Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

Get steakhouse-quality steaks at home.

Cooking steak can be intimidating, especially because there’s no one “right way” to do it. Learn these methods for cooking steak, and decide which option is best for you. Here are four ways to cook the perfect steaks: on the grill, in the oven, on the stove, or cooked sous vide.

How to Cook Steak 4 Different Ways

1. How to Cook Steak on the Grill

We won’t get into the fiery debate between charcoal versus gas grills here — we’ve covered that in depth. But for certain, great grilling can be had with either charcoal or gas.

We’ve also covered how to pick the best steak for grilling. The good news is, the perfect steak doesn’t need to be the most expensive. If breaking the bank isn’t part of your barbeque plan, consider less spendy sirloin, hanger, flank steak, and skirt steaks.

Choose cuts that are at least 1-inch thick. If the steak is too thin, the interior gets cooked well-done before the exterior can develop the crave-worthy crust. If you can, choose steaks of even thickness so they’ll be done at the same time. Also, meat near the bone will take a little longer to cook.

Marinades and Rubs. The ideal steak marinade combines acid, fat, and seasonings. The acid creates a tangy flavor foundation and tenderizes the meat; the fat adds flavor, seals in juices, helps keep the meat from sticking to the grill, and promotes caramelization; and the seasonings complete the flavor profile. Here’s a breakdown of The Best Steak Marinade in Existence.

Rubs are another way to go. These simple seasoning mixtures infuse grilled steaks with exciting flavors. The best rubs enhance the natural smoky flavors of the grilled meat without overwhelming it. Add a little oil, vinegar, or other liquid to the mix, and you have a wet rub. Let rubbed meats sit for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. Now that you’ve prepped your meat, learn step-by-step how to cook steak on the grill:

  1. If your steak was marinating, wipe off the wet marinade with a paper towel, then set it down on the hot grill and leave it alone for several minutes without turning.
  2. After a few minutes, the meat will release its grip on the grill, and you can turn it without tearing the meat; If you start to turn it, and it’s still gripping the grill, just give it another minute.
  3. Sear steaks over high, direct heat, then move them to indirect heat to finish cooking. That’s the most common method. But if you like to live dangerously, do it in reverse: start with indirect cooking, with the lid on, and then finish with a quick, high-heat sear. You’ll get the same results: a juicy steak with a crisp, caramelized crust.
  4. Once your steak is done to your liking, remove it to a plate and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving or slicing.

Some Favorite Grilled Steak Recipes:

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

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No matter the cut of meat you prefer, you must always pay close attention when cooking your beef. Timing is key when cooking steak and a few minutes is what makes the difference between rare and well done. This is one of the reasons I have put together this summary of tips to help you from beginning to end when cooking steak.

There are a lot of different ways to cook steak so you do not have to limit yourself. [1] And while you can enjoy your steak in a variety of delicious ways, these tips are going to be guiding you through properly frying your steak.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

Marinate The Steak

When it comes to marinating steaks, you should keep in mind the most basic rule to follow, which is that you should always include an acidic liquid (such as vinegar or wine, so it can break down the muscle fibers in the meat cut), oil, and flavorings of your choice (herbs, spices, or sweeteners). You can buy pre-made marinade mixes in the store, but it’s better and healthier to make your own.

Here are tips on how to properly marinate your steak:

  1. Place olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, basil, garlic powder, pepper, and parsley in a blender. You can add garlic and hot pepper sauce if desired.
  2. Blend on high speed until thoroughly mixed for 30 seconds.
  3. Once you have properly mixed your marinade, it is ready to be used on your meat. Pour marinade over meat and make sure the marinade covers the entire meat.
  4. You can massage the meat to assist the penetration of the mixture, then cover, and refrigerate from 2 to 24 hours.

There are lots of marinade recipes you can try depending on your preference, but the one above is a great one to have on hand.

Selecting the Best Frying Pan

If you are reading this, it is very likely that you are trying to find tips on how best to cook your steak. I recommend frying, although you can grill it if you prefer or even cook on a stove or oven.

One of the commonly made mistakes when cooking steak is cooking it in the wrong choice of pan.

