Introduction: Learn to Grill the Perfect Steak Every Time

Picture of Learn to Grill the Perfect Steak Every Time

First thing is first. If possible, do your best to get a decent cut of meat to work with. It should go without saying, but the better your protein the better your dish will turn out. This method will work with many different types of protein, and I have had success with Antelope, Beef, Bison, Deer, Elk, and Pork.

Different cuts of meat require different levels of doneness for both safety reasons and to keep the dish flavorful and juicy. Have fun, and adjust your desired temperatures accordingly.

Step 1: Start Things Off on the Right Foot

Picture of Start Things Off on the Right Foot

Take your steak out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature for about 45 minutes. I like to trim off any silver skin that is easily accessible and will often cut off and discard any excessive bits of fat as well.

Step 2: Now Is the Time to Pre Heat Your Grill and Season the Steaks

Picture of Now Is the Time to Pre Heat Your Grill and Season the Steaks

Get your grill heating up and make some preparations for cooking. Plan on having your grill stabilized at about 350F when you begin cooking.

Start by patting your meat dry with a stack of paper towels. Season your meat about 10 minutes before you begin cooking. I like to use a combination of a pre-made steak seasoning flavored with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and a favorite meat rub that has nuances of coriander, cumin, and coffee flavors. Seasoning is simply a matter of preference and at times salt and cracked black pepper simply works best.

A word of caution to initially be sparing when using seasonings and rubs with salt added. The salt can often overpower the other flavors.

Step 3: Let's Get This Thing on the Grill!

Picture of Let's Get This Thing on the Grill!

1. Insert a digital meat-roasting thermometer halfway up the thickness of the steak and slide it into the meat as close to the center as possible. Because digital meat roasting thermometer probes are often 4 inches or longer, when inserted in the middle and center of the meat, you get a relatively consistent temperature reading throughout.

2. The meat will initially be roasted, and then seared before service. Start by roasting the meat indirectly, or not sitting it directly over the flames until your desired temperature is achieved. My grill does not allow me to easily roast the meat near or next to the flame, so I have found that I can achieve the same effect by raising the steak vertically away from the flame. This allows the meat to roast and heat up without being directly charred until I am ready.

Step 4: Determine Your Desired Amount of Doneness for the Steak

Picture of Determine Your Desired Amount of Doneness for the Steak

The Meat Temperature and Doneness Chart has beef steak cooked medium rare at 135F. Meat will continue to cook after it is off of the heat so I like to roast my steak to about 125F and pull the meat off the grill to rest. Remove the meat thermometer and let the meat rest on a plate, covered with foil for a good 10 minutes. This allows the juices to re-distribute. Crank up your grill to high while the meat is resting.

Resist all temptation to cut into the meat and instead go back to your grill and raise the heat. After the meat has rested, the grill should be between 500 and 600F, an ideal temperature for searing.

Step 5: Now You Get to Play With Your Food a Bit-

Picture of Now You Get to Play With Your Food a Bit-

Searing the meat at a high temperature will give it a beautiful crust, additional grilled flavor, and fabulous grill marks. I hot sear the steaks at the high temperature for about one or two min a side. Be sure to take precautions when searing at the higher temperature. Long tongs and gloves for hand protection are a good idea.

Plate the steak and serve!

Step 6: Clean Out Your Ears, Because Here Come the Compliments to the Chef!

Picture of Clean Out Your Ears, Because Here Come the Compliments to the Chef!

By monitoring the internal temperature of the meat you knowthat it will be cooked to your desired doneness. Allowing the meat to roast slowly enhances the flavor of the meat while keeping it juicy. The reverse sear method takes the guesswork out of grilling the perfect steak. Now if I can just figure out how to pick the perfect glass of wine to go with it.

Want to see more grilling tips, tricks, and techniques? Check out


fixfireleo (author)2014-07-03

i have read it is good to sear the steaks in a cast iron skillet before finishing on the grill or in the oven because it seals in the juices. have you tried this and do you recommend or not? GREAT topic by the way!

Thanks @fixfireleo ! I have tried both ways. A CI Skillet is a great way to make a steak as well. This method of a slower roast and then a raging hot sear allows the meat to take in additional flavor from the hardwood lump charcoal that you cannot get in an oven and will get less of if you sear first. This method IMHO also allows you much more control over your final desired doneness because you are bringing the temperature up slower than normal and monitoring it with the thermometer. If you trust your thermometer (which is SO HARD TO DO) it won't lie to you.

ok, so your method is starting at a lower temp and building to a higher one. now i use propane, so i dont get any hardwood flavors. will this method still work the same way just minus the hardwood flavors or, if you use propane is it better to sear first or not bother doing anything and just toss it on the grill? btw...i like mine medium rare to rare if that matters. thanks for the input, i'm all about a better steak. also, is it just me or is it almost impossible to get a GOOD steak at a steakhouse?!?

