Knowing the different cuts of meat and which ones work best for the grill is only half the battle to steak bliss. There are many other factors that come into play when trying to grill a delicious steak. You need to think about the grade of the steak, seasoning and marinades if needed and then actually cooking it.
In Canada, steaks are graded Prime, AAA, AA and A (which are equivalent to the US system of Prime, Choice, Select and Standard). The more marbling, (the fat running through the steak which makes it juicy and tender) the higher grade the steak.
If you start off with a premium cut, there isn’t much that needs to be done in terms of seasoning before you put it on the grill. But if you’re grilling an inexpensive cut, a marinade can really help to tenderize the meat before you grill it.
To grill the perfect steak you need:
Take your steaks out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking it. The colder the steak is when on the grill, the longer it will take to cook and achieve your desired internal temperature. With a cold steak, it would be difficult to achieve proper temperatures without completely charring the outside, toughening the meat. Trim off any excess fat on the outside. Meanwhile, take the time to clean your grill. A clean and oiled grill will prevent the steak from sticking onto the grill.
Preheat your grill until it is hot. You know it is hot enough with the hand test: hold your hand above the grill and if you need to pull away between 2 – 4 seconds then it is hot enough.
Salt, pepper and a little olive oil is all you really need. Be generous as you rub in the seasoning. The olive oil will help the seasoning stick to the steak while the salt and pepper will create a flavorful crust when you sear it. You could also mix in other spices, such as paprika and garlic powder, to add variety. If you’re using a cheaper cut of meat, you can use a variety of marinades.
Flipping the steak
There is a lot of controversy among steak enthusiasts when it comes to steak flipping. Many say to only flip the steak once, but research has found that flipping the steak multiple times cooks it more evenly. Regardless of the method you decide to use, ensure you use a pair of tongs to flip the steak (not a barbeque fork!) and avoid piercing any holes in the meat (which releases all its delicious juices).
A meat thermometer
Use a meat thermometer to check that your meat is cooked to the correct temperature to reduce any food illnesses. The government of Canada recommends that steaks reach a minimum of 63°C (145°F) for medium-rare, and 71°C (160°F) for medium steaks.
Once the steaks are within 5 degrees of their finished temperature, take them off the heat and let them rest for about 5 minutes. The steaks will continue cooking during this time from residual heat. Cutting into the steak too early will result in all its juices releasing, leaving you with a dry piece of steak.
Follow these 6 simple steps and you’ll be on your way to steak bliss.
What are your tips for a great grilled steak?