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Cooking a steak on the grill is an easy and delicious way to enjoy a classic meal. Whether cooking for one or a crowd, grilling steaks adds flavor that traditional oven-roasting can’t match. And with just a few simple steps, you can create juicy, flavorful steaks that will make your mouth water. 

From selecting the right cut of steak and marinating it overnight to prepping your grill and getting the perfect sear, this guide will help you cook the best steak every time—no matter what type of grill you have. 

Read on to learn how to cook steak like an expert chef.

steaks cooking on flaming grill panorama

How to cook steak on a grill?

To cook a steak on a grill, prepare the steaks by bringing them to room temperature for at least 30 minutes, and patting them dry is important. 

Next, generously season the steaks with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. Preheat the grill to high heat (about 500 degrees), and sear the steaks for 3 minutes per side. 

Then, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 7 to 10 minutes per side over indirect heat for medium-rare. 

To test for internal temperature, use a digital instant-read meat thermometer and aim for 140°F for medium-rare. 

Finally, let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

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Preparing the Steaks for Grilling

Preparing the meat before grilling properly is crucial to ensure a perfectly cooked steak. Begin by taking the steak from the fridge and letting it sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes. This will allow the steak to cook more evenly. 

Before grilling, season the steak with kosher salt and pepper or your preferred seasoning of choice. Some experts recommend seasoning the steak up to 24 hours before cooking to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. 

Brushing the steak with olive oil just before grilling will create a crisp exterior while preserving moisture. Following these preparation steps, the steak will be primed for the grill and prepared to cook to perfection.

Seasoning the Steaks

Once your steaks are ready to grill, it’s time to season them properly. As mentioned earlier, all you really need is some olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. But feel free to add other spices you like, such as garlic powder or rosemary.

After brushing the steaks with oil, generously apply kosher salt and black pepper to both sides of each steak, and pat the seasonings down so they adhere well. Then, let the steaks sit for a few minutes to allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat before grilling.

For an extra flavorful touch, you could also choose to marinate the steaks for a few hours before grilling them. There are countless marinade recipes out there to choose from, so find one that appeals to your taste buds and give it a try.

Whatever seasoning method you choose, remember that the key is to balance the flavors and let the natural taste of the steak shine. 

Once you’ve seasoned your steaks to perfection, it’s time to move on to the next step of grilling them to perfection.

Preheating the Grill

It all starts with preheating the grill to achieve perfection in grilling steak. Whether you’re using a gas or charcoal grill, preheating is essential to ensure the steaks cook evenly and achieve that delicious sear on the outside. 

Once the grill is preheated, it’s time to get your steaks ready for the grill. Season generously on both sides before placing them on the grill to sear, starting with direct heat. 

In the next step, Searing the Steaks, I will learn more about how to cook steak on a grill.

A well done steak grilled with flame

Searing the Steaks

Now that the grill is preheated and the steaks are seasoned, it’s time to sear them. The key to a great sear is ensuring your grill is at a high temperature, so brush your cooking grates clean and adjust your grill for direct, high heat. The best temperature for steaks is around 450°F to 500°F. 

Sear each side of the steak for approximately 2 minutes, but don’t flip it more than 2 times. This will produce those mouthwatering grill marks everyone loves. If you want diamond grill marks, rotate the meat 45 degrees. 

Another alternative to searing on the grill is using a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Adding a little vegetable oil to the skillet will help prevent the steak from sticking. 

Regardless of your searing method, be sure to allow the steak to remain undisturbed for a few minutes to ensure that the crust forms correctly.

Lowering the Heat and Continue to Cook

After searing the steaks on high heat, it’s time to lower the flame and continue cooking them to perfection. This is where indirect heating comes in. Move the steaks to the cooler side of the grill and let them cook with the lid down. This method slowly cooks the meat and ensures that it’s evenly cooked throughout. 

For larger cuts of meat, it’s best to let them cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. Don’t forget to flip the steaks over to cook the other side. Another tip is to cover the grill during cooking to maintain the heat and ensure that the steaks are cooked to your desired doneness. 

Once the steaks are fully cooked, remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. 

This will ensure that the steaks are moist and tender. Remember, patience is key when it comes to cooking the perfect steak on a grill.

Bringing the Steak to Room Temperature

After preparing and seasoning the steaks for grilling, it’s important to bring them to room temperature before cooking. This means taking them out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes beforehand and allowing them to warm up on the counter. Bringing steaks to room temperature ensures that they cook evenly from the inside out. 

It also ensures that they won’t shock the grill when placed on it, which can prevent proper cooking altogether. Once the steaks have been brought to room temperature, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. 

Testing for Internal Temperature

After preheating and searing the steak, the next crucial step is to test for internal temperature. This can be done easily with a digital instant-read thermometer. Simply insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the steak and read the temperature. 

