How to Grill Steak

Learn the simple tricks for how to grill a perfect steak every time, including a guide to steak cuts and a foolproof way to tell when your steak is cooked just right. We're also willing to share some of our favorite grilled steak recipes so you can test out our tips right away.

Steak Cuts Sampler

Peppered Beef Flank Steak with Grilled Corn Relish

A great steak starts with good-quality meat. Buy the best meat you can afford from a vendor you trust.

  • Chuck: Most cuts in this section are considered a bit too tough for grilling. One exception is the flat iron steak.
  • Rib: This section offers tender, full-flavor cuts, such as ribeye and prime rib steaks.
  • Short loin: Some of the most tender steaks for grilling come from this section, including the porterhouse, T-bone, filet mignon, and top loin (strip) steaks.
  • Flank: This is the belly area, which produces flank, skirt, and hanger steaks. These should be tenderized before grilling.

Get the recipe for Peppered Beef Flank Steak with Grilled Corn Relish

Step 1: Readying your steak

Assorted steak cuts ready to season
  • Use a paper towel to dry off each steak. The towel soaks up the surface moisture so the meat can get a nice sear or browning on the surface.
  • Trim excess fat that could cause flare-ups while cooking.
  • If you like, to boost the flavor before cooking, make a steak marinade for grilling and marinate for 4 to 24 hours, season with a spice or herb rub, or simply cover with olive oil, salt, and ground black pepper.

Step 2: Grilling to perfection

Grilling steak
  • Steak doneness is a personal preference. When grilling for a group, stagger when you put the steaks on the grill, starting with steaks to be served well-done and ending with steaks to be served rare.
  • Fail-proof doneness test: Shake out your hands, then touch your thumb to your index finger. With your other hand, feel the soft part of your hand just under the thumb—that's what a rare steak feels like. Now move your middle finger to touch your thumb and feel the same part of your hand—that's medium rare. The ring finger-thumb combination represents medium doneness, and the pinky finger-thumb represents well done.
  • You can also use an instant-read thermometer to test doneness. Cook medium-rare steaks to 145 degrees F and medium steaks to 160 degrees F.
  • When cooking steaks over hot coals, turn them only once and avoid unnecessary poking and prodding, which can cause the juices to drain out.

Direct Grilling: For a charcoal grill, place steak on the grill rack directly over medium coals. Grill, uncovered, to desired doneness, turning once halfway through grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place steak on the grill rack over heat. Cover the grill.)

Indirect Grilling: For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above drip pan. Place steak on the grill rack over the drip pan. Cover and grill to desired doneness. (For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Turn off burners directly below steak.)

Step 3: Serving the steak

Grilled Ribeye Steaks with Smoked Tomatoes
  • Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes after grilling and before cutting. This helps keep the juices from escaping the meat as soon as it is cut.
  • A perfectly grilled steak needs no embellishment, but you can dress it up if you want with a bit of herb-flavored butter, purchased steak sauce, or homemade sauce.
  • Serve steaks with steak knives or other knives that are sharp enough to easily cut through the meat without tearing it.

Get the recipe for Grilled Ribeye Steaks with Smoked Tomatoes

How to Grill Filet Mignon

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When grilled steak just won't cut it, grill filet mignon for a meal that's extra special. Let's face it, this ultra-tender grilled beef deserves to be the star of the show. Follow these instructions for grilling filet mignon:

  • For a charcoal grill, place the meat on a grill rack directly over medium coals; grill uncovered.
  • For a gas grill, preheat the grill; reduce the heat to medium. Place the filet on the grill rack over the heat. Cover the grill.
  • Use the following timings for how long to grill filet mignon, and turn once halfway through the grilling time:
    • For a 1-inch cut, grill 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees F) or 12 to 15 minutes for medium (160 degrees F).
    • For a 1-1/2-inch cut, grill 15 to 19 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees F) or 18 to 23 minutes for medium (160 degrees F).
  • Transfer the meat to a platter. Cover the meat with foil and allow it to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Get the recipe for Grilled Filets with Whiskey Butter and Potato-Onion-Mushroom Stacks

How to Grill Flank Steak

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Grilled flank steak is delicious all on its own, but it can also be a tasty filler for tacos and steak sandwiches. It's best when soaked in a steak marinade before grilling, so be sure not to skip that step in your recipe.

  • To marinate: Trim fat from steak. Score steak on both sides by making shallow diagonal cuts at 1-inch intervals in a diamond pattern. Place meat in a self-sealing bag set in a shallow dish; set aside. Pour desired marinade over meat in bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or as long as your recipe calls for. Drain meat and discard marinade.
  • For a charcoal grill: Place meat on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 17 to 21 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 145 degrees F for medium-rare doneness, or 160 degrees F for medium doneness.
  • For a gas grill: Preheat gas grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place meat on rack over heat. Cover and grill, following the same instructions for grilling on a charcoal grill.
  • Thinly slice meat against the grain to serve

Get the full recipe for Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

How to Grill New York Strip Steak

New York Strips with Gorgonzola Butter

Serving up a New York strip steak might sound fancy, but it's much simpler than you think. Try serving with compound butter and thick-cut fries for a hearty, mouthwatering meal. Follow these instructions for grilling:

  • For a charcoal grill: Grill steaks on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals to desired doneness, turning once halfway through grilling. Allow 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees F) or 12 to 15 minutes for medium doneness (160 degrees F).
  • For a gas grill: Preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place steaks on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as directed above.

