AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

How to Grill A Steak Like A Pro

grilled steak

You don’t need to donate last week’s paycheck to a steakhouse to enjoy a fantastic steak thanks to these grilling tips and techniques.

What is it about beef? It can be so incredibly satisfying. Juicy. Meaty. Full of rich flavor. Sometimes, we just can’t get enough, and honestly one of our favorite ways to enjoy beef is in a big ‘ol slab. But there is no reason to spend a fortune at a restaurant when the team at AmazingRibs.com can teach you how to grill a steak at home like the pros with a few key tips for grilling steak!

With a simple steak, you get a maximum amount of surface area that browns and takes on deep, smoky, savory flavors. Sure, beef roasts are amazing too, but you don’t get as much browned surface, so you get less flavor. Plus, a steak tends to be a single serving, and it just feels good to get your own self-contained plank of meaty goodness on the dinner plate. When you eat steak, you eat like a king.

Fortunately, cooking a great steak is one of the simplest things in the world. At home, follow our simple tips for grilling steak and in no time you’ll be hoisting a steak knife to dig in to one of the most gratifying meals you will ever cook.

Step 1: Buy great meat. Restaurant chefs have a saying: “Garbage in, garbage out.” That means if you buy less expensive, lower quality ingredients, no amount of seasoning or cooking is going to elevate them to the next level on the plate. It’s like trying to polish a turd. We can’t stress this enough when teaching you how to grill a steak, and that’s why it is step number one in the process: Buy the best meat you can afford. Prime graded steaks are among the best tasting because they have the highest amount of fat striated within the meat, known as intramuscular fat or marbling. Get to know your local butcher. Let him or her know you LOVE Prime beef steaks. Now and then, bring him or her a beer or another thank you. Treat your butcher well, and he or she will treat you well and maybe even set aside the best cuts of steak when Prime beef comes in the shop.

You can also buy excellent quality Prime beef steaks and Wagyu beef from online purveyors like Allen Bros. See our page of Artisan Meat Purveyors for more. Corn-feed beef tends to taste richer, sweeter, and more “beefy,” while grass-fed beef tends to have more nuanced flavors. Try both to find your favorite. The vast majority of steaks are briefly “wet aged” in cryovac packaging, but dry aged beef develops more complex, concentrated flavors. It also concentrates in price because it loses weight during the aging process. If you’re interested in learning more, have a look at our advice on How to Dry Age Steaks at Home.

When learning how to grill a steak, one of the first questions you should ask is “which cut should I buy?” We love ribeyes. Some prefer porterhouse. Others like strip steaks. And flank steaks certainly have their place. It’s a personal choice, and you should try a few different steak cuts to find your favorite. Bone-in or boneless? Bones have a nostalgic caveman appeal, but the fact is they inhibit heat transference and make it more difficult to cook a steak perfectly. Plus, the bones do not release some kind of magical flavor into the meat. That’s a myth and we bust it here. When following our tips for grilling steak, always look for a steak that’s at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick so there’s enough room for both a deeply browned crust and a perfectly cooked interior. To bone up on more steak buying basics, read our article on Buying Beef, Beef Grades, and Labels.

Step 2: Trim and tie. While this is another key step in learning how to grill a steak like a boss, it will probably be done by your butcher. But let’s say you’re the butcher, and you’re cutting some steaks from a Prime rib roast. Trim the surface fat to 1/8 to 1/4″ thickness. There’s no reason to leave a thick layer of fat on a steak, and there’s good reason to remove it. The fact is that surface fat does not penetrate the meat as it melts, somehow making the meat taste richer. This is another myth, and we bust that one here. Plus, when eating steak, most folks will cut off the gobs of surface fat and intramuscular fat (chunks of fat and gristle between the muscle groups), pushing them to the side of the plate.

And there goes the seasoning you lovingly rubbed or slathered all over the surface. Flavor that’s rubbed into the surface fat of a steak is wasted. That’s two good reasons to trim up the fatty parts of your steak before cooking, so both you and your guests get the most flavor on the plate. If you’ve removed so much fat, or so much bone, that your steaks are floppy and unwieldy, tie them up. A few inches of butcher’s string will make well-trimmed steaks easier to handle, tighten up air pockets, and help them cook more evenly. A nice, tidy steak looks much better on the plate.

