How to Grill the Perfect Steak

Perfect Steak Made With Memphis

Perhaps the most important thing for a grill master to know is how to grill the perfect steak. The list of things you need for this is pretty simple, but each is essential.

The Right Cut of Steak

Finding a good piece of meat can be as important as the way you cook it. The writers over at The Reluctant Gourmet have compiled a comprehensive list of tips for buying a steak. As far as deciding what type of steak to buy we thought we’d highlight some of the more popular steak cuts, and the flavors unique to them

  1. Ribeye – A highly marbled piece of meat that makes it quite possibly the richest cut.
  2. Strip Steak – Moderately tender with fewer pieces of fat than the Ribeye (a favorite of steakhouses).
  3. Tenderloin (Filet Mignon) – Tender and almost buttery in texture; relatively low in flavor.
  4. T-Bone – A combination of the Strip and Tenderloin

For more information on the types of steaks, check out Serious Eats’ article Four Expensive Steak Cuts to Know.

The Right Grilling Method: Smoked or Seared Steak

For our recipes, we like to season steaks with salt and pepper. It’s simple, tried, and effective at producing great steaks. That being said, if you really prefer another rub, feel free to use it.

There are several ways you can cook a steak, and personal preference is important. We here at Memphis are biased toward the reverse sear method, which takes advantage of our pellet grill’s smoking capability, as well as its direct flame setting. For more tips, check out our Memphis Strip Steak: Smoked & Seared recipe.

Directly searing the steak can also be very effective, and the experts over at love any method that sears at high temperatures. Just make sure to keep your meat rotating on the grill and to check the internal temperature for the done-ness you would like. A rare steak will have an internal temperature of 125 F, and a medium-rare steak with have one of around 130-135 F. The Food Network published a great article on internal grilling temperature.

There’s still a discussion among experts on whether or not you should rest your steaks after they are off the grill, and so this, too, is based on personal experience and personal preference. What we do recommend after your steak is off the grill is to add some sea salt to finish the steak and to secure its flavor.

The Right Temperature for Grilling Steak

When cooking your steak, it is very important that you have a grill you can control at high temperatures. A gas grill is never going to get to a high temperature and be easily controlled, so we recommend either charcoal or wood fire pellets to do the job.

We obviously have a bias toward our wood fire grill, and so this week we used the direct flame insert with the Memphis Pro Cart ITC3. Direct flame does a great job of imparting a wood fire flavor and giving your steak a complete sear while controlling flare-ups.