One of the most loved and feared selections of meat for grillers everywhere is the Steak. When cooking a steak, many people have narrowed down their fears to two possible outcomes: undercooked or overcooked. For this reason, many novice grillers avoid cooking steak due to the volatility of the end result, not to mention, ruining a steak is not a cheap mistake. We’ve rounded up some of the industry’s top grilling tips and tricks for cooking the perfect steak every single time on your outdoor kitchen in Tampa, FL. Avoid letting your grill and your steak go to waste with these tried and tested grilling techniques.
Meat Selection is Key
If you start with a mediocre product, you’ll end up with a mediocre meal. Choosing meat that is inferior already puts you a step behind in your grilling game. Choose meat that is graded as Prime. This meat has the most marbling (that beautiful interior fat that enhances overall flavor and tenderness). Most meat that you find at the supermarket is only graded as Choice meat. To receive the best cut of beef in your neighborhood, go to your local butcher. Whatever your preference, you’ll want to choose from the following cuts of meat:
- Strip Steak (also known as New York Strip or Top Sirloin).
Seasoning: Over Do It
Well, maybe not overdo it, but make sure to season your meat generously. Grilling aficionado Meathead Goldwyn recommends that you: Season the steak with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon of table salt) per pound of meat and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. “You do not need to rinse off excess salt. It will all be sucked into the meat.” This acts as a dry brine and helps the meat retain its juices as it’s being cooked.
From here, Steve Raichlen or the man who reinvented the modern barbecue suggests, crushing black peppercorns or using your favorite steak rub to spread generously over the meat.
Pro Tip: Add a final sprinkle of finishing salt like Maldon for a mouthwatering crust.
Prep Your Grill
Before cooking your meat, you need to make sure that your grill is prepped and ready to go. Using your Tampa outdoor grill you will want to create two different heat zones. On a gas grill, this is done by turning the heat up on one side for intense, direct heat and leaving the other side turned off, creating indirect heat.
For Thin Steaks
Meat that is is less than 1 ½ inches thick falls into the “thin” realm and should be cooked over direct heat until it reaches the desired temperature for doneness. To cook this pieces of meat evenly, you need to become a “human rotisserie” as Goldwyn so aptly describes it and turn the meat over every minute. Once the meat has reached its target temperature, remove it from the heat and allow it to rest.
For Thick Steaks
Cook thick meat cuts ( over 1 ½ inch thick) on indirect heat until they reach a temperature that is 10-20 degrees less than the desired finished temperature.
Place the meat going in the same direction on the section of your Tampa outdoor grill that is not turned on, then simply close the lid. This creates a type of outdoor oven and allows the heat to circulate around the meat, cooking it evenly all the way through. After about 15 minutes check the temperature of your steak with a thermometer. Looks can be deceiving (the meat will look tan, not brown) so be sure to use a thermometer to avoid over or undercooking your prime grade meat.
Once your meat is at the right temperature, fire up the rest of the grill. Then just like you did for the thin cuts of steak, turn the meat over every minute until you reach your target temperature.
Going Above and Beyond
Many top grill masters believe that meat should be given time to rest in order to achieve maximum juiciness- and we couldn’t agree more. Once you’ve pulled the meat from your outdoor grill in Tampa, allow for five minutes (give or take a few) of rest time before serving.
Now you could just stop right there and have your steak and eat it too, but why not take a couple of extra simple steps to make this slab of meat, that you spent so much time preparing and money on, one of kind? Steve Raichlen encourage grillers to gild the lily, so to speak, with compound butter. Compound butter is simple and ridiculously easy to recreate at home. Simply take room temperature butter, and add in your favorite herbs and spices, as well as pepper, salt, minced garlic, and a little lemon juice. Stir this butter concoction up and store in freezer-safe containers. Compound butter can be used for up to six months after you have made it. When you need to use some, just cut off what you need and put the remainder back into the freezer.
And last, but certainly not least, cut your meat against the grain! This will make even more fibrous cuts like flank steak, seem deliciously tender.
Degree of Doneness
You don’t need to memorize desired doneness temps, just write these down or print them out and place the temperatures in an easy-to-reach spot. (Hint: keep the temperatures and other cooking information near your thermometer).
- Rare: 115°–120°F
- Medium Rare: 120°–125°F
- Medium: 130°–135°F
- Medium Well: 140°–145°F
- Well Done: 150°F and above
Now you are equipped with all the knowledge to grill the perfect steak on your outdoor grill in Tampa. Don’t forget to try some of these delicious sides to complete the perfect meal.