Step 3: Pre-salt it. When learning how to grill a steak, one key to success is to hold off on other seasonings at first because they will burn during cooking. But you want to salt your steaks early. If you only have 30 minutes, fine. Salt the steak all over and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you have 2 hours, that’s even better. Got 24 hours? That’s better still and is properly called dry brining. Read more about dry brining here. Whether it’s for 30 minutes or 24 hours, pre-salting gives you a better tasting, juicier steak because salt penetrates the meat and helps it hold onto its juices. And that’s why it is one of our top tips for grilling a steak! Just sprinkle a generous amount of salt all over the steak, about 1/2 teaspoon Morton’s kosher salt per pound of meat. What about marinating? Forget it. Marinating steaks is a useless technique because marinades don’t penetrate the meat much and you end up throwing away most of the flavor when you throw away the marinade. Here’s the science.

Step 4: Reverse sear it. When learning how to grill a steak, let’s answer this question first: “Do you want to bring the meat to room temperature before cooking?” No! Room temperature is about 70 degrees F, right in the food safety danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees F. It’s fine to let a steak sit AT room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes but don’t bring it TO room temperature. This myth is busted too. As for the best cooking method, the “sear and move” technique used to be a standard technique, and it works fairly well, especially with thinner steaks less than 1 inch thick. With this method, you put the steak over or under some raging high heat to sear the outside and create a flavorful browned crust, then move it to lower heat to finish cooking it through to your desired doneness.

Cooking the exterior and interior of the steak differently makes sense, but the whole process works much better in reverse, especially for steaks more than 1 inch thick. Why? Meat cooks from the outside in, and with the “sear and move” technique, when you hit the steak with a ton of heat at the beginning, it creates a thicker band of overcooked, grey meat just under the surface before the interior is cooked to your preferred doneness. Flip the script for nice thick steak. Start the meat over low heat. Then at the end, blast it with the highest heat you can, flipping and rotating it like mad to create an evenly browned crust all over. For really thick steaks, sear the sides too, to get even more flavor.

With this reverse sear method, you get more perfectly cooked meat inside from edge to edge and only a thin band of grey meat just under your beautifully browned crust. For all the science and logic, dig deeper into the reverse sear method here. If you have a sous vide cooker, that makes reverse searing a thick steak a cinch: sous vide the steak to a temp that’s just under your ideal doneness (let’s say about 110 degrees F), then blast it with raging heat on a grill. We call that “sous vide que” and you can read more about it here. Of course, you could get your raging high heat from a cast-iron pan instead of a grill. You’ll get a nice browned crust. But you won’t get the awesome smell of woodsmoke from the grill.

Step 5: Flavor it. One of our key tips for grilling steaks is all about the seasoning. Maybe you like it simple, just salt and pepper. And if you’ve got a super-expensive piece of A5 Wagyu, then yes, that is all you need. But for less rich steaks, a little butter does wonders. Just melt some butter over your salted and peppered steak. For even more flavor, use a compound butter with some chopped herbs or spices mixed in. Got a killer steak rub? Scatter it on when the meat comes off the heat. Just make sure there’s no salt in the rub if you pre-salted the steak.

Another great option: a board sauce. Chop up some herbs or crush some spices and mix them with softened butter or olive oil right on your cutting board. When you put the hot steak on the board, the butter melts, the flavors open up, the meat juices mix with whatever you put on the board, and it all mingles together, amping up the taste of your steak when it’s served. Read more about board sauces here. Herb sauces lend nice, bright flavors to beef steaks, too, and Argentinian chimichurri is among the best (that’s it on the flank steak in the photo).

Step 6: Serve it hot. Should you rest your steak before serving? No! Hot steak tastes better and the juices retained from a brief rest are minimal. Did some juices spill out onto the cutting board? Don’t cry over them: just pour them over the steak to enjoy your boeuf “au jus.” Nothing will be lost.” This is another myth busted: read about the science here.

