Oh wise and woolly Tailgate Master… What temperature do I cook steak on the grill? How long do i grill steak for? How do you cook a perfect steak on a gas grill? How do you cook a really thick steak? What is the best cut of steak to grill in the backyard? How do you cook a ribeye, sirloin or T-Bone steak? What is the best D.I.Y. methods for grilling the best cuts of steak? How do I know when grilled steak is done?

I have been asked all these questions and more…. so I am using this post to answer them.

If i am being honest, I have to say that I’m just glad they didn’t ask about the whole “wild and woolly” thing. Also… those rumors about myself and sheep are completely unfounded. Actually… cut that sentience out. There were no sheep. I have never been woolly. Heck that one sheep and I were just really good friends. Why are you still writing this down? Can we just get back to tips and tricks about grilling the best steak on game-day? Yes? OK? Awesome… let’s get back at it.

TIP #1 = Buy the best quality of beef you can
We recommend that you buy the highest quality grade of beef that you can get your ever grill-loving-hands on. A better quality grade of beef means a better quality end product for your guests. So the next question that you will most likely ask is “What Do USDA beef grades – Prime, Choice, Select – actually mean?”

Well, it turns out that the USDA grades are based on three basic criteria: tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.

USDA Select beefUSDA SELECT:
The lowest of the three grades we recommend, this grade is typically very uniform in quality and normally leaner than the higher grades. The meat is fairly tender, but, because it has less marbling, it may lack some of the juicy awesomeness and flavor when compared to CHOICE or PRIME. Steak cuts such as loin, rib, sirloin, can certainly be cooked without some sort of marinade, but for best results, other cuts of beef should be marinated.

USDA Choice beefUSDA CHOICE:
Choice grade is still of high quality, but has a bit less marbling than Prime. Choice grade steaks are cut from the loin and rib. They are very tender, juicy, and have pretty darn wonderful flavor. These cuts (with a little bit of spice) stand up quite well on their own without having to add any sort of marinade.

USDA Prime beefUSDA PRIME:
Make sure to make friends with your local butcher shop people because PRIME grade steaks are harder to find in your local supermarkets. Only the best and brightest super-cows who work out to Rocky II video montages can ever hope to be chosen to become PRIME beef. And I just want to say that I appreciate their dedication and drive. PRIME is indeed the top of the line when it comes to rating beef in America. All prime steaks have wonderfully abundant marbling (think of marbling as packing in flavor). If you can get this cut of steak….get it!

TIP #2 = Prepare Your Grill
Don’t skip the basics, make sure to prep by cleaning and pre-heating your grill. If using a charcoal grill, make sure you dump all excess ash before staring a new grilling session. Excess ash and charred remnants can block vents an cause uneven cooking. Next, make sure to clean your grates. Using a stiff wire brush to clear any rust or residue off your grill grates is a very good idea. Light the charcoal or turn on the burners and let the grill warm up to temp before adding your steak.

TIP #3 = Oil The Grates
It is quite important to make sure your grill is clean and the grates are oiled and ready to receive your gift of meat. Wad up a paper towel and, using your favorite pair of tongs, dip it in some canola or vegetable oil. Then use the tongs to thoroughly coat the cooking grates. If you are out of oil, cut an onion in half and with the help of a fork, use the flat side of the onion accomplish this same process.

steak seasonings should be added to your steak before grilling

Add seasonings at least 40 minutes before grilling

TIP #4 = Season Well Before Grilling
Should I allow the steak to warm to room temp before placing on grill? People say this all the time… heck, even I say this, but not for the reason you think. Yes, having your meat out of the cooler an hour or so before does indeed let the core warm up (although only slightly and will not really affect the flavor). A better reason to get the meat out early is to get those spices on it well before you cook it. Pat your meat dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture then apply your spices. I want the seasonings that I love to have AT LEAST 40 minutes on the meat before placing on the grill. Heck, putting your spices on the day before you are going to do your grilling is certainly not a bad thing. Giving your spices this extra time to soak into the meat a bit will make for a steak that is more tender and moist when you cook it.

grilling low and slow makes for tender grilling steaks

I love to cook LOW and SLOW

TIP #5 Learn to Reverse Sear
For years we have heard SEAR THE JUICES IN. Well, you can of course do what you want, but I have had much better results using the Reverse Sear Method which is essentially cooking the steak low and slow until it is about three quarters of the way done, then sear both sides using your sear burner or area of the grill with the hottest coals. Then remove from hot area and bring it up to temp.

grill the steak first, seer when you are almost done

Grill First – Seer Last

TIP #6 Use a Digital Thermometer
How do I know when my steak is done? The only perfect method is to use a thermometer to test the inside temp. Sure… you can guess but we are talking about how to grill the PERFECT steak, so invest in a digital thermometer and make sure it is on your tailgating checklist. Test the internal temperature as measured in the middle of the steak. The USDA recommends that you cook to 145 F and then allow to rest for at least three minutes.

RARE = 125 degrees F
MEDIUM RARE = 130-135 F
MEDIUM = 140-145 F
MEDIUM WELL = 150 F
WELL DONE** = 155-160 F

**(IMPORTANT NOTE: If someone asks you to cook the steak well done… just make ’em a hamburger instead. Seriously! Why in the billyheck would they want to destroy the flavor and awesomeness of a good steak by overcooking it? Next they’ll be asking you to top it with a whole bottle ketchup. SHEESH!)

TIP #7 Let The Steak Rest After Grilling
Don’t just cut into a steak that’s hot off the grill. Remove from grill then cover and it rest 5-8 minutes. During this process the steak’s the juices will redistribute back through the meat and the steak will actually rise in temperature for a bit (about 5 more degrees in that 5-8 minute rest window) and end up being even more tender.

steak on the grill

Look at the juices…. NOM NOM NOM

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