Did someone say perfect steak? Count us in! There’s nothing more satisfying than a steak dinner; a fatty, thick, beautifully marbled cut of meat is the very definition of pleasure.
Still, getting steak right is not all that easy. Sure, you can just throw in on the grill and flip it until it looks nice, but the perfect steak has to do with what experts call the right ‘doneness’.
Well done, medium, medium -well, medium-rare or rare, the steak’s doneness determines its color, texture, and ultimately, its flavor. And all these traits matter! Here’s how to cook the perfect steak every time.
1. Choose the Right Steak.
To grill a perfect steak, you must start with the right piece of meat, starting with its quality. Not all steaks are created equal, so if you want the most tender and flavorful meat, you’ll have to splurge a little.
At the very least, go for Choice or Prime USDA beef, and if you want to go the extra mile, find a Wagyu or a dry-aged beef steak — these are authentic beauties, but they can be expensive!
Then, of course, is the type of steak. A filet is often leaner than a rib-eye, which is nice and fatty. There are many types of steaks out there, so visit your local butcher and find the right steak for you.
2. Season the Steak!
The second pro tip for a perfect steak is seasoning it, and we mean seasoning it heavily. The thicker the steak, the more spices you must use, or else the meat will taste bland.
Salt is the quintessential steak seasoning, and you want to be generous with it. You can also use freshly cracked black pepper dried herbs and rubs, but although you want to salt your steak before grilling it, the rest of the spices should come last. Unlike salt, black pepper and dried herbs burn easily, and if added at the very beginning, they’ll just end as tiny burnt bits stuck on your steak.
3. Get the Nicest Brown, Crispy Crust.
The steak’s doneness matters, yes, but we’ll talk more about that in a second. No steak is complete without a charred, brown crust. This means you must sear the steak, and that means cooking it at high heat, in the hottest part of the grill or a thick-bottomed cast-iron skillet.
As a general rule, you want to sear the steak flipping it just once. It will stick to the grill or skillet, but don’t worry — it will get unstuck once it’s nice and crispy. Once you have a lovely crust, it’s time to check the steak’s doneness.
4. Use a Meat Thermometer.
You might not know this, but even experienced grill masters use a meat thermometer to get the steak’s core temperature precisely right. You can eyeball it, sure, but you won’t get consistent results.
Once you’ve seared the steak, insert the meat thermometer into the steak’s thicker part and follow the chart below to make sure it’s cooked just like you want it.
- Extra rare (blue): 120°F (49°C)
- Rare: 125°F (51°C)
- Medium-rare: 135°F (157°C)
- Medium: 145°F (63°C)
- Medium-well: 150°F (65°C)
- Well done: 160°F (71°C)
The Perfect Steak, Every Time, Guaranteed.
Follow the tips above, and you’ll certainly up your grilling game. Do you know what also makes an excellent steak? Practice. Go on, buy some steaks, call some friends over and get grilling. The more you grill, the better you’ll be at it; the perfect steaks will come naturally.
Let’s throw a grilling party! Nothing brings people together like a pile of perfectly grilled steaks. Do you have what it takes to become the next grill master?