That’s it; those are the tips for grilling steak like the pros do! These six basic steps work with any beef steak from ribeye to porterhouse to filet mignon. So fire up the grill and enjoy a steak today! For more details, check out some of our favorite steak recipes, seasonings, sauces, and other tips below.

Grilled steak

Recipe Secrets Revealed For Grilled Steaks That Put The Best Restaurants To Shame

By:

Meathead

Create grilled steaks as good or better than they do in the best expensive steakhouses with this comprehensive how-to and recipe. From selecting the right cut and beef grade to smoking and searing on the grill, you'll be grilling up mouthwatering steaks for your family and guests in no time!

Buying Beef: Beef Grades And Labels, And Busting The Kobe Beef Myth

By:

Meathead

Grades of beef explained: Choice, Prime, Wagyu, Certified Angus, Kobe, aged, grass fed, grain fed, organic, natural, kosher, and halal.

Beef & Bison Cuts: Not All are Created Equal

By:

Meathead

Everything you need to know about the different cuts of beef, all the primals as well as all the popular commercial cuts.

Extreme Steak: Wild And Crazy Ways To Get A Killer Sear

By:

Meathead

Here are four offbeat methods for cooking steaks that work amazingly well: The Afterburner Method where you cook on a hot charcoal chimney, the Vigneron Method where you cook with twigs, the Caveman Method where you cook right on hot coals, and the Stripsteak Method where you sous vide in butter then sear on a grill.

Professional Brazilian Steakhouse Knife Set

By:

Meathead

Machine washable professional Brazilian steak knife set hand selected by Meathead.
this item is for members only

The Big Chill: A Trick For Making The Perfect Sous-Vide-Que Steak

By:

Clint Cantwell

Fire meets water with the introduction of the sous-vide-que cooking method. By starting steak in a temperature controlled sous vide water bath, it's rendered perfectly cooked every time. Before hitting the grill, the food is shocked in an ice and water bath to stop cooking so that it can be grilled without overcooking.
Sliced and plated beef tenderloin

How To Cook A Whole Beef Tenderloin Or Butcher Into Smaller Cuts

By:

Meathead

Beef tenderloin is the most tender muscle on the steer. But regardless of how wonderful this cut is, many people have no idea what to do with it. As such, here's a "how to", offering simple techniques for cooking whole or in parts.

The Rib Cap, The Best Cut On The Steer

By:

Meathead

Along the outside edge of the beef ribeye lies the rib cap or deckle, which is more marbled and flavorful than the ribeye itself.

How to Dry Age Steak At Home

By:

Meathead

Here is how to dry age and wet age beef at home and save a lot of money in the process.

Reverse Sear, Grilling Temps, When To Cook Hot & Fast, When To Cook Low & Slow, And When To Do Both

By:

Meathead

What is the right cooking temperature for barbecue? It depends. Not all food should be cooked low and slow or hot and fast. Sometimes, a combination of both is best, as seen in the reverse sear and in sous-vide-que. Read more about 2-zone cooking and when to grill with the lid up or down for perfectly cooked BBQ.

Professional Brazilian Steakhouse Knife Set

By:

Meathead

Machine washable professional Brazilian steak knife set hand selected by Meathead.

Bright And Bold Chimichurri Sauce Amps Up Your Grilling Game

By:

Meathead

Our mouthwatering chimichurri sauce recipe is the perfect way to liven up grilled beef, chicken, fish, and more. In addition to the traditional Argentinian combination of fresh parsley, olive oil, garlic, and salt, our recipe takes it over the top with the addition of bright and lively lemon juice.

Reverse Sear, Grilling Temps, When To Cook Hot & Fast, When To Cook Low & Slow, And When To Do Both

By:

Meathead

What is the right cooking temperature for barbecue? It depends. Not all food should be cooked low and slow or hot and fast. Sometimes, a combination of both is best, as seen in the reverse sear and in sous-vide-que. Read more about 2-zone cooking and when to grill with the lid up or down for perfectly cooked BBQ.
this item is for members only

The Big Chill: A Trick For Making The Perfect Sous-Vide-Que Steak

By:

Clint Cantwell

Fire meets water with the introduction of the sous-vide-que cooking method. By starting steak in a temperature controlled sous vide water bath, it's rendered perfectly cooked every time. Before hitting the grill, the food is shocked in an ice and water bath to stop cooking so that it can be grilled without overcooking.

