Most people think the best steaks are all cooked by top chefs at restaurants, but with a little knowledge, anyone can cook the perfect steak at home on their grill. I’m going to lay out a few hints and tips, that if followed, will turn your steaks, into masterpieces.
1. Step One: Get a good cut of meat
The first rule is to pay attention to the thickness, rather than the weight; steaks that are between one and two inches thick are perfect for grilling with. Once you’ve found a steak of the right thickness, you need to check whether it’s an end cut or not. End cuts are pretty good, but the best steaks are made using non-end cuts. When you’re looking at a steak, whether it be a Rib-Eye, NY Strip or any other, just focus on the gristle, as end cuts will have a thin line of gristle, down the middle of the steak. If you see this, then this is a steak you do not want to cook with. For the same price, you can get a non-end cut and it’s far superior. So whether you’re in the store, or at the butcher’s shop, remember, it’s up to you to recognize the qualities a good cut of meat will have.
2. Step two: Fat is your friend
A tendency of the inexperienced is to cut all the fat they can off of a piece of meat. This lowers of quality of the meat substantially, when what you really want to do, is to just trim-off excess fat around the meat. A small amount of fat remaining is what you want because it’s easier to cut and fat absorbs seasoning more quickly than meat does, so if want those herbs and spices to get right into every part of the meat, leave some fat on there.
3. Step Three: Seasoning
The best seasoning for meat, in my opinion, is a few small sticks butter, with pepper, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and a small amount of salt. Ideally, you want to make your seasoning mixture the night before and use your hands when applying it to the steaks. A seasoning brush will only season the surface, but with your hands, you can massage all the flavor into the meat, and then you leave it during the night to work its magic, before cooking the next day. If you don’t have time for that, massage the seasoning in a few hours before, and it’ll make all the difference. Readers will have their own opinions on what is the best seasoning combination, but as long as you follow the rule of seasoning with your hands, and allow time between seasoning and cooking, you’ll be well on the way to the perfect steak.
4. Step Four: Cast Iron Grates
Cast iron grates are the absolute best grates for evenly cooking the perfect steak. It’s the way they retain heat, and if you don’t already have them on your grill, they are easily obtainable at stores and are relatively cheap. You can make a great steak without them, but for perfection, you need cast iron grates.
5. Step Five: The Golden Rule
No matter what you’re grilling; for the best results, ALWAYS make sure you pre-heat your grill to the temperature you want when you start cooking. Never place your meat onto a grill that isn’t piping hot.
6. Step Six: Temperature and Grill-Time
Grilling is a science as well as an art, so for the best steaks, you need to know what exact temperature to cook, and how long to cook for.
For rare steaks, you need to cook at 140 degrees, and the grill-time is 8-10 minutes if it’s 1 inch thick. For a 1.5 inch thick rare steak, grill for 10-13 minutes, and for a 2-inch rare steak, grill for 14-16 minutes.
For medium steaks, you need to cook at 160 degrees and for a 1-inch steak, the grill-time is 12-14 minutes. For a medium steak that is 1.5 inches thick, grill for 16-20 minutes. For a medium steak that is 2 inches thick, grill for 18-22 minutes.
For well-done steak, you need to cook at 165 degrees or above, and if its 1 inch thick, grill for 16-20 minutes. For a 1.5 inch steak, grill for 22-26 minutes. For a 2 inch steak, grill for 26-28 minutes.
Simply set a timer, or grill close to a clock, and I guarantee your steaks will improve dramatically, just by getting the temperature and grill-times correct. Follow all of these hints and tips and restaurant standard steaks will be getting served up at your house very soon.