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Grilling the Perfect Steak

I’m going to depart from my usual straight-forward recipe this week and create more of a “how-to” lesson. With Father’s Day just around the corner, you might be thinking about grilling steak for dinner. Follow a few simple steps, and you will get a great-tasting steak.

First, splurge on good-quality meat. This is the time to buy cuts like ribeye, t-bone, or strip steaks. Tenderloin is also an option, but has less fat than the other three. You will find that the other cuts of meat tend to have more flavor for this reason. Look for steaks that are marbled with the fat; this will help keep your steak tender. And while you’re splurging on some good beef, also remember to pick up some kosher salt for seasoning (more on that in a bit). You will want to skip the table salt for this meal.

Second, give yourself a little time. Season your steaks at least an hour ahead of time, and bring them to room temperature by keeping them out (but covered) for about 30 minutes before you grill them.

Third, season simply. The first thing you want to season your steaks with is the kosher salt I mentioned above. Nothing else. Salt both sides of the steak at least 1 hour before you plan to grill them. Why wait this long? The salt will initially draw moisture out of the steaks. If you were to put the steak on the grill about 30 minutes after salting, you would have a tough and stringy steak because the moisture has been pulled out. Wait a little longer, though, and the salt acts as a brine and starts to break down the muscle fibers. This lets the moisture absorb back into the steak, and further tenderizes the meat.

Fourth, prepare your grill for both indirect and direct heat. Place the coals on one side of the grill. This will give you a “hot” and “cold” side of your grill. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats strongly recommends starting with your steak on the “cold” side, then searing at the end. I’ve linked to the article so that you can read why.

A little preparation and some good choices will help you fix the perfect grilled steak. Be sure to browse our side dishes to create your Father’s Day meal!

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