To fry your steak, you will need high temperatures so your pan of choice should be a thick-based, heavy-duty frying pan, ideally with a non-stick coating, which must be able to withstand the heat needed to fry the steak properly. [2] Cast iron griddles or skillets are the top choice and be sure to use the appropriate pan with enough room. However, if your pan isn’t big enough for all your steaks, don’t crowd the pan, cook them one or two at a time or in batches. This will let them rest as you cook the other batches, ensuring that they are all cooked properly.

Choosing the Oil

You should use groundnut oil to cook the steak. Groundnut oil has a mild flavor, which would make your steak more enjoyable. Some people like to use butter and you can use that if you prefer.

When the pan heats up, add a splash of oil directly to the pan. Once the oil starts separating on the pan, it’s hot enough to add the steak. Make sure to add the steak when the oil is hot – if the oil is too cool when the steak is added, your steak could turn out under-browned and greasy.

Dressing the Steak

Moments before placing the steak into the pan, sprinkle some sea salt and black pepper onto a plate, then press the steak into the seasoning. However, if you are satisfied with just marinating, you can skip this step and go on to fry the steak.

How do you like it?

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

  • Blue-rare
  • Rare
  • Medium-rare
  • Medium
  • Medium-well
  • Well-done

For a well-done steak, depending on the thickness of the steak, you should cook it for about 4-5 minutes on each side.

Leave it to rest

This is an important step. After cooking the steak, it should be left to rest at room temperature for at least five minutes.

Serve

Now you can serve up the steak. It can be accompanied with anything, including salads.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

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Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

It’s hard to beat a nice, juicy steak from a restaurant; replicating that perfectly cooked rib eye at home is not easy. Which is why making steak night a regular thing is a good idea to get in some practice. While you’re at it, there are a few tricks to ensure you cook the perfect steak every time.

We ask the experts to share those tips on how they ensure a flavorful piece of meat. Here’s what they have to say.

Bring your steak to room temperature and pre-salt before cooking.

“I like the steak to rest outside of the fridge to come to temperature for about an hour before cooking it,” celebrity chef and restaurateur Jet Tila says. “But I also like to salt the steak during that time. In my opinion, it helps with a few things: Drawing out the moisture helps create a nice brown crust, as well and concentrates the flavor.”

Cook your steak in a cast-iron skillet.

“Use a heated cast-iron skillet with a little grape seed oil or canola oil,” Chris Coombs, chef and owner of Boston Chops, says. “When anything is put in a normal frying pan, it drops the temperature of the pan, but the cast-iron skillet is able to maintain the temperature without it dropping.”

A post shared by Southern Cast Iron (@southerncastiron) on Jul 7, 2017 at 3:59pm PDT

Know when your meat is done.

“A good way to test the temperature of a thick cut of steak if you don’t have a thermometer is to use a cake tester,” Denis Crutchfield, chef de cuisine of Craft in Los Angeles, explains. “If you put the cake tester in the meat for five seconds and put it on your lip and you feel no temperature difference, you have a perfect medium rare. You can use your judgment based on feel for the other temperatures (warm is mid, hot is midwell to well, etc).”

Finish your steak with aromatics.

“When I grill at home, I like to blast my steak with butter, garlic and thyme,” David Shim, executive chef of Cote, says. “Once your meat is about 70 percent done, keep the steak in the pan, add about a tablespoon of butter, crushed garlic and thyme, making room for your aromatics. Cook until bubbly (not brown) then remove [the steak from the pan] and pour over top. Finally and importantly, do not slice right away. Let the meat rest so that all juices from the steak have time to return to where [they] need to be. This will reduce bleeding once you cut it.”

A post shared by Kristen Kish (@kristenlkish) on Jul 11, 2016 at 2:40pm PDT

Buy quality products.

If you want the best results, you need to use the best products, Daniel Patterson, restaurateur and proprietor of Alfred’s Steakhouse, explains. “I buy from local ranchers who raise cattle on pasture [grass], and then finish on grain. Find a producer or butcher in your area whose steaks you love.”

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

We are steak people. Although we eat meals of all kinds, steak is a true family favorite. Because of this, I have made more steaks in the last twenty years than I care to count.

Actually, the thought of knowing the exact number of steaks I’ve cooked is a little terrifying, if I’m being totally honest. Holy cow indeed!

Needless to say, I know my way around a slab of red meat. Enough so that I thought I’d share my top 5 steak-cooking tips with you today, since grilling season in underway.

