Grilling the perfect steak can be intimidating, but anyone can be a barbecuing pro with these three key elements: a great cut of meat, a hot grill, and a little expertise about when it’s done. There’s lots of debates about searing and letting it sit, but I find the secret to a perfect steak is cooking your quality cut not a minute more than it needs.
Cuts of Meat
From filet mignon to chuck eye, the right steak is the one that suits your tastes and fits your budget. I prefer New York Strip Steak (aka Top Loin Steak) as one of the best, but porterhouse and rib eye cuts are also fantastic as less expensive options. The steak should be at least 3/4 inch thick to stay juicy and not tough, and a small amount of fat should be marbled throughout for flavor. The best idea is to talk to your butcher — they’ll lead you in the right direction every time and you’ll learn a ton about various cuts.
Proper grilling starts before you even get the steak on the barbecue. Keep that steak ice cold and in the fridge! Don’t let the meat become room temperature; you don’t want it to be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Heat your barbecue on high, adjusting for the temperature that will cook your steak as quick as possible, without burning it. A thicker steak will need a higher heat than a thin one. Once the grill is hot, place the steaks over the direct heat, watching for flares and burning. Avoid flipping the steak multiple times (twice will suffice), but use tongs when you do flip it so you don’t pierce the meat and drain out all the juices.
This is one of the trickiest parts of cooking a steak. Just like different types of steak, how well done you want it will be up to your personal preference, from rare to well done. The general rule of thumb is to wait for the sides to cook. From there, poke the steak with your finger, taking care not to burn yourself. If the steak is soft and squishy, it’s still rare. If it is firm to the touch, it’s medium well, and well done will be very firm and springy.
Once it’s cooked to your preference, take it off the grill immediately, and let it rest and relax for optimal flavour.
Like all things, practice makes perfect. So the best way to cook the perfect steak is to fire up your barbecue and start grilling!