Grilling Basics

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.

grilling basics

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 cooking chart for more recommendations and guidelines.


PREP PAYS OFF

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.


FIRE IT UP

Make sure your grill is clean (to prevent flare-ups) and the rack is well-oiled (to prevent sticking). 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-high.

GRILL, BABY, GRILL

Use an ovenproof or 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.

REST & RELAX

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.


FINISHING TOUCHES

If you're slicing the steak before serving, be sure to go across the grain. There’s no shortage of tips for assembling a great burger. For steaks, we recommend topping them off with compound butter or serving with a sauce.

cooking tip

Don't forget to marinate! Tender beef cuts can be marinated for 15 minutes to 2 hours for flavor; less tender cuts, such as Flank Steak, should be marinated for 6 hours, but not more than 24 hours.

Glossary

Grain

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. 

A lean, boneless cut that’s great for everyday meals and benefits from a marinade before grilling.

Cut from the Sirloin Bavette/Sirloin Flap and a good source of fajita meat. Marinate and grill or broil.

A relatively inexpensive cut with loads of beef flavor. Marinate before grilling.

Tapered ends of the Tenderloin, the most tender beef muscle.

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