If you get nervous about cooking steaks, these tips should put you at ease this summer. They’ll elevate your steaks, whether you cook them in a pan as seen in the photos, or on the grill.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

1 – Let the meat rest. Twice.

Cold steaks don’t cook evenly. Placing a chilled piece of meat in a pan or on the grill makes it difficult for the heat to reach the center. Let the steaks rest out on the counter at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

After cooking, it’s just as important to let the steaks rest again for 5–10 minutes, so the juices redistribute and the fibers relax. Cutting into a steak the moment it comes off the heat will result in a tough dry steak.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

2 – Season well.

You’ve brought home gorgeous thick-cut fillets, begging to be seared or grilled. Now is not the time to be shy about seasoning.

At the very least, it’s important to give your steaks a generous rub down with salt and cracked black pepper, salt being the most important ingredient you could ever add to a steak. Do this before you let the steaks rest so the seasoning has time to work its way deep into the meat.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

If you’re feeling saucy, try sprinkling your steaks with bolder spices as well. Cumin, smoked paprika, sumac, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and even cinnamon taste amazing on steaks.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

3 – Sear hot.

Whether you are grilling your steaks or searing them in a cast iron skillet, always start with high heat. A hot cooking surface is extremely important to caramelize the outside of the steak and lock in the juices and flavor.

High heat also creates the textural diversity of steak-house quality steaks: crispy on the outside, yet moist and tender on the inside.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

4 – Use a meat thermometer.

People have all sorts of methods to test the internal temperature or “doneness” of a steak. When you’ve made as many steaks as I have, you can use the finger test to feel a steak and determine if it’s rare, medium-rare, or medium.

However, if you’re concerned about overcooking your steaks or just like them to be exactly the same temperature every single time, a simple meat thermometer probe works wonders.

Once you think you’re steaks have reached the right temperature, press the probe into the center of one steak. 130ºF is a perfect medium-rare. Keep in mind that the internal temperature will continue to rise 3-5 degrees after you remove the steaks from the heat source. So it’s a good idea to take the steaks off the heat 3-5 degrees before you hit your mark!

Here’s a handy internal temperature guide:

  • Rare: 125ºF
  • Medium-rare: 130 to 135ºF
  • Medium: 140 to 145ºF
  • Medium-well: 150ºF

Be careful not to overcook your meat! All the flavor and juiciness associated with an amazing steak dissipate the longer you cook it. I always recommend sticking with rare to medium doneness, for best flavor.

Note: Cooking times are determined on the thickness of your steaks, as well as the temperature of your heat source. When searing on high, I usually cook 1 ½ inch steaks for about 3 minutes each side for medium-rare.

Indulge your carnivorous side with a classic steak supper. We’ve put together the definite guide to cooking steak, including ideas for sides and sauces, plus drink suggestions.

There’s no treat quite like a perfectly seared steak, cooked to your liking, served with your favourite side dishes and puddle of sauce. Mix and match the components of your special supper by using our step-by-step guide to creating the perfect steak.

1. Choose your cut

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

If you really want to impress you could ask your butcher for a chateaubriand, a succulent, long fillet of beef cut from the back of the cow that can be cooked as a steak but usually serves two or three guests.

More unusual cuts include porterhouse (or t-bone), which has a bone running down the middle, or filet mignon, a medallion-like cut taken from the back of the tenderloin. You’re less likely to find these in supermarkets, so try a good local butcher instead.

Opting for a cheaper cut may go against the ethos of a luxurious steak dinner, but they’re often where you’ll find the best flavour. Skirt, bavette and flank cuts should be flash-fried and served as rare as you can handle – these lean steaks can shrivel up and become really tough if left to cook at length.

2. Look for the best meat

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

When choosing your cut, it should be moist rather than dry or slimy. Look for firm, fine-grained meat with a light marbling of fat – without this the steak will be dry once cooked. Any fat on the edges of the steak should be creamy-coloured, and properly hung beef – meat that’s been matured on hooks to enhance the condition – should be deep burgundy in colour, not bright red.

If you’re picking a pre-cut steak, make sure it is neatly trimmed with no fragments of shattered bone.

3. Cook to perfection

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

4. Serve up

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

This video guide shows you how to achieve a professional slice, and also contains information on cooking your steak from start to finish.

