Grilling is one of the most exciting ways to enjoy beef. Whether cooking on a gas or charcoal grill, in the backyard or at a tailgate, this cooking method provides maximum flavor and optimal tenderness.
This is a popular method for preparing steak, but it’s also the one that tends to worry a lot of beginner cooks. But when you follow these steps (and allow yourself a little practice), you’ll find grilling is easy and—most importantly—very satisfying. Check out our grilling guidelines for more cooking time information.
Some grill experts emphasize the importance of bringing steaks to room temperature before grilling, but we don’t recommend it for food safety reasons. Likewise, our cooking chart is based on the meat going directly from chill to grill. So plan on pulling the meat from the fridge, seasoning well, and getting started right away.
Make sure your grill grate is clean. If you’re using charcoal, follow the directions for how much you’ll need and how to build the charcoal pile. For gas grills, refer to your owner’s manual and set the grill to medium.
Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor doneness, and let it go—don’t flip the steaks so much! One flip is usually all you need, but take care to avoid charring or burning and be ready to turn down the heat (or move to a cooler spot on the grill) if necessary. Keep in mind the internal temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes after coming off the grill.
Here’s another step novice cooks often overlook: resting the meat before serving—even if you’re hungry. It’s seriously worth the wait, because it prevents all those tasty juices from draining onto your plate. For most grill-friendly cuts, about five minutes is enough.
If you're slicing the steak before serving, be sure to cut across the grain to maximize tenderness.
Although grain is an important part of raising beef, in this case it refers to the direction of the muscle fibers in a cut of meat. Slicing "across the grain" means slicing perpendicular to the direction of the fibers, which helps make the meat easier to chew.