ibwebb (author)fixfireleo2014-07-07

fixfireleo: You can go to most any place that sells grills and grill supplies and buy a 'smoker box'. Basically it is a cast iron box with slits in the top. You soak your desired wood chips for 30 minutes (or more) and put them into the box while your are preheating your grill. It really doesn't seem to take to long before you are getting a good smoke going. I got one at Home Depot on clearance last year and have loved it all winter and this summer. I highly recommend it. On clearance it was about $6-7. It looks like it is about $11-12 to get now.

fixfireleo (author)ibwebb2014-07-07

that sounds cool. i use a hibachi though so the grill grate sits right on top of the burner cover. i was looking into a "real" grill but the cost of the grill and the tank, with it only lasting 10 years (have to keep outside so maybe not even that long) it's just cheaper to buy the hibachis that last about 2 years.

vikengineer (author)fixfireleo2016-05-31

I realize this comment comes way too late, but consider getting an old-school Weber kettle (charcoal) grill. They are pretty cheap, durable, and effective. If you think a single kettle lacks capacity, just buy a second one. You'll still be spending less money than on a decent propane grill, yet you will have all that great wood fire flavor at your disposal.

ibwebb (author)fixfireleo2014-07-03

I love to cook and always looking for new way/techniques. With that I have taken a lot of cooking classes since a place near me opened and offers them. I really like theirs because it is actual chefs that are doing the teaching (actually a lot of the better local ones it seems). Anywho, I have had a lot of them tell me that searing it to seal 'in juices' hold no actual truth. As the meat cooks the juices rush toward the middle until they boil/burst out. That is why a more done piece is less juicy most times. They told us that if you let your meat rest for 2-3 minutes before cutting it then the juice returns to all parts. It was recommended that we sear whenever we want, but let the meat rest before you cut it. My experiment to test this proved them right.

fixfireleo (author)ibwebb2014-07-07

yeah i saw that on top chef on tv but it's so HARD not to bite into that steak! lol

ibwebb (author)fixfireleo2014-07-07

I completely agree! Once it is off the grill and heading into the house I just am almost drooling to get into it. I think 2 min is almost torture. LOL

hlanelee (author)2014-07-03

I like to get a good roast and cut my own steaks. Just sayin'

fixfireleo (author)hlanelee2014-07-03

i love the ribeye at costco but they cut them as thick as a full prime rib in of itself!! they have the ribeye roast at the same price. at first, i would buy them and completely butcher (not in the right way) the steaks because the meat is soft and fresh. i found a hint online of freezing the meat just until it starts to firm up. works awesome...cut perfect (more or less) steaks every time! i can get 12 steaks out of a roast the same weight as they cut 4! (btw, if anyone is wondering it's usually about $9/lb at costco)

Tee1up (author)fixfireleo2016-05-30

I second the motion on amazing Costco ribeye steaks.
I stopped serving one per person and started doing that cross-cut thing you see at restaurants and just let peeps chose as much as they want. Everyone ends up stuffed full and I can usually get by with 1/3 fewer steaks at any one cook out.

OMG - that sounded way too much like my Dad.
Never mind.

Never thought of that @fixfireleo. Fantastic tip-

grillingMontana (author)hlanelee2014-07-03

@hlanelee that is a great way to do it! Saves you a lot of money too-

fixfireleo (author)2014-07-03

know what's better than having a STEAK for dinner????

having TWO STEAKS for dinner!!

Or steak and Bacon-


synicasm (author)2014-07-03

Can you Identify the grill you are using.. it looks interesting

grillingMontana (author)synicasm2014-07-03

It is a Big Green Egg. I have a Large and a Small one in this Instructable,

brymon (author)synicasm2014-07-03

Looks like a big green egg grill.

BrianJewett (author)2014-07-03

You can't figure out the perfect wine because the perfect wine for this is beer. ;-)

Beer is the new wine!

MMMMmmmm! Beer!

lindarose92 (author)2014-07-01

This is SO mouth watering...!!

Thank you @lindarose92 !! I hope you give it a shot-

girls cant cook steak on the grill!! I"M JUST KIDDING!! laugh a little!

Suddenly the kale salad I brought for lunch doesn't seem quite as appealing...I want steak!

I am one of the 7 or 8 people left who have not tried Kale. However, I bet it would be pretty good marinated and grilled- All wilted, charred, and delicious!

I do wilted greens in a cast iron skillet on my grill all the time. Usually the very last thing I do, since they cook so quickly. I like to throw some chunks of wood right on the fire to kick up the smoke levels a bit & impart more flavor. Just a little bit of olive oil in the pan, add the greens, stirring gently until they fit better in the pan, add a pinch of salt, stir a bit more, remove from heat and plate. Before serving squeeze just a small amount of lemon juice on top of them to really set it off. Kale would be a PERFECT side for these amazing steaks you're making!

tverstraete1 (author)2016-06-02

I have been using this method with my smoker. I "cheat" with an electric brinkman. I plug in the smoker and soak chips while the steaks are coming up to room temp. Then put the steaks and chips on at the same time. Wait for temp (about 2hours) and then sear. I have never let them rest before the searing, but I am going to try that this weekend! Thanks for the tips!

