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October 26, 2020

Grilling the Perfect Steak

Posted on June 3, 2010 by in beef

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“How to cook the perfect steak!” Many recipes, books, manuals and online articles have been written on this topic   Still, I come across tough, over-cooked, leather-like pieces of meat, even in so-called Steak houses.
What are the secrets then? Well, I can put your mind at ease..It is not that difficult, if you follow a few of my easy steps….

Choose a good quality meat to begin with.

When you plan to grill some beef, the best choices are the most tender portions, such as porterhouse steaks and rib-eyes, as well as the t-bone and the rump steaks. The meat cut from the tenderloin, such as fillet , is the most tender, but it comes with a loaded price tag.

It is best if you buy your meat a few days before you plan to use it. Storing it in your fridge for a couple of days helps to age it and make it even more tender after its cooked.
The debate over grass-fed against grain-fed will be with us for many more years to come. Try both and see what works for you.

The perfect steak MUST have a layer of  fat. Fat is flavor and if the meat has some marbeling as well, it is even better. The fat melts into the meat while grilling, leaving you with super moist pieces of meat. If you are trying to cut down on fat, cut the fat off after grilling, if you have the will-power to do that!.
Your meat must NEVER be frozen, so before you buy, look for a bright red color and no bloody water in the punnet.
Ask your butcher to cut your meat so that it has an even thickness. This will ensure that the meat cooks evenly.

Method of cooking

You have basically 3 options here.
1.Grilling on the open fire – using charcoal or hard wood
2.Using a gas grill
3.Using your griddle pan on the stove.

I think each method has its place, depending where you are and how many steaks you have to cook. There is something to be said for grilling on an open fire. The smokiness it imparts to the meat, is very hard to beat. It is however a little more complicated to control the heat. It is best to start off with a very high heat to seal the meat and give it a good color. When you turn the meat, move it to a lower heat to cook it to your liking. So if the weather plays along and you have the space, light the fires and start grilling.

Using a gas grill on the other hand is ideal for grilling indoors or if you have to cook steaks for a crowd.Make sure your grill is clean. Last week’s chicken on your steak is not appetizing at all. In fact my children will call it “gross!”.Pre-heat the grill as hot as you can get it. This is important when using gas grills, as they don’t get as hot as a charcoal fire.Lightly oil the grill bars and start grilling.

For a quick weekday treat, nothing works as well as a griddle pan on your gas stove. I can have it sizzling hot in a couple of minutes and my griddle pan can easily handle 4-6 steaks at a time.

These times are only a guide is based on a steak that is about 2.5cm or 1″ thick. Thicker steaks will need a longer cooking time, and  thinner steaks less.
Rare: 1-2 minutes each side – rest for 6-8 minutes
Medium rare: 2-2.5 minutes each side – rest for 5 minutes
Medium: 3 minutes each side – rest for 4 minutes
Well done: 4.5 minutes each side – rest for 1 minute

To season or not?

I think there are definitely two schools about this issue. My father in law swears by marinading their steaks ( I sometimes do too) and my Dad says, season afterwards. If your steak is prime quality, my advise is to stick to the rule “Less is more”. A simple seasoning of salt and pepper and you will have a winner. If however your meat is from an older animal and it is slightly tougher, by all means use this marinading  technique. Seasoning is a personal matter and you have to experiment with flavors you like. I have developed a dry rub recipe that is a huge favorite with my husband and the children.  Lately I have developed a taste for dry coriander and  a light sprinkling of ground dry coriander with the salt and pepper- it’s too delicious!!

Do not touch that steak!

One of the most fatal mistakes when grilling steaks is to start fiddling with the meat  to see if it is done. Leave it alone. Know how thick your steak is and use the above cooking guide to see how long it takes to cook. Turn it once and then another quick turn on each side towards the end. If the steak is still stuck to the grill, it is telling you “I am not ready to be turned over!” Many good steaks are ruined at this crutial point. Be careful!

If you follow these basic steps, you are on your way to becoming a pro at grilling the perfect steak. Experiment with different types of wood, rubs, marinades and even sauces if you like. Find your own personal taste and build on it. Happy grilling!

For some other delicious grilling recipes:

Pork Tenderloin with Coriander

Lamb riblets with Moroccan Spices

Grilled Organic Lamb Chops

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21 Responses to “Grilling the Perfect Steak”

  1. Snooky doodle 3 June 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    yummy steak.

  2. browniegirl 3 June 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    What a beautiful piece of meat Nina and perfectly grilled….yummy! Hugs to you xxx

  3. bellini valli 4 June 2010 at 1:11 am #

    I need all the tips I can get when it comes to grilling steaks Nina. The season is upon us!!!!

  4. Rhyleysgranny 4 June 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Gorgeous pics. and very good tips there. We are having good weather here at the moment. I think I may be doing our Saturday night fillets on the barbeque after reading this. As you say it gives a lovely flavour. Pity we don't often get the chance. It's lovely eating al fresco. Thank you Nina

  5. Marisa 4 June 2010 at 10:01 am #

    Great tips – will definitely be putting them to good use! I am a steak grilling novice. :-/

  6. SavoringTime in the Kitchen 4 June 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    There's nothing better than a steak on the grill in the summertime here and yours looks scrumptious. Great grilling tips.

  7. Jan 4 June 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    What a fantastic looking piece of meat! Nina that looks soooo good!

  8. Junglefrog 4 June 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    Ah that is one gorgeous piece of meat Nina! Delicious!

  9. tobias cooks! 4 June 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    truly looks perfect! good job!

  10. Arnold 5 June 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    When it comes to steak I have very simple tastes. As you mentioned, I too will always start off with a good quality meat, a very hot fire and a bit of salt and pepper after the meat is done.

  11. Peter M 5 June 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Nina, an excellent post with lots of info for all. If I my add, the grill has to be very hot when cooking steaks.

    Your doneness scale for steaks is also very helpful and I like to touch for doneness as well.

  12. Kevin 6 June 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Great tips for grilling steak! The The steak not being ready to be flipped if it sticks to the grill tip also works for cooking most meats in a pan.

  13. mycookinghut 6 June 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Yummy looking steak… to get good quality of beef in London seems like a task… I don't understand why.. they import a lot of fruits from SA I know 😉

  14. fancy 6 June 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    Your pictures make me want a steak. Love your site and happy to have found it.

  15. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen 6 June 2010 at 10:41 pm #

    Looks delicious! Good tips on grilling too! 🙂

  16. polkadotcupcake 8 June 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Nina, what stunning images as always! That steak has me CRAVING a good steak.. yumdelicious! Have to noticed how many people simply cannot cook steak properly? It seems such a waste to cook it until it's stiff and grey!

  17. Pam 8 June 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    That looks like the perfect steak!!

  18. Maggie 9 June 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Mouthwatering looking steak! I really like coriander with black pepper rubbed into steak I'm going to have to try it with pork tenderloin as well.

  19. Anonymous 28 December 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    There is no disputing about tastes.


  20. Yna 21 March 2011 at 9:52 am #

    This is perfect for dinner tonight!Yum!


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