in oven so that the surface of the beef is 3 to 4 inches from the heat. Broil to desired doneness, according to the times listed below.
- For the perfect medium-rare steak, broil in the oven for 10-12 minutes for a 1-inch steak, and 12-15 minutes for a 1½ inch steak, turning about 1 minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.
- Rest your steaks for 5 minutes before serving, covering lightly with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise for as much as 5°F during this time . The final temperature will read 135°F.
- Resting steak is also important because the heat of cooking pulls the juices in the meat toward the surface if you slice into it immediately after cooking, those flavorful juices will end up on your plate, not in your steak. Allowing your steak to rest will give the juices time to sink back in and throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful.
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Dont Season Your Steak Too Soonyes Thats A Thing
With larger steaks it’s always a good idea to finish with some large flake or finishing salt once it’s sliced, says Prentiss. If you do not have an hour to temper and season ahead of time, season immediately before grilling, anything shorter than 40 minutes will only pull moisture out of the steak and not let the outside get those beautiful grill marks and crust.
Chef Juan Carlos of SoBou in New Orleans likes to add in a bit of olive oil as well, which he says help gets better sear or griddle marks. If you do decide to add some fat, stick with olive oil, not butter, says Angelo Auriana. Hes the chef at Factory Place Hospitality. There is no real need for butter when cooking a steak because it already has plenty of fat and flavor in the meat itself, he says.
How To Cook Medium Rare Steak
This is the recommended level of doneness for a good steak ask any chef how they like their steak prepared and they will almost all say medium rare. A medium rare steak should be warm through the middle with most of the center pink in color with a hint of red. The sides should be well browned, the top and bottom caramelized to a dark brown color with good grill marks. This steak’s firm surface should give a bit toward the middle .
For a 1-inch steak, place steak on a hot grill for 5 minutes. Turn and continue grilling for another 4 minutes to an internal temperature of 130 to 135 F .
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What Is The Best Method To Cook A Tomahawk Steak
You have a couple of choices when it comes to cooking tomahawk steaks, and both of them will result in a delicious steak, so its really just up to you and your own personal cooking preferences. You can cook this entirely on the grill outside, and move the steaks off of the direct heat after searing to finish cooking until they reach temperature. You can also cook them without using a grill at all, and sear them in a cast iron or heavy skillet over high heat before moving them to the oven to finish cooking until they reach temperature.
Steak Temperatures For Doneness:
- Rare : 125 degrees
- Medium rare : 135 degrees
- Medium : 145 degrees
- Medium well : 150 degrees
- Well done : 160 degrees
Steak sizzling on a grill
Let the steaks rest on a platter for at least five minutes, then top them with big fat slices of herb butter.
Juicy grilled steak perfection!! That salty-seasoned crust and compound herb butter are mind meltingly-delicious. Your quest for perfect grilled steak ends right here. Enjoy, enjoy!
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Use Direct And Indirect Heat
Direct heat is where the grill is its hottest- directly on top of the flames. Temperatures at this location can get as hot as 2500 degrees when it flares up.
Indirect heat is away from the flames with a temperature around 300 degrees. The trick is to use the direct heat to sear the edges of the steak and then let the middle of the steak cook in the indirect heat.
Freezing meat is a great way to keep it fresh, and grilling it out of the freezer is a great way to cook it quickly and still retain the fantastic flavor. Follow these steps and these tips to always have a great steak right out of the freezer. Youll be amazed at how great it tastes, and everyone will think that youre an amazing chef.
Dont Cook Your Steaks Straight From The Fridge
Prentiss recommends taking out your steak from the fridge about one hour before youre going to cook it and setting it on a roasting rack.
Sharp prefers to season his steaks a couple of hours in advance, and then agrees about letting them come to room temperature before cooking. Theres an exception, however: If on the thinner side, he says, starting it cold will give a buffer from overcooking the center.
While chefs differ about the amount of room temp time before cooking, chef Dinesh Jayawardena recommends not squeezing the time below a half hour.
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Grill The Best Steak Of Your Life In 6 Steps
No one wants to mess up steak on the grill. For one thing, a leathery over-cooked steak makes for an extremely sad eating experience. For another, steaks are expensive! From grilling pro Jennifer Chandler, we have six steps that will guarantee a perfectly grilled steak every time.
When I asked Jennifer about steaks and explained my nervousness about grilling them, her excitement kicked up a few decibels. She immediately responded, One of the things that I always tell people is that they dont have to be intimidated by grilling a nice piece of steak. Then she broke it down for me:
Cook At Room Temperature
Unless you really prefer extra rare steaks, I recommend cooking your meat at room temperature instead of straight from the refrigerator.
This way your steaks will cook quickly and evenly, especially steaks that are thicker or have larger muscle fibers. Overcooking a steak will toughen the meat and reduce the effectiveness of your tenderizing technique. Its much easier to avoid overcooking when your steak goes on the grill at room temperature.
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Is It Necessary To Cook The Steaks More After Searing Them
The most important part of reaching the level of doneness you like is the internal temperature. Searing is largely for flavor. If your steak is thicker, it probably wont reach the desired doneness as fast as a thinner one. One thing that helps ensure you dont overcook your steak, is to leave it out at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. If raising the internal temperature needs to take longer because the steak was too cold, it will cause the steak to get overcooked.
Hot Steak Is Tasty Steak
A steak is a relatively small piece of meat compared to a brisket or roast, so it heats and cools quickly, allowing only for a few degrees of carryover cooking, if any. In between the resting, slicing, and moving to the plate and table, most home steaks get pretty cool before we actually eat them. The pleasure of eating a hot steak is manyfold: the crust is still incredibly crisp, the butter from cooking is still warm and dripping, and the juices pool on the plate into a playground for dipping.
In a side-by-side taste test of a rested steak and a steak that was cut just moments out of the pan, I barely noticed a difference in the tenderness and juiciness in the hot steak. It was just more pleasurable to eat! Side by side, Id pick the hot steak every time.
If you need a few minutes to make a pan sauce or to sauté some spinach in the still-hot pan, go ahead and let your steak rest. If you followed the other three hallmarks of this recipe buy a great steak, season it well, and cook it hot and fast then you already did all the important stuff to make a perfect steak. Now youll have a perfect steak with really good pan sauce!
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GRILLED STEAK MARINADE WITH PRINTABLE … – YELLOW BLISS ROAD
- Place the meat in a large zip-top bag and massage the marinade into the meat. Seal the bag, making sure to get out as much air as possible. .
GRILLED NEW YORK STRIP STEAK RECIPE – THE SEASONED MOM
- About 15 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels, rub with olive oil, and season with all-purpose seasoning on both sides.
- Heat the grill to high. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill for 3 to 5 more minutes, or until the steaks reach your desired level of doneness. The specific time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your steak, so use an instant-read thermometer to know when your meat is done. It should be 125-130° F for rare, 135° F for medium-rare, or 145° F for medium.
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- Turn on your exhaust fan and heat a heavy pan over medium-high heat until it’s VERY hot.
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