These few posts will not go into the proper ways to season or prepare a steak. They will simply explain the different tools you might use to cook your steaks. Whether it be in a frying pan, on the bbq, or in the oven, there are plenty of different ways to get the results you will be dying to share with your friends and family. Some people will try to tell you that cooking a steak on anything other than a bbq is a sin! But those people have never tried to cook a steak through reverse seering, or finished a steak in the oven! The different flavors and textures that can be achieved are out of this world! So pre-heat your ovens, get your charcoal lit, and pre-heat your skillets, because you’re about to learn how to cook steak!
This Category can be split into 3 sub-categories. Two are very well known, and 1 is often forgotten. Charcoal, Gas, and Wood.
Charcoal – Cooking a steak on a charcoal bbq can produce one of the most flavorful, juiciest steaks you will ever eat. But it can be extremely hard to master. There are so many different ways to cook on a charcoal bbq, that just figuring out which one to follow can be confusing. I will explain the easiest technique I know of here.
The first thing you want to do, is start your bbq. Here are a few common mistakes people make with charcoal bbq’s.
1) Cooking before the Charcoal is fully lit.
Depending on the method you use, this can take different amounts of time. If you are only using Lighter Fluid, it usually takes about 15 minutes until it is ready to use after it is lit. Wait until all of the coals are almost all white and ashy, then spread them out. Now this isn’t the time to start cooking. You first need to put the grill grate back on the grill so that it can pre-heat. I’d give this about 5 minutes so the grill can be hot enough to give your steak some grill marks, and a nice crust on the outside. You should hear a loud hiss when you start to cook the steaks.
2) Not using enough Charcoal
The amount of charcoal you should use is hard to say because I do not know how large your bbq is. A general rule of thumb, is that steaks need to be cooked at a higher temperature. If you do have a charcoal chimney starter, they suggest filling the starter all of the way for steaks. This will take some time to master on your own bbq. If your steaks are not crispy on the outside when they are done, or they take more than 10-15 minutes to cook, you probably need to use more charcoal to cook your steaks.
3) Not watching the BBQ
The biggest problem people have is walking away from the bbq after you put your steak on the grill. Once you begin to cook steaks on the grill, you need to keep an eye on them the entire time. You can get massive flare ups if your steak has any fat dripping off of them. The only way to stop this, is by moving the steak out of the flare up. Now some flames are definitely good for a small amount of time, but leaving a steak in direct flames for the entire cook will leave you with steaks that are inedible.
Now, learning to cook steaks on a charcoal grill is something that will take time to get better with. You will burn some steaks, and you will under cook a few as well. Follow my technique below, but know that you will need to adjust it based on the results you are getting with it.
Once your bbq is lit, and your grill is properly pre-heated, You will place your steaks down on the grill. I like to place them down opposite of the grill grates, this way you will have horizontal grill marks across the width of the meat. The amount of time you cook your steak will depend on how thick the steaks are. These instructions are for a fairly standard thickness of about 1 1/2“ to 1 1/4“. Thinner steaks will need less time. Place the steaks down for about 4-5 Minutes, until you have some nice grill marks, and the steaks are a nice golden brown, and slightly charred. Now, flip the steaks over. For a rare steak, continue cooking for about 2-3 more minutes. For a Medium Rare, continue cooking the steaks for 3-5 Minutes. For a Medium, about 5-7 Minutes, and for a Medium-Well/Well, Continue cooking the steaks for about 8-10 minutes.
Most people order steaks medium rare-Medium, so I would practice getting this timing down the most.
Cooking steaks on a gas grill is very similar to cooking with charcoal. The biggest difference is how easy it is to control the cooking temperatures. You don’t have to figure out how much charcoal to use, or how long to wait for the charcoal to start. You simply start the grill, and let it warm up.
The downside to gas, is that you will not get the same smokey flavor that you would get when you cook steaks on a charcoal bbq. The cooking times are very similar to a charcoal bbq.
I like to place them down opposite of the grill grates, this way you will have horizontal grill marks across the width of the meat. The amount of time you cook your steak will depend on how thick the steaks are. These instructions are for a fairly standard thickness of about 1 1/2“ to 1 1/4“. Thinner steaks will need less time. Place the steak down for about 4-5 Minutes, until you have some nice grill marks, and the steak is a nice golden brown, and slightly charred. Now, flip the steak over. For a rare steak, continue cooking for about 2-3 more minutes. For a Medium Rare, continue cooking the steaks for 3-5 Minutes. For a Medium, about 5-7 Minutes, and for a Medium-Well/Well, Continue cooking the steaks for about 8-10 minutes.
Most people order steak medium rare-Medium, so I would practice getting this timing down the most.
Wood- Cooking steaks with wood is sort of a lost art form. The hardest part of cooking with wood, is how extremely hot the wood burns. Wood can burn up to 1,600 Degrees, almost twice that of Charcoal. Because of this, wood fire cooking is usually done on an adjustable level grate. This is one of the best ways to adjust the temperature that the steaks will be cooking at. Another way to combat the temperature, is by cooling the steaks as much as possible before putting them on the grill. This will make sure that you can keep the steaks on the grill longer, so the insides will not overcook. I will not go into times that you should cook on a wood fire grill, as the times will vary so much, but the idea is the same. Cook on one side to get a char/golden brown color, and then flip to finish cooking the steaks.
What is your favorite way to cook a steak? What technique do you use on the grill? Share your experiences in a comment below! I think you can tell my favorite way already 🙂