Get the full recipe for New York Strips with Gorgonzola Butter

How to Grill Tri-Tip

Tri-Tip Roast with Grilled Avocados

Want to know our secret for grilling tri-tip? It's all about the three-step process—start with a dry rub, then baste, and finish by smoking the meat for unbeatable flavors.

  • For smoking, soak wood chips in enough water to cover them for 1 hour.
  • Trim fat from roast. Place roast in a shallow dish. Generously sprinkle desired rub evenly over all sides of the roast; rub in with your fingers.
  • For a charcoal grill: Arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Drain wood chips and sprinkle over the coals. Test for medium heat above the pan. Place roast on grill rack above the pan. Cover and grill to desired doneness, turning once halfway through grilling and brushing with desired baste mixture three times during the the first 30 minutes of grilling. Allow 35 to 40 minutes for medium-rare (135 degrees F) or 40 to 45 minutes for medium doneness (150 degrees F).
  • For a gas grill: Preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Add wood chips according to the manufacturer's directions. Place roast on grill rack over the burner that is turned off. Grill as directed above.
  • Remove roast from grill. Cover roast with foil; let stand for 15 minutes. The temperature of meat after standing should be 145 degrees F for medium-rare or 160 degrees F for medium. To serve, cut roast diagonally against the grain.

Get the full recipe for Tri-Tip Roast with Grilled Avocados

Check out more of our tips for how to cook tri-tip!

How to Grill Ribeye Steaks

Ancho Prime Rib with Grilled Mango Butter

For super flavorful rib steaks, don't be shy with your seasoning. Vigorously work your rub into the steak so it forms a thick coat—this way, while your steaks are grilling, the spices will mix with the juice to make a savory, caramelized crust.

  • Brush both sides of steaks with oil. Sprinkle with desired seasoning and rub in with your fingers.
  • For a charcoal grill: Arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Place steaks on grill rack over pan. Cover and grill to desired doneness, turning once halfway through grilling. Allow 25 to 30 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees F) or 30 to 35 minutes for medium doneness (160 degrees F).
  • For a gas grill: Preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Place steaks on grill rack over the burner that is off. Cover and grill as directed above.
  • Remove steaks to a serving platter. Cover with foil; let stand for 15 minutes. Cut steaks into serving-size pieces.

Get the recipe for Ancho Ribeyes with Grilled Mango Butter

How to Grill Skirt Steak

Skirt Steak Tacos with Guacamole and Lime Crema

The most important part of serving skirt steak actually comes after grilling. Always cut skirt steak thinly against the grain for buttery, tender meat.

  • Season steak as desired, and marinate, if desired.
  • For a charcoal grill: Grill steak on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for about 4 minutes or until steak is lightly charred, turning once halfway through grilling.
  • For a gas grill: Preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place steak on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as directed above.
  • Remove steak from grill. Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Coarsely chop steak, slicing against the grain.

Get the recipe for Skirt Steak Tacos with Guacamole and Lime Crema

How to Grill Flat Iron Steaks

Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with Chimichurri

Also known as top blade steak, flat iron steaks are very similar to flank steaks. This steak is at its best when you season with a sprinkle of spices and serve with plenty of zippy sauce.

  • Season or marinate steaks as desired.
  • For a charcoal grill: Grill steaks on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 7 to 9 minutes for medium-rare (145 degrees F) or 10 to 12 minutes for medium doneness (160 degrees F), turning once halfway through grilling.
  • For a gas grill: Preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place steaks on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as directed above.
  • Serve steaks with desired sauce.

Get the recipe for Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with Chimichurri

Our Favorite Steak Recipes

Ribeye Steaks & Peaches, peaches, steak, fruit

You can grill these steaks or not, but all of these easy steak recipes will be hits at your dinner table.

Ribeye Steaks and Peaches

Our Best Grilled Steak Recipes

Steak and Herb Tacos

Rosemary Porterhouse Steaks with Olive Mayo

Scandinavian Steak and Potatoes

More Tips and Tricks For Cooking Steak

Finding the best steak for grilling starts at the grocery store—follow our guide to choosing a steak to pick the best one. And if you're getting tired of grilling steak, just check out our tips for cooking steak in the oven or smoking food to put a new twist on your grilled beef.

How to Choose a Steak

How to Cook Steak in the Oven

How to Cook Tri-Tip

Learn How to Smoke Food

How to Cook Filet Mignon

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