Grill the Perfect Steak


Given that it’s a holiday weekend here in the US, one in which many folks traditionally barbeque, how would you like a restaurant-perfect, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth, delicious steak, right off your own grill?

(Yes, I know, this is a survival-preparedness site – why are we talking about cooking steaks… this one’s for fun)

Having learned my own preferred method throughout years of experimentation, and having verified that this simple method is actually widely used and even found elsewhere on the internet when searching… here it is…

To cook the perfect steak, keep the seasoning simple and cook it HOT and FAST.
That’s it!

For the best steak-grilling deliciousness, sacrifice a temporary cholesterol hike and get a steak with good marbling (fat) throughout the meat. I personally love a Rib steak or a Porterhouse. There really isn’t a ‘cut’ that I don’t like, on occasion, but the aforementioned are top picks of mine for grilling.

Remove the steak from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking to bring it closer to room temperature.

Keep the seasoning simple! A good steak will be ruined with too much of other flavors. Use an equal amount of Kosher salt (it’s coarse grained) or Sea salt, along with some freshly ground pepper. Maybe a bit of garlic (granulated) if you like.

First blot each side of the steak with a paper towel, which will allow better sticking of the seasoning. With a brush, coat each side of the steak with olive oil (or you can use olive oil spray). Then sprinkle on the seasoning to each side of the steak.

Once the grill is hot enough, oil the grates to prevent sticking (olive oil).

I have found that the perfect steak, about 1 inch thick, will sear about 5 minutes per side (usually flip when the juices start bubbling on the uncooked side), for a total of about 10 minutes. Use tongs (not a fork) to flip it – otherwise you will let much of the juices out. The key is to sear in the juices.

It is surprisingly easy to overcook a steak.
It is surprisingly easy to overcook a steak.

The combination of a very hot grill and the internal temperature of the steak is extremely critical to get the juicy result that you want. The key to knowing when to pull it off the grill, is the internal temperature of the meat. It is imperative to have a quick-read meat thermometer, which when inserted into the center of the steak, will allow you to decide based on the following temperature choices…

Rare: Remove at 115 F (120 – 125 final)

Medium Rare: Remove at 125 F (130 – 135 final)

Medium: Remove at 135 F (140 – 145 final)

Medium Well: Remove at 145 F (150 – 155 final)

Well Done: Remove at 150 F (160 final) please don’t do this – it will ruin your steak ;)

(Steaks will continue to cook about 5 – 10 more degrees after you remove them from the grill)

Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before serving (important) – it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak.

Tip: If you are using a cut of meat that has distinct ‘grain’ lines in it (London broil, Flank, Skirt…), you will want to cut the steak ‘across the grain’ at a 45 – 90 degree angle in order to end up with tender pieces. Think of it like cutting Celery across the grain (like you normally would) or if you were to cut it length-wise which would be stringy and not pleasant chewing.

Tip: The perfect steak requires a very hot grill.


What is your favorite steak-grilling seasoning or rub?

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  1. Just a bit of pepper for me – steak tastes good enough already!

    Happy 4th July everyone! :)

  2. Great directions on the steak cooking. I don’t know how many times I’ve told others about fast and hot. But there is one thing I feel important to mention. The cooking medium. I noticed in your pic the “traditional briquets”. The company kingsford which is the most popular brand started out using the floor sweepings compressed together from car manufacturing giant Henry Fords model T plant. Not exactly cooking material. Now today its not made from the same stuff obviously but there are still plenty of petrochemicals used especially in the self lighting briquets. So as an alternative I suggest using actual wood. You can get the usual bundles form the grocery store (don’t use pine) if you don’t have access to your own. The other option that I do my-self is mesquite charred logs. Many higher end grocery stores cary them. The flavor is superb to anything and will enhance any bbq experience in flavor many times over. You can even start it in a briquet chimney with paper bags underneath. Fires up faster than briquets and burns way hotter for an even better steak quicker to the table! Enjoy!

    1. Good point. I’ve read here and there about how charcoal briquets are not the best thing for your health compared to other ‘lesser evils’. Wood makes sense. You know what it is, etc… Knowing how the corporate giants will do just about anything to lower their costs, who’s to say what’s actually inside those briquets.

  3. Great instructions Ken. Coincidentally that is exactly what we had last night……………. bbq’d rib steak from a steer we raised and butchered at home. I cut the steaks a little thicker (1 1/4″), but that is just our preference.

    We use either wood or gas, depending on the time available and weather. Nothing stops me from flashing up the bbq and people have seen me on the deck, wearing a parka, tending steak on the bbq at -30. :)

    We cook venison the same way.

  4. A so called ‘Steak’ expert here in Australia said the guide to perfect steak is…

    1 minute per 6mm of steak – Then let it rest for a little longer than it cooked.

  5. Many steaks are cut too thin. As a result, they don’t grill correctly. My personal preference is a Delmonico steak, but I heartily agree about Porterhouse steaks too.

    If one grills with real hardwood charcoal, not those ersatz brickets, then you can really sear the meat well. That kind of charcoal has other uses for preppers and gardeners too, while the fake brickets cannot be be disposed of in the garden nor has any other usage.

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