Many people struggle with grilling steaks, on both gas and charcoal grills. While it may seem like it is impossible to cook a good steak on the grill for someone who is inexperienced, the truth is anybody can make a good steak dinner without any real knowledge or training as long as the right conditions are there.
I know what I know about grilling steaks from my experience in working at a few steakhouses. At one restaurant where I worked, all you did was throw the meat on the griddle, sprinkle some salt and pepper on it, and wait until it was about 95 degrees, flip it, and then cook to whatever desired doneness the person wanted. High school kids who never cooked anything before were making $30 filets for people and no one would ever guess that someone totally inexperienced was making their dinner.
At the second restaurant I worked at, they actually had a pretty unique concept where the customer cooked the steak themselves. It was pretty neat – you had a giant griddle station, you grabbed your choice cut out of the refrigerator, and then went to town. People who had never cooked a steak before were making delicious wonderful dinners!
If someone completely inexperienced can make a great dinner in the right environment with the right tools, you can definitely cook a great steak on your gas grill at home! All you need is the right set up and equipment and you will make them perfect every time!
Here are our best gas grilling steak tips:
1. Choose Your Cuts Wisely: Many people do not know what to look for when choosing their cut of meat. There are many choices, and at the grocery store it can be confusing. For example, do you know the difference between a ribeye and a sirloin steak? There are also different grades of meat – a prime steak will have a lot of marbling (white streaks of fat) where a select cut will have very little fat. The more marbling in general means the more tender the cut will be. Once you know which kind you like the best, you’ll be much more satisfied with your grilling. Also, keep in mind it’ll be harder to cook a thick steak than a thin one – at most go for a steak that’s 1 and a half inches thick – and thicker than that, unless you want it very rare and black on the outside and you’ll want to butterfly it. (Basically slice lengthwise to make it thinner)
2. Fire Up the Grill: You want your grill to go as hot as you can get it. Make sure you follow all safety recommendations that come with your gas grill. Let it get good and hot before cooking on it – 15 minutes if you’re starving and in a hurry, 30 minutes if you’ve got the patience and time. Most restaurants have their griddles anywhere between 500-1000 degrees. That’s HOT! And it may not even be safe if you get your grill that hot, but it gives you an idea to get it nice and hot!
3. Season Sparingly: You can marinade your steaks or season with your favorite steak seasoning, but generally a little salt and pepper is really all you need. You’ll want to pull the steaks out of the fridge around the same time you initially fire up the grill and let it come to room temperature. Make sure you wipe off any excess marinade if you used it – this will only make it drip down on the grill and flame up.
4. Get Your Handy Dandy Meat Thermometer: You probably don’t have a handy dandy meat thermometer yet…but if you plan on cooking any meat more than once a year, it’s worth the small investment of $10-$20. If you’re spending that much for a nice cut of meat to grill, you owe it to yourself to get one and cook like a pro! Get One Here.
5. Have Everything Ready: The worst thing you can do when grilling a steak is leave it unattended. Not only does this make it possible to overcook the steak or burn it, but it’s also a very big no-no when it comes to fire and grill safety. So, while your grill is heating up, make sure you’ve got the steaks ready, a plate to put the steaks on when they’re done cooking, tongs, a flipper, oven mitts, and whatever other crucial grilling supplies you might need on hand.
6. Ok, Now We’re Ready To Cook: It’s very easy once you’re at this point. Stick that steak on your nice hot grill and let it cook for about 3-5 minutes and then flip it over. Cook it for another 3-5 minutes, and check the temperature. If you like your steaks rare or medium rare (between 115-125 degrees) there’s a good chance it’s done already. If you’re a medium well person though, you’ll need to flip it for another three minutes for both sides, making sure you check the temperature regularly. Be careful not to over flip your steak – this is one of the most common mistakes. You should never flip a steak more than three times as a general rule. A medium steak is around 135, a medium well steak around 140-145 and anything more than that and most people would say you are not worthy to eat a steak. (Though, I like my steaks well done, so if you do like a well done steak, then it’s okay. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, cooking a well done steak is actually a lot harder than cooking it rare – so you should be quite proud of yourself if you can cook a good well done steak!)
7. Watch Out for Those Flames!: It’s easy when grilling just about anything for fat to drip down and cause flames to start shooting up. You can either use tongs and move the steak to a cooler end of the grill, or have a little bottle for spraying water on hand to shoot those flames out. (Though be warned – the water may cause the flames to get bigger before they go out!)
8. Take Your Steak Off the Grill: After you take your steak off the grill, the next step is to put it on a plate and cover either with foil or put a big metal lid over it. This will help heat up the center a little while the steak continues cooking without really affecting the overall cooking too much. After about 5-10 minutes of waiting, you’re ready to enjoy and devour all your hard work.
That’s it! Now you can enjoy your steak and your friends and family can be in awe and wonder at your newly found mad grilling skills.
Do you have any gas grilling steak tips? Share them in the comments below.