Chef Scott's Tips For Grilling The Perfect Steak
Nothing says summer like the taste of a big juicy steak...hot off the backyard grill. A lot of people are intimidated when it comes to cooking steak. Grilling a delicious steak is easy, as long as you follow a few simple steps:
Take your steak out of the fridge at least 1 hour before and let come to room temperature. NEVER COOK A COLD STEAK
SEASON both sides generously with salt and pepper or your favourite steak spice.
CLEAN & OIL YOUR GRILL
Start with a clean grill. Preheat your grill and brush with bacon fat. One side should have a hot fire while the other a smaller, cooler flame to move the steaks to once they're seared and crispy on the outside. To determine the heat is hot enough, you should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the grill grate for 1 second before it feels too hot and you must pull it away.
DONT BE SCARED TO TOUCH THE MEAT
Chefs and the cooks who know their way around a kitchen (or a grill) know how meat feels when it's raw and when it's cooked. The only way to learn this is to basically poke the steaks at different stages of cooking. Raw meat is almost squishy, rare meat is quite soft, medium rare meat resists your poking a bit, and medium meat springs back. Once meat feels firm, it's at least well done, if not completely overdone. Gently press a finger onto your steaks—being careful not to burn yourself—to teach yourself the difference.
DON'T PLAY WITH YOUR STEAKS
Yes, you should touch the steaks to test for doneness, but that doesn't mean that you should be flipping and moving and poking a lot. Steaks should only be flipped once, and only moved once from a higher to a lower heat. And don't poke them with anything but your finger! Put the meat on a hot grill—they should sizzle immediately—and leave them there until they release on their own accord. If you're pulling or struggling with them, they are not seared and not ready to flip. Once ready, flip them once and cook until they feel done. Do not stab them with a fork, which will release their flavorful juices into the flames below. Do not press down on them with a spatula. Just let them cook.
USE A THERMOMETER OR A TIMER
Whether you are cooking a thick steak or a flat, thin cut of meat will determine whether you need a meat thermometer or not. For steaks that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick, you will want to use a meat thermometer to get an accurate reading. For rare, remove steaks at 120 F to 125 F, medium rare 125 F to 130 F, and medium 130 F to 135 F. For 1-inch thick steaks cook them 3 minutes each side over high heat for quite rare, 4 minutes each side for medium rare, and 5 minutes for medium. DO NOT CUT INTO THE STEAK TO CHECK FOR DONENESS. This will let the juices escape and your steak will be dry. If you can afford it I suggest you buy a Thermapen. It is the best thermometer I have ever used. They are not cheap but it's the last thermometer you will ever buy.
LET IT REST
The most important step that most people don't do is allowing the steaks to sit once they are taken off of the grill. The steaks need to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving or cutting them. This gives the juices a chance to redistribute throughout the steak, which both helps it finish cooking evenly and keeps the meat moister and more flavorful. Place the cooked steaks on a cutting board or platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Once rested, either slice or serve the steaks whole.