How to Grill Great Steaks

Most steak lovers will agree that one of the best way to cook a steak is on the grill. Old (and not so old) pros can turn out a steak that will make your knees weak when you eat it.

It is not quite that easy for the rest of us. Often the steaks of the uninitiated resemble something better placed in an uncomfortable shoe. How do we move from footwear to feast? It’s simple if you follow these tips and hints.

It begins with your choice of meat. Steaks should be at least 1-inch to 1 1/2-inches thick or more. Sirloin, porterhouse, or filet mignon are some of the best cuts to choose. If you purchase a less expensive cut, be sure to marinade it well before cooking. I can find some very good deals in our market on what they call ‘marinating steak’. It’s pretty brutal to eat unless it’s been very well marinated. If cooked properly it is quite good.

Always trim the excess fat from your steak. This helps prevent flare-ups and, of course, we don’t really need to eat the extra fat now do we? Slash any remaining fat on the steak to prevent curling. (Although, as we just said, we did cut of all that extra fat didn’t we?) Before heating the grill be sure to spray oil or non-stick kitchen spray on it to prevent the steaks from sticking.

Preheat the grill to cooking temperature before you place the steaks on the grill. This will also help prevent sticking and will assure good grill marks (the badge of an expert griller!)

I’m Done but Are the Steaks

Call me paranoid, but I’m one of those people who carry an instant read digital thermometer in his pocket during cookouts. In my humble opinion, it is the only way to be sure that your steak is not only cooked, but safe to eat. Grilling purists are often offended by my reliance on this little bit of technology so I will include a ‘tried and true’ Touch Test to estimate doneness.

I have also included the temperature for those of you who choose to honor my paranoia with a well placed meat thermometer.

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The Touch Test

NOTE: This test requires touching the steak with a spoon or bare finger. If you choose to use your finger, please keep in mind you are sticking it on a VERY hot steak, therefore it will probably hurt if you are not VERY careful — you may wish to wet your finger first.

Be warned, if you are not accustomed to touching hot objects (many cooks and chefs are) then use a spoon.

Meat gives easily when touched, no juices appear on surface.
150° F.
Meat feels firm but slightly springy, and juices begin to appear on the surface.
160° F.
Well Done
Meat is covered with juices and does not yield to pressure.
170° F.

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Finishing Touches

Let the cooked steaks stand for at least five minutes before serving. This allows the meats natural juices to settle. If you do not wait before cutting the steak all of the juices will just run out onto the plate. Steaks are accompanied well by grilled vegetables, salads, and even french fries.

If for some unexplained reason you find yourself with left-over steak you can make sliced steak sandwiches for lunch the next day. Enjoy your grilling season I know I will!

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