Shake up your side dishes

A pile of thin chips and a jug of sauce are two of our favourite accompaniments to steak, but our guide to side dishes should provide you with some original ideas.

5. Choose a drink

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

You can’t argue with the tried-and-tested formula of steak and red wine. Try and get your hands on a really good Malbec, then close your eyes and pretend you’re enjoying your steak on a ranch in Argentina. Syrah, pinotage and cabernet sauvignon are all perfectly good alternatives.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to matching beef steak with beer. Some would argue the palate-cleansing nature of lager or IPA would cut through the fatty richness of the steak, while others say the caramelised notes of porters and stouts bring out the slightly sweet charred flavour of the steak.

How do you like to cook and serve your steak? Share your ideas with us below, or check out our steak recipe collection and video guide for inspiration.

How the reverse-sear method turns out the perfect steak every time.

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Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

Jeff Mauro makes Reverse Seared Ribeye Steak, as seen on Food Network’s The Kitchen

If you haven’t tried the reverse-sear method yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. To cook a steak the traditional way, you sear your steak in a hot pan before finishing in the oven. But to reverse-sear a steak, you cook the meat to desired doneness in a low-temperature oven before searing it in a hot pan. This revolutionary method produces a steak that is the perfect temperature all the way through with a gorgeous crust. A traditionally seared steak is often overcooked or undercooked inside and finding the perfect temperature is a guessing game. This Saturday on The Kitchen, Jeff shows us how this low-and-slow method turns out a perfectly cooked steak every time.

Step 1: Season Aggressively

Jeff takes two massive bone-in rib eye steaks and brings them to room temperature. He then liberally seasons all sides of the steak with salt and pepper, even the ends. “When we’re talking about seasoning like a pro,” says GZ. “Nobody puts enough salt and pepper on a steak. It’s basically salt crusted.” Katie chimes in, “It’s impossible to put too much salt on that piece of meat.” If possible, leave the seasoned meat inside the fridge to dry out overnight and use a well-marbled cut so that the rendered fat makes every bite buttery.

Step 2: Cook Low and Slow

The seasoned meat goes into a 225-degree oven for about an hour but the time will vary depending on the thickness of your steak. The most important part of reverse searing is an instant read thermometer, because you will never be able to guess the internal temperature, says Jeff. Look for 115-degrees for medium rare and 125-degrees for medium.

Step 3: Sear

The next step is to heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it is very hot and add a drizzle of oil. Sear the meat for about two minutes per side for a to-die-for crisp crust. Next add a knob of butter and spoon the hot butter over the steak while tilting the pan. And don’t forget to sear the ends.

Serve your perfect steak with Sunny’s Crispy Smashed Garlic Fingerling Potatoes or your favorite side. For more pro-tips watch The Kitchen Saturdays at 11a|10c.

No grill? No problem. We walk you through how to achieve grill-like results in your kitchen.

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Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

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A high angle extreme close up horizontal photograph of a sizzling bone in rib eye steak in a black cast iron pan.

Photo by: DebbiSmirnoff

By Heath Goldman for Food Network Kitchen

Heath Goldman is a culinary editor at Food Network.

Cooking steak on a grill is one of the easiest ways to achieve a thick, crackling crust and juicy interior. Charcoal grills also impart delightful smoky flavor. But what if you don’t have access to a grill? Great news: It’s easy to achieve very similar results within your kitchen. Whether you’re cooking a marbled prime ribeye, a lean London broil or something a little more middle of the road, we’re here to walk you through each and every step to achieving perfectly cooked steak. There are two different easy techniques that’ll help you achieve grill-like results.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

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Raw fresh meat Steak Striploin in aluminum tray drying up excess moisture by Male hand with paper towel

Photo by: Lisovskaya/Getty Images

Always Pat Your Steak Dry

The golden rule to achieving steak with a deep-brown, flavorful crust? Eliminating as much moisture as possible from its surface. Moisture is the enemy of crispiness. That’s because moisture slows down Maillard reactions, the process responsible for turning steak brown and crispy. Whether you’ve marinated your steak or not, you’ll want to blot it all over with paper towels before you season it. Doing so prevents seasoning from melting and inhibits steam (moisture!) from forming when you cook the steak.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

Cooking the perfect steak can be a challenge and even more so at home. While there are world-famous steakhouses all across the country, there’s something enticing about going back to the source and enjoying a steak without the pretense you might find in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. We did a virtual steak tour of Omaha, Nebraska recently and let me tell you – my mouth is still watering!

