Cooking the Perfect Steak on Charcoal Grill




Steaks are anything but cheap. So when I decide that I want to have one, I would like it to be prepared perfectly. When it comes to grilling steaks there are only two real options for doing it, one is using a propane grill and the other is to use a charcoal grill. Propane is a good option but if you don’t have it, charcoal is great for people who don’t want to spend that much money or for tailgating. Although I prefer to use charcoal grills because it will give your steak a more smoky taste to it that you can’t get from a propane grill.

In this Instructable I will give you advice and instructions on how to set up, season, and grill the perfect steaks. I will do this in couple of steps in what took me years of experience to get.

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Step 1: Supplies

 To start you will need some supplies

Charcoal Grill – If you don’t have one I would suggest to get one that has a bottom grating that elevates the coals from the bottom of the grill, and also at the bottom has a valve, that will allowing air to come it from the bottom making it easier to start the fire and to cook. I was able to find one at Lowes for 25 dollars

Charcoal –It is the fuel for the fire that will cook your steaks.  I can’t stress enough not to get the cheap stuff, because there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to start the fire with terrible charcoal.

Steak – There are many types of steaks each with different tastes and qualities to them it is all a matter of personal preference which you choose. For first time buyers your butcher will most likely be very helpful. When it comes time to cook make sure the steak is unfrozen. If the Steak is frozen all the cooking times will be off and the outside will burn with inside being raw. The best thing to do if it is frozen let it sit in refrigerator for about a day, if that didn’t do it then the microwave's defrost should work.

Lighter – You will need something to start the fire.

Lighter fluid – This is very useful and highly recommended, but not necessary

Spatula/ Tongs - Need something to flip the steak, because it will be very hot.

Step 2: Seasoning


When the steak is raw and thaw you will want to season it. What seasonings you choose are a matter of personal preference. I would recommend no more than two seasoning types or you may over complicate the taste of the steak. When you put on the season on you should rub it into the steak so it will stick, you will want to do this to both sides.

Step 3: Setting Up the Grill

To start make sure that that both of the valves are open, pour in some charcoal into the grill on top of the bottom grate. Then what you want to do, with the charcoal try to make a pyramid type of shape (note it doesn’t have to be perfect just try to get the general shape). Make it have a base of about ten inches. Then soak the charcoal with the lighter fluid, not too much though. Then carefully light on fire.

When most of the charcoals that start out black become white around the edge, knock over the pyramid with your spatula or tongs then try to spread them evenly throughout the grill. Then put on the top grating for two reasons one to clean it if it’s dirty, and also to heat it up. After most of the charcoals turn white and the flame looks like it disappears then it’s time to cook.

Step 4: Grilling


I can’t give you specific times for cooking there are just too many variables such as thickness of the steak, hot spots on the grill, and how much charcoal you used. But what I can give you good are some good tips and estimated times. First let me start by debunking the notion that some people have that you cook in the flames of the grill. This could not be anymore wrong if there are a lot of flames move your steak and put the top cover on the grill. The best advice is try not to anything else while cooking, and listen you can hear the difference from the cooking sound and when it flames up.

1.       To start you will want to sere the outside of the steak a bit; to do this after the grating is hot put the steak on without the top on for about two minutes on each side.

2.       After you sere each side put the top on for about five minutes on each side. When the top is on it is okay for the grill to start smoking.

3.       Then it is time for the second seasoning, put on more of the same seasoning that was put on while the steak was raw, and then put the lid back on.

4.     Now put the lid back on for about another five minutes.

5.       Now depending on the thickness of your steak, if it's about an inch to an inch and a half thick, cut into it to see if it’s done. If you like it medium to medium rare it will have a little pink to it on the inside. If you like it cooked to well or medium well, and then you will want to cook it until you don’t see any pink inside.

6.       If your steak is thicker turn it and season it again, close the lid and give it about another five minutes. Then do step five.

Now your steak should be done. But these are not exact times, you should always check and make sure you r not eating rare meat, because it can make you very sick.

Step 5: Enjoy and Cleanup Tips


When the steak is done cooking, kill the fire in the grill. To do this you need to close both the top and bottom valve. That will coke the fire eventually extinguishing the flame. It will take time for it to cool down; this is generally when I eat. After about an hour of it cooling check on the grill. It should be cool, to test this tap the side lightly (be very careful not to hurt yourself). If you can keep your grill outside in a permanent place such as a balcony or backyard you can reuse some of the charcoal. If you don’t I pour some water on the coals to make sure the coals are not hot then I put them in a bag and dispose of them, than you can bring your grill inside.

Thank you for your time and I hope you found this instrucable helpful; remember though practice will make your steak perfect.

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    13 Discussions

    Naw Soe MyaT

    3 years ago

    I will following this way at my home.

    delicious! Thank you.


    3 years ago

    Not bourbon, that is a sin. Sip it while cooking the steak.

    those steaks look great. personally i like them cooked that way. my personal choice is to use natural charcoal and i avoid starter fluid. i think alcohol is good substitute.

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    The best investment you can make is an instant digital thermometer to determine how well you wish to cook your steaks; IT'S A MUST!!!!


    4 years ago

    Just used this method. My steak was delicious! Thank you.


    4 years ago

    Everything sounds great but from my experience NEVER EVER cut your steak to Check if cause if u do there goes all your juice... An inch steak medium rare is bout 6 minutes a side u just have get to where u know... Also taking this meat out of refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking helps with the cooking process and finally after cooking let your steak rest for bout 5-10 minutes... Will be very juicy and tender


    7 years ago on Step 4

    actually most pork today is safe enough to eat a little pink as long as you get it to the proper temperature on the inside


    9 years ago on Step 4

    Steaks cooked rare are ok its when you dont cook ground beef or chicen and pork thru is when you can get sick.

    Wow Great Recipe, Look Guys, Read Again, It Was 1 To 1.5 Inches Thick, Slow Cooked, Great Color & Mmmm, Great Looking Clear Running Juices, BUT, & I MEAN BUT, NEVER CUT, NEVER, NEVER CUT Let Sit & Rest For A Few, But, Again, ALL Steak Guys Need To Feel The Steak With Your Index & Middle Finger, In The Middle, Before & During Cooking, Trust Me, Feel It And Then Cook It, Feel It As Its Cooking & You Will Know When Its Right To Eat... WE ARE MEN & MEAT EATERS & LOVE FEMALES, Ha., Ha., Ha.,... MasterLarry4u2


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Some people do like their steaks well-done. ;)

    I'm in the medium-rare camp myself, though, so prefer to use an instant-read thermometer and yank the steak at ~135F.