I am currently in my 40s, and I have spent numerous weekends experimenting on the grill trying to duplicate the flavor of my favorite restaurant foods. One item that I only recently mastered is the king of all weekend barbeques, the steak. As it turns out, grilling the perfect steak is actually quite simple with a little practice.
Start with your favorite cut of meat. I prefer the Ribeye steak to any other cut because properly chosen it is not too expensive and has a wonderful flavor. No matter what type of steak you choose I would recommend a cut at least 3/4″ to 1 inch thick. When you purchase the steak, be sure to pick one with good “marbling”, a term used to describe the lines of fat visible on the surface of the meat. Too much marbling means too much fat but just the right amount will make a great steak since the fat holds a large amount of the flavor we all love.
If you’ve purchased good meat, you really don’t need to add a lot of seasonings to make it better. I’ll rub a small amount of olive oil on the steaks to prevent them from sticking to the grill and then pour a little melted butter on them. The only seasoning I use is a meat tenderizer that we discovered at the local Family Dollar store. I don’t know if it tenderizes the meat but it tastes good so I sprinkle a little on top of the oil and butter. You should experiment with different seasonings but I would avoid using more than one at a time so you don’t alter the taste of a great steak too much.
After you have the oil and butter on the steaks, its time to get the grill ready. A charcoal grill is my preference but gas will work if it’s all you have. You should really consider buying a charcoal grill if you don’t have one; I recently threw away or sold all of my gas grills because I find that charcoal grilled food has a much better taste. The type of charcoal you use is also important; hardwood lump charcoal is the best because it is simply natural hardwood that has been partially burned. It is the closest thing you can get to cooking over a campfire and it is all natural. Avoid using lighter fluid to start the charcoal since this may affect the taste of the meat.
Whatever type of fuel you use it is important to get the grill surface very hot. Timing the charcoal is another art that will require a little experimentation to get perfect. You want the coals to be covered in white ash but if it is dark outside they should be glowing red. You can partially close the lid to view the red embers on a sunny day. Don’t get in a hurry; the steaks only take a few minutes to cook so it’s better to wait until the coals are hot before you add the meat.
Once the grill is hot, it’s time to add the meat. Place the steaks directly above the heat (coals or flame) and close the lid. Closing the lid will reduce the amount of oxygen in the grill and therefore prevent any large fires from starting due to the fat as it drips from the steaks. If the grill is hot enough, the steaks should sizzle as soon as they touch the surface. If you don’t hear anything, the grill was too cool. After about 1 minute, turn the steaks but leave directly above the heat. This is called searing and it will help keep the juices in the steak.
Now you need a clock. Depending on the thickness of your meat and how you like the meat done, you need to cook each side about 5 minutes. Timing is critical and using a clock will help you make steaks consistently perfect each and every time because you will know how to adjust cooking times for different thicknesses. Be sure to keep the lid closed after turning to allow the smoke to permeate the meat. Remove and serve immediately with baked potatoes and Texas toast for a great meal everyone will love!