We listened to tips from three of Omaha’s top steak chefs including: Chef Nick Strawhecker from Dante Pizzaria, Chef Jake Newton from V. Mertz, and Chef Colin Duggan from Kitchen Table. While each had their own spin and interpretations on flavoring and cut, there were some consistent things that each of the men agreed on. Let’s take a look at their tips for cooking the perfect steak.

Proper Steak Preparation Is Key

Some guys like to take the plastic wrap off their steaks and throw them on the grill but that’s sorta like sex before warming up first. Sure, you’ll get to the finish line but it won’t be as good.

Instead, you should prepare to temper the steak for about two hours at room temperature and then depending on the cut trim it to remove any silverskin and extra fat if so desired.

Next, make sure to dry the steak completely and season the steak liberally. Depending on your cut of meat and preferences, this could be with salt and cracked black pepper as Chef Jake Newton and Chef Nick Strawhecker demonstrated, or simply with in-house seasonings as Chef Colin Duggan did. This is ultimately a personal preference but with a liberal coating of salt and cracked pepper, it will form a nice crust when you sear it.

Never put the steak in a cold pan, make sure to heat the oven or cast-iron pan is very hot and add a bit of canola oil or other high-smoke point oil so that the steak doesn’t stick.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

Now We’re Ready To Cook That Steak

For home users, it is best to have a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet for cooking your steak. Make sure to pre-heat it on you stove, oven, or grill and add oil so that the steak doesn’t stick.

Chef Jack Newton adds that to get a good crust you should sear the steak on the hottest surface possible. This will create a crust as well as delicious and beautiful caramelization on the steak. Once it has a nice external crust, take it out of the pan to let it rest for a few min so that the external temperature is lower than what you desire the internal temperature to be. This resting process may take 5-7 minutes.

Now, you can finish the steak by placing it in a hot oven at 450 oF for about five minutes until you reach your desired internal temperature. While these chefs from Omaha are all trained experts, for the rest of us, I suggest getting a wireless temperature probe to monitor this process. It makes things so much easier.

Remember, your steak will continue cooking so if you want a Medium Rare steak to be 145 degrees, you should remove it at 140 depending on thickness.

Prepare Your Steak for Serving

Once done in the oven, take it out and let it rest for 10-15 minutes to let it finish cooking and to prevent the juices from being lost once you cut into it.

While some people prefer to simply serve the steak with sides, others like to have sauces. Chef Colin Duggan likes using reductions to accompany his steaks

From the right temperature to resting time

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

It seems that people approach grilling steak one of two ways: either in a casual manner or paying perhaps too much attention. Some will heat the grill with abandon, throw the steaks on, flip once, then pull them off, and serve; others will fret and worry, cutting into the meat every two seconds wringing their hands over whether the meat is done or not. Both techniques do have some merits but a method somewhere in the middle is ideal.

Grilling a delicious steak is easy, as long as you follow a few simple steps. As with anything, a bit of practice always helps, too. Follow some advice, grill a few steaks, and you’ll be serving up perfectly cooked juicy steaks in no time.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

Bring the Steaks to Room Temperature

Too many people take their steaks directly from the chilly fridge to the hot fire. You will not get an evenly cooked steak this way—the outside of the meat will cook faster than the inside. It is best to take the steaks out of the fridge about half an hour before you plan to cook them; remove the wrapping, place on a plate, and let them come up to room temperature on the kitchen counter.

A good piece of meat doesn’t need a lot of seasoning and will be quite delicious with a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. Once the steaks are at room temperature, sprinkle with salt or another seasoning of your choice.

Clean and Oil Your Grill

No matter what you are grilling, you should always begin with clean grill grates. Not only does this make it easier to flip and remove the food from the grill but it also does not impart any flavors from previous grilled meals, such as barbecued chicken, into the steaks. Make sure to clean your cooking grate using a stiff wire brush. It is best to do this after you’ve finished grilling while the grates are still warm, but you can also clean the grill while it is preheating if you discover caked on residue. Taking the time to brush off old bits of cooked-on food will pay off handsomely when your steaks release from the cooking grate with ease.