The Steak Sauce Recipe That Puts Steakhouse Versions On Notice

By:

Meathead

Say so long to the thick brown steak sauce found at your local grocer and hello to a more flavorful homemade version. Created by cookbook author Brigit Binns, this is the real deal, providing a far deeper, richer, more complex, and bright alternative to A-1 and others. Try it on burgers, meatloaf, and so much more.

Board Sauces Are Incredibly Versatile And Simple

By:

Meathead

A fresh and bright board sauce recipe is a great way to add an additional depth of flavor to grilled steak. A technique that was created by Chef Adam Perry Lang, board dressings feature fresh herbs and olive oil that are painted on the cutting board, allowing the flavors to meld with the meat's juices as it's sliced.

The Rib Cap, The Best Cut On The Steer

By:

Meathead

Along the outside edge of the beef ribeye lies the rib cap or deckle, which is more marbled and flavorful than the ribeye itself.

What’s A Proper Sear And Why Grill Marks Are Overrated

By:

Meathead

Stop trying to get perfect grill marks! Yes, grill marks make us drool, but they are a sign of lost potential. Fact: the most flavorful meat has the most browning across its entire surface, not just a few browned stripes. Let's bust that myth. Read on to find out how to make the most flavorful browned crust on meat.

Myth: Searing Steaks Seals In The Juices

By:

Meathead

Sorry folks: searing meat to seal in the juices is a myth. Of course, searing meat has other benefits, most notably creating the delicious flavors of browned meat! Here are the facts about meat juices, searing, browning, and a better way to sear your meat called the reverse sear.

The Science Of Juiciness, Why Resting And Holding Meat Are Different, And Why It’s Time To Stop Crying Over Spilled Juices

By:

Meathead

Stop worrying about resting meat after it is cooked. Serve it hot. We bust this myth with a review of the scientific research, some tests of our own, some basic meat science, explanations of carryover cooking and what makes meat juicy, a look at doneness temperatures, and how carving comes into play.
this item is for members only

What Causes Some Beef To Have A Liver Flavor?

By:

Meathead

Some steaks have the undertone flavor of liver. There are several factors that cause it.

Bamboo Steak Markers, Ensuring Guests Get The Temperature They Requested

By:

Meathead

I love these bamboo steak markers as they are a great tool when trying to keep track of which steaks are cooked to what degree of doneness. They come in a pack of 500 and include five temperatures: rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well. Unless charred, they can be washed and reused.

Elk Steak Seared In Cast Iron Is As Simple And Delicious As It Gets

By:

Malcom Reed

YouTube BBQ star Malcom Reed joins us again with his super simple, super delicious recipe for elk steak. Season it with salt and pepper, sear it in a cast iron pan over hot coals, then add some butter, garlic, and rosemary, basting the steak with melted butter as it cooks. Doesn't get much easier--or better--than that!
this item is for members only

Caprese Flank Steak Takes The Classic Italian Salad To The Grill

Here is an outstanding recipe for Caprese Flank Steak from Attjack, a member of our Pitmaster Club. This recipe combines a classic Italian Caprese salad with grilled flank steak in a butterflied and rolled steak cut into pinwheels and grilled hot and fast. Salad, meet grill. Grill, salad.

How to Dry Age Steak At Home

By:

Meathead

Here is how to dry age and wet age beef at home and save a lot of money in the process.

Related articles

Published On: 9/5/2019 Last Modified: 4/23/2021


If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and much more!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Click for comments...
Meatup in Memphis

Meatup in Memphis

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker


Green Mountain’s portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?


The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order directly and get an exclusive AmazingRibs.com deal

 

Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps

Amazingribs.com temperature magnet
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.

Click here to order.


Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater


Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy


The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them


Grilla Pellet Smoker proves good things come in small packages

We always liked Grilla. The small 31.5″ x 29.5″ footprint makes it ideal for use where BBQ space is limited, as on a condo patio.
Click here for our review on this unique smoker


Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review