There are many different opinions on how to cook the perfect steak. Some people swear by marinating, whereas others prefer using a rub. Some will use a gas grill, while others demand a charcoal grill. Regardless of your preferences, here are a few general tips on how to cook the perfect steak, no matter which method you choose:
- Choose Your Meat Wisely – If you choose a bad cut of meat, the perfect steak may already be out of reach. Cuts from the ribs or loins are best. Rib steaks and rib eye steaks, for example, have a substantial amount of fat, which gives them extra flavor and a juicy quality. Tenderloin, T-bone and porterhouse are all tender cuts from the loin, and they each have a hearty flavor. Chuck and round cuts of steak are tougher than the rib and loin cuts, so you'll have to tenderize them before cooking.
- Preheat The Grill – Don't put your steak on the grill right as you light it up. Get the grill good and hot before you put your meat on it. There are many different opinions on how hot it needs to be to cook your steak, but as long as the cooking grate creates sear marks on the meat, you're well on the way to creating the perfect steak.
- Don't Over-Season – Steak has a delicious flavor all of its own – don't drown it out with excessive seasoning or an overpowering marinade. Let your seasonings complement the flavor of the meat instead of taking it over. The perfect steak can stand alone without any steak sauce or barbecue sauce, even though some people will slather it with sauce anyway. One more quick tip is to avoid putting salt on your steak right before you cook it. The salt will draw moisture out of your steak instead of keeping it in the steak, where it belongs.
- Cook at Room Temperature – Even though you want to make sure to refrigerate your meat to prevent bacterial growth, you don't want to throw a cold steak on a hot grill. This dynamic temperature change will cause the meat to constrict and toughen. Whether you're marinating your steaks or they're just chilling in the fridge, take them out 30 to 60 minutes before grilling time to let them get close to room temperature.
- Don't Turn It Too Much – Some say to only turn your steak twice, others will tell you to turn it four times, rotating it 45 degrees each time. However, the common theme that runs through almost all the advice for cooking the perfect steak is to keep the turning to a minimum. If you're constantly flipping the steak over or pressing, poking or prodding, you'll lose precious juices, the meat will toughen and your grilling skills will be called into question.
- Let It Rest – Brownies and cookies are great right when you get them out of the oven. The perfect steak, however, needs to sit a while before it's ready for consumption. Letting your steak rest for five to ten minutes at room temperature before serving will allow the meat to soak in its own juices, creating a juicer, more tender steak. Resist the temptation to dig in as soon as the steak leaves the grill – you'll thank us for it.
The path to the perfect steak is littered with a variety of tips and tricks passed down from generation to generation, and some of the instructions are contradicted by others. These tips, however, are common among almost any grilling tradition out there and are sure to help you be the king of your backyard barbecue.