You also want to coat the grates with vegetable or canola oil (or other neutral-flavored oil) before heating the grill. Pour a little bit of oil on a paper towel and rub onto the clean, cold grill grates.

Heat Your Fire

To achieve a crust on the outside while keeping the interior of the steak cooked to your liking, you need to have two different temperatures set on your grill. In order to get those nice grill marks, you need to heat your grill to high heat to essentially sear the steaks. 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.

You also want a cooler, medium heat area of the grill to move the steaks to once they’re seared and crispy on the outside. If you have enough burners and space on your grill, set them to a lower heat; if you don’t have enough room, simply turn off the burner. If you are using a charcoal grill, one side should have a hot fire while the other a smaller, cooler flame.

If you are cooking very thin steaks, they will only need a short time over high heat.

Touch the Steaks

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 the 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 and/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.

It’s nearly impossible to get an accurate temperature read on steaks thinner than 1 1/2 inches so it is best to use a timer instead. 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.

Try to avoid this if you can, but if you just have to take a peek, remove the steak from the grill and use the tip of a paring knife to make a cut into the center of the steak to see how things are going. Keep in mind that the steak will continue to cook as it rests after being removed from the grill. Cutting into the steak is discouraged because it will release the precious juices that help flavor and tenderize the meat.

Always Let the Meat Rest

Perhaps 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.

From the right temperature to resting time

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

It seems that people approach grilling steak one of two ways: either in a casual manner or paying perhaps too much attention. Some will heat the grill with abandon, throw the steaks on, flip once, then pull them off, and serve; others will fret and worry, cutting into the meat every two seconds wringing their hands over whether the meat is done or not. Both techniques do have some merits but a method somewhere in the middle is ideal.

Grilling a delicious steak is easy, as long as you follow a few simple steps. As with anything, a bit of practice always helps, too. Follow some advice, grill a few steaks, and you’ll be serving up perfectly cooked juicy steaks in no time.

Food tips how to cook the perfect steak

Bring the Steaks to Room Temperature

Too many people take their steaks directly from the chilly fridge to the hot fire. You will not get an evenly cooked steak this way—the outside of the meat will cook faster than the inside. It is best to take the steaks out of the fridge about half an hour before you plan to cook them; remove the wrapping, place on a plate, and let them come up to room temperature on the kitchen counter.

A good piece of meat doesn’t need a lot of seasoning and will be quite delicious with a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. Once the steaks are at room temperature, sprinkle with salt or another seasoning of your choice.

Clean and Oil Your Grill

No matter what you are grilling, you should always begin with clean grill grates. Not only does this make it easier to flip and remove the food from the grill but it also does not impart any flavors from previous grilled meals, such as barbecued chicken, into the steaks. Make sure to clean your cooking grate using a stiff wire brush. It is best to do this after you’ve finished grilling while the grates are still warm, but you can also clean the grill while it is preheating if you discover caked on residue. Taking the time to brush off old bits of cooked-on food will pay off handsomely when your steaks release from the cooking grate with ease.

You also want to coat the grates with vegetable or canola oil (or other neutral-flavored oil) before heating the grill. Pour a little bit of oil on a paper towel and rub onto the clean, cold grill grates.

Heat Your Fire

To achieve a crust on the outside while keeping the interior of the steak cooked to your liking, you need to have two different temperatures set on your grill. In order to get those nice grill marks, you need to heat your grill to high heat to essentially sear the steaks. 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.

You also want a cooler, medium heat area of the grill to move the steaks to once they’re seared and crispy on the outside. If you have enough burners and space on your grill, set them to a lower heat; if you don’t have enough room, simply turn off the burner. If you are using a charcoal grill, one side should have a hot fire while the other a smaller, cooler flame.

If you are cooking very thin steaks, they will only need a short time over high heat.

Touch the Steaks

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 the 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 and/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.

It’s nearly impossible to get an accurate temperature read on steaks thinner than 1 1/2 inches so it is best to use a timer instead. 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.

Try to avoid this if you can, but if you just have to take a peek, remove the steak from the grill and use the tip of a paring knife to make a cut into the center of the steak to see how things are going. Keep in mind that the steak will continue to cook as it rests after being removed from the grill. Cutting into the steak is discouraged because it will release the precious juices that help flavor and tenderize the meat.

Always Let the Meat Rest

Perhaps 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.