For a medium-cooked steak, the ideal temperature is between 130-139F. However, cooking times and temperatures may vary depending on the size and shape of the steak and the desired level of doneness. 

It’s important to check the temperature frequently to avoid overcooking. Once the steak has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. 

The resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, producing a juicy and tender steak.

steaks grilled with flame

Tips for Grilling Steaks

To ensure that your grilled steaks come out perfect every time, there are a few final tips that are worth keeping in mind. For instance, when it comes to seasoning, it’s best to keep it simple with just some salt and pepper. 

Additionally, always preheat your grill to ensure the even cooking of the steaks. When searing the steaks, make sure not to pierce them with a fork as it allows juices to escape, resulting in a dry steak. 

Once the grill has been lowered to medium-low heat, cook the steaks till they reach the desired level of doneness. 

It’s a good idea to take the steaks out of the fridge an hour before grilling so that they can come to room temperature before cooking. 

Finally, once the steaks are done cooking, let them rest for around ten minutes so that the juices can redistribute through the meat. By following these tips, you will surely have perfectly grilled steaks every time.

How hot should the grill be for steak?

The heating temperature should be high when cooking steak on a gas or charcoal grill. For gas grills, the ideal temperature is between 500-550°F, while for charcoal grills, it should be 600-650°F. It is essential to get the grill up to the desired temperature before adding your steak to ensure it gets a nice sear and the juices are locked in. Once the steak is on the grill, reduce the heat to medium and cook it for 4-5 minutes per side or until done. This will ensure you get perfectly cooked steak every time.

How to grill steak for beginners?

Grilling steak for beginners doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can create juicy, flavorful steaks that impress you with the right tips and techniques.

The first step in grilling steak is choosing the right cut of meat. A good rule of thumb is picking a cut at least 1 inch thick, such as ribeye or sirloin. Thinner cuts may dry out and become tough on the grill.

Once you’ve selected your cut of steak, it’s time to prepare it for grilling. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature. This allows for even cooking and prevents the meat from drying out too quickly on the grill. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before placing it on the grill. This will give the seasonings time to penetrate into the meat.

Now it’s time to fire up the grill and start grilling. Preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes before cooking so it reaches the ideal temperature. For steaks, use a two-zone fire on a gas or charcoal grill. You should have one direct heat zone and one indirect heat. Place the steak on the direct heat side first and sear until you get excellent grill marks and form a nice crust. 

Flip it over and move it to the indirect heat side, cover the grill with the lid, and cook until you reach your desired doneness. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. Rare should be 120 to 125 degrees F, medium rare 130 to 135 degrees F, medium 140 to 145 degrees F, and well done 155 to 165 degrees F. 

Let your steak rest for a few minutes before serving to let the juices redistribute throughout the steak. 

Grilled sirloin steak

How to grill steak on each side?

Grilling steak is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy this classic meat. However, cooking it perfectly can be a challenge. One of the biggest concerns is achieving that perfect sear on each side without overcooking or undercooking the steak.

Make sure your grill is appropriately preheated before placing the steak on it. This helps to ensure that both sides of the steak are cooked evenly and consistently. Once your grill is heated, put your seasoned steaks onto the grates for searing and close the lid. Depending on your preferred level of doneness, cook for 4-6 minutes per side for medium-rare, 6-8 minutes per side for medium, and 8-10 minutes for well-done. Be careful not to overcook it, as this can make it challenging. 

Remove it from the grill and let it rest on a cutting board when you’re finished cooking. Following these steps, you can easily create delicious steaks that are perfectly cooked every time.

Do you flip a steak when grilling?

It is essential to flip a steak when grilling to ensure even cooking. Flipping the steak every 2-3 minutes helps heat both sides evenly, creating a juicy and flavorful piece of meat. Additionally, flipping allows for better browning on the outside and crust formation, which adds a fantastic flavor.

When flipping, it is essential to be gentle as you do not want to squeeze out any of the juices. Use tongs or a spatula to gently turn the steak over and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes or until done to your liking. 

Steak with flames on grill and rosemary on top with text: "How to Cook Steak On a Grill" above

How long do you flip sides for steak?

One of the most common questions when cooking a steak is how long to flip sides. While there isn’t an exact answer, some general guidelines can help you achieve the perfect level of doneness for your steak.

Flipping too often or too quickly can hinder the cooking process. It would be best to flip your steak once or twice during cooking. This will allow each side to develop a nice crust and prevent the juices from escaping.

Another factor to consider is the thickness of your steak. Thicker cuts will naturally take longer to cook than thinner ones, so adjust your flipping accordingly. A good rule of thumb is around 3-4 minutes per side for a medium-rare steak on high heat, but this can vary depending on factors like grill temperature and personal preference.

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