Tee1up (author)2016-05-30

I like the idea of using the thermometer at the lower/indirect cooking temperatures and then pulling the rip cord and bringing these babies home on high heat. I have a nice metal wrapped temp cord but it could not take the direct heat temps.

Thanks for sharing this.

iFix8 (author)2016-05-30

I've read that fried food has more carcinogens unless you saute first, but I guess them's some good tasting carcinogens.

shermanduke (author)2016-05-29

I like pan frying my steak in as hot a deep cast iron pan as possible. Seasoning starts several days earlier. I also like to lightly bread mine on top when they start to "sweat." I like mine crunchy on the outside and pink in the middle. Let the meat rest at least ten to fifteen minutes. I do one pound cheese burgers the same way. And lots of spicy hot garlic goes on both meats. I don't worry about temperature so much with beef. I'll eat it raw sometimes, but it's from a good source. They age their top steaks for several weeks.

AndrewO4 (author)2016-05-29

The Chuck eye is the best.

windsorbug (author)2016-05-29

to bad it's not cooked through!

Harly9 (author)2016-05-29

Hmmm. Your method is the exact opposite of professionally trained chefs the world over. Interesting.

davorradman (author)2015-02-01

I don't think trimming all of the fat can be good. rendering fat brings more taste.

BenCC (author)2014-08-11

I followed your method and my steaks came out prefect. Every one loved them and that made me look good. Thanks for sharing! ?

abinc (author)2014-07-07

All good information. Thanks to all.

abinc (author)2014-07-07

The Maillard reaction is also known as the "browning reaction" and is why ketchup bottle rims get all icky. So you are saying that the searing reaction adds flavor, and I agree with that. The protein does denature by heat which will change the liquid content. I get that too. As I think about your comment, I suspect that the steak thickness matters: too thin and it just loses as moisture; too thick and it is undercooked center and burned at the outside. BTW, I do have a salamander -- i'm refurbishing it. I'll have to try your method when I can.

jlarsen5860 (author)2014-07-04

nice job on describing the "low and slow" method. I use a two probe method for checking done-ness. It's probably overkill, however, I've found my wireless temp sensor gets me close, but my thermapen gets me to the exact I believe they say 2 seconds. Anyway, nice job.

Thanks for the kind words. The cool thing is that you only need to get "close" with the probe because it will carry over temperature to as much as 8-12 additional degrees. And that is pre sear-

You are right on. Using a thermapen or other digital thermometer just feeds my "anal-ism". I blame, as well has my parents for my attempts at being as accurate as possible. I do interior work and if I am off by 1/8" I notice immediately. In my industry 1/8" is the tolerance. I went to metrics so I could go to 1mm tolerance. This way I feel that if I'm off just a smidge, it will still be better than the 1/8". But I digress...

If you haven't already checked out the above site, please do so. And I will pass yours on to others like me (anal or otherwise) who enjoy grilling and smoking and constantly tweak our cooking systems in order to keep from going to therapy.

Best wishes!

arete01 (author)2014-07-02

it looks tasty!

please, what is in the plate in your last photo?

grillingMontana (author)arete012014-07-02

@aewte01 If you mean the first image on a red plate with a potato? It is phyllo wrapped asparagus. It is insane! Let me know if you want to know how to do that one- :)

rlove4 (author)grillingMontana2014-07-04

It all looks delicious grillingMontana, thanks for sharing. I think arete01 is asking about the selection on the green plate - I'd like to hear about your phyllo wrapped asparagus though. I saw a guy on Youtube the other day doing asparagus wrapped in bacon - looked fab.

grillingMontana (author)rlove42014-07-07

The green plate was Beef Tenderloin, seared scallops, Alaskan king crab leg, and Pendelton Whiskey mushrooms. Making phyllo wrapped asparagus is about 5-8 layers of phyllo coated in butter and seasoned with either a rub, or herbs between layers. I then grill for about 15-18 min raised, over indirect heat or until golden brown and delicious.

billbillt (author)arete012014-07-03

Looks like a snow crab leg to me.... YUM

zanybrainy (author)2014-07-04

Don't have your new significant other's parents over and try this for the first time. A grill is like a lover. You have to learn its hot and cold places and how much to fuss with it to get a good meal.

My advice, get your stuff together, start here, and then modify how you cook to make a steak that makes you happy. You can't learn to grill without getting something hot!!!

Thanks for your feedback @zanybrainy. The temperature probe and monitoring internal temperature however takes the guess work out of the process. This instructable was meant for someone (man or woman) to come off the bench and make the perfect steak by following the process.

t.rohner (author)2014-07-03

Looks delicious

If you have a really good piece of meat, don't season it.

After grilling like you do it, only add some sea salt (and if you like, freshly ground black pepper.)

I'm not the big grill master, but this way the meat taste really comes out and it also seems to dry out less.

Keep on grilling

About This Instructable




More by grillingMontana:Learn to Grill the Perfect Steak Every TimeKeeping the House Chill- Pizza on the Grill!Best Ever Sweet Onion Rings On The Grill-
Add instructable to: