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How To Grill The Perfect Steak

There’s something groan-worthy about taking that first bite of a perfectly cooked tender, well seasoned, juicy steak. Here are the steps and tips for how to grill the perfect steak based on years of grilling and research.

This grilled steak recipe is nothing fancy. I use a gas grill (although a charcoal grill is fine too) and the steaks come out great. I think Bobby Flay copied me (haha)!

grilled rib steak on cutting board

Actually, most recipes out there are pretty similar. There are different schools of thought on some things like temperature and seasoning.

At the end of the day, there is always a bit of trial and error involved. That’s what I did (over many years) and here’s what I learned.

What to serve with steak

Try one of these great sides with your steak: Grilled Hasselback Sweet Potatoes (shortcut), Charred Onions on the Grill, Indian Potatoes or Herb Potato Salad.

Citrus salad, bread salad with charred snap peas and party salad with grilled vegetables and quinoa go great with steak too.

Step-by-step and tips: how to grill steak on a gas grill

Buy a good piece of meat

The best steaks will be labelled Prime, AAA or Certified Angus Beef. Choice is next best. There are several good quality cuts of steak that will work for a quick grilling.

My absolute fave cut of steak for maximum tenderness and flavor is a well-marbled ribeye steak (with or without the bone). New York Strip Steak (leaner), Porterhouse steaks, T-Bone or Filet Mignon, also called Beef Tenderloin (very lean, tender and expensive) are also great.

Steaks like sirloin steak, flank steak and skirt steak will have excellent flavor, but tend to be bit chewier and not as quite as tender.

ribeye steak bone in, pepper, salt, oil, garlic pepper
bone in rib eye steak

Tip: Experts will say it’s best to buy thicker steaks of 1 1/2- 2 inches (3.8-5 cm) thick. I think thinner steaks of 1 – 1 1/4 inch steaks (2.5-3.2 cm) are just fine too, although you won’t get as dark a crust on the outside as it won’t be on the grill for as long. 

Heat the grill to High

Some say to cook a steak at no more than 500F/260C. I disagree. I like to grill steaks at high temperatures – in fact screaming hot. If your steak is more than 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) thick, you can finish the cooking on medium heat for a few minutes after you char it on both sides.

Tip: It will take 10-15 minutes to heat up your grill. Don’t start until the grill is heated.

Tip: Clean and spray the grill with oil before you heat it up. Or oil the grill with a paper towel dipped in oil. 

Let the steak come to room temperature before you grill it

The steak should sit on the counter for about 30-60 minutes before grilling depending on the thickness of the steak. This is important for even cooking.

Season the steak simply and generously.

Use lots of kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I like to sprinkle on garlic powder as well, but this is optional.

seasoned ribeye steak on plate

Tip: Pat the steak dry with a paper towel first, brush with oil, season, then pat seasoning into steak.

Tip: EITHER season right before grilling OR an hour or more before grilling (nothing in between). I season right before grilling

Grill the steak

Flip the steak only once. For a 1- 1 1/4 inch steak (2.5-3.2 cm), you will need a total of approximately 5 minutes (half on each side) for medium rare. Longer for a medium steak or well done steak.

steak cooking on gas grill

Tip: For nice cross hatch marks, start the steak at a 45 degree angle and move it to the opposite angle half way through each side. 

Tip: The best way to check if your steak is done is to use an instant read thermometer through the side of the steak.  Medium-rare will be 130F/54.4C. Medium 140F/60C. I always take my steak off at 5 degrees lower than what I’m aiming for as the temperature will continue to rise when the steak is resting.

Tip: If you don’t have a thermometer, here’s a video for how to check for done-ness without a thermometer

Rest the steak, then slice it

Resting is important to ensure the juices remain in the steak. Let it rest, loosely tented with foil, for 5-8 minutes depending on the thickness.

steak resting under loose foil on cutting baord
steak cut in half showing inside

Tip: If you’re cutting the steak into slices or pieces, cut it across the natural grain of the steak for greater tenderness

sliced rib steak on cutting board p

Tailor To Your Taste

  • I prefer my steak with just salt and pepper and maybe a bit of garlic powder, but feel free to try other seasonings like chili powder, thyme, etc.
  • Toppings for steak: Now here’s where you can get creative. Try
    • mushrooms sautéed in butter with balsamic and garlic
    • melted butter, parsley (or chives) and thyme
    • chimichurri
    • lemon herb compound butter
    • gremolata (chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest)
    • dare I say steak sauce

Make steak 60-90 minutes ahead of serving

Making steak ahead for a lot of people can be a bit tricky as it’s easy to over cook them and guests may like their steaks at different temperatures. It can be done with some practice though using the instructions in the recipe notes.

The best way to make steak ahead of time for a crowd is with a sous vide cooking process. Brilliant. Check out our best sous vide New York strip steak.

Leftover steak can be kept in an airtight container for 2 days.

If you love steak, try our grilled marinated flank steak too.

grilled rib steak on cutting board
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How To Grill The Perfect Steak

There's something groan-worthy about taking that first bite of a perfectly cooked tender, juicy well seasoned steak. Here are the steps and tips for how to grill the perfect steak based on years of grilling and research.
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Rest time before and after37 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 good quality steak at room temperature, Note 1 (ideally between 1 1/4 to 2 inches thick, about 1 -1 1/2 pounds/450-675 grams)
  • neutral olive oil
  • kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper (garlic powder – optional)

Instructions

  • HEAT GRILL: Spray grill grates with oil or use a cloth dipped in oil to grease the grills. This will help avoid sticking and enhance grill marks. Heat grill to High heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • PREPARE STEAK: Season room temperature steak JUST before grilling OR an hour or more before – not in between. First pat steak dry with a paper towel, brush with oil, then season steak very generously with kosher salt and pepper on all sides (some will fall off during grilling). Sprinkle on garlic powder if using. Pat down seasonings into steak with your hand.
  • GRILL STEAK: For a steak 1 1/4 -1 1/2 inches (3.2-5 cm) thick, the total grill time will take about 4-6 minutes for medium rare (a little longer for thicker steak or to cook to medium). Note 2 for grill hatch marks. Place steak on grill. Close lid. Grill steak for 2-3 minutes. Flip once. Grill for another 2-3 minutes depending on thickness. Instant meat thermometer will show an internal temperature of 130F/54C for medium rare (temperature will rise to 135F/57C when resting). Note 3 to check for doneness.
  • REST STEAK AND SERVE: Remove steak to a plate or cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and rest for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness. Don't skip this step. Note 4. Serve plain or with your favorite toppings, Note 5

Notes

  1. What steak to buy: The best steaks will be labelled Prime, AAA or Certified Angus Beef. Choice is next best. Higher end cuts include a well-marbled ribeye steak (with or without the bone), New York Strip Steak (leaner), Porterhouse steaks, T-Bone or Filet Mignon, also called Beef Tenderloin (very lean, tender and expensive).
  2. Grilling Technique for Hatch Marks: For nice cross hatch marks, start the steak at a 45 degree angle and move it to the opposite angle half way through – on each side. Don’t keep the gas grill lid open too long or the steak will not brown as well due to heat loss. 
  3. Check for Done-ness: The best way to check the temperature of the steak for desired doneness is to use an instant read thermometer through the side of the steak. Medium-rare steak will be 130F/54C. Medium steak 140F60C. I always take my steak off at 5 degrees lower than what I’m aiming for as the temperature will continue to rise when the steak is resting. If you don’t have a thermometer, here’s a video for how to check for done-ness without a thermometer
  4. Slicing steak: If you’re cutting the steak into slices or pieces, cut it across the natural grain of the steak for greater tenderness. 
  5. Topping options for steak
    • mushrooms sautéed in butter with balsamic and garlic
    • melted butter, parsley (or chives) and thyme
    • chimichurri
    • lemon herb compound butter
    • gremolata (chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest)
    • dare I say steak sauce
  6. Make steak 60-90 minutes ahead of serving
    • Season and sear steaks on the grill or in a pan on high for just 2 minutes on each side. 
    • Transfer to a wire rack sitting over a pan (this will keep them from steaming and cooking more).
    • A half hour before ready to serve, put the steaks in a 325F (163C) preheated oven and cook for about 10-20 minutes (depending on thickness) or until an instant thermometer reads 130F (54C) for medium rare. 140F/60C for medium. 
Nutrition values are estimates and will depend on size of steak, amount of salt, etc. 

Nutrition

Calories: 508kcal | Protein: 47g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 181mg | Sodium: 816mg | Potassium: 710mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

How to grill the perfect steak, originally published in 2019, has been updated with new information.

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