Grilling is a largely social activity that is fun and produces delicious food. From an evolutionary perspective, people have been doing it for hundreds of thousands of years
Grilling meat can be broken down into a few essential steps. To start, making a great steak requires a few key things:
Choose Your Meat Wisely
Meat from grass fed cows not only tastes better but is also much better for your health. Grass fed cows get to roam around freely, eat what nature intended them to eat, grow at normal rate, and as a result stay healthy with no need for antibiotics or hormones. Studies reveal that the nutrition profile of grass-fed beef includes significantly more omega-3 fatty acids and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef, one of the best protein foods around, is also higher in precursors for vitamin A and E and cancer-fighting antioxidants compared to grain-fed beef. The meat contains a healthier ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids and more of nutrients in general.
Use A Tried And Tested Cooking Method
Everyone has an opinion on how to make the best steak, there are numerous books, websites and restaurants dedicated to the art of cooking the perfect piece of meat. Today I will explore and explain the method that consistently works best for me, the one I always get rave reviews for.
Practice Makes Perfect
To make a really good steak, every time, you need to practice. This may mean tinkering with your grill, the heat level and where you place the meat until you find the perfect temperature and cooking times for your environment.
Grills, like cars, are very personal possessions and the grill master and grill share a special bond. Therefore, as a novice or veteran grill master yourself, you need to seek out and find your own grill and learn which grill is best for you and your needs.
If you anticipate grilling on a regular basis (that would probably mean than once a week) a gas grill is probably your best choice. They fire up quickly and you can get multiple grilling sessions off of a single propane tank.
Kettle Style Grills
If you are a traditionalist, and like to keep things as simple and pure as possible, a standard kettle charcoal grill is what you should opt for. These iconic grills require a bit more work to get started, but once you fire up those coals, you will develop a whole new appreciation for the art and allure of grilling. Due to their simple construction, these grills are also the most affordable.
Kamado (Egg Style) Grills
If you are the 'go big or go home' type, you may want to explore the kamado style grills. These grills look like big ceramic eggs. Their unique shape and heat retention properties make them the perfect tool for both grilling and smoking.
Once you have your own grill, take the time to read the instruction manual, set it up, and fuel it appropriately (lump charcoal or gas). If you purchased a kamado or kettle style grill, you will need to have a chimney starter. This simple device will allow you to start your coals with newspaper rather than lighter fluid and is an indispensable grilling tool.
Grilling Your Steak
Now that your grill is all set up, it is time to cook. You want to start with something simple, flavorful, and forgiving, and steak checks all of those boxes.
The quality of your steak is paramount, and I suggest a good grass-fed ribeye to start. Ribeye steaks come from the 'rib primal', a cut of beef near the upper rib cage. This part of the cow’s musculature is not overworked resulting in meat that is both nice and tender and well marbled with fat. This marbling gives a ribeye great flavor and also makes it harder to mess up. Other cuts you can use are T-bone, Porterhouse, Sirloin or Filet Mignon (the most tender and usually the most expensive cut by weight). There are other fabulous cheaper cuts for a great steak, use the best cut you can afford.
I have best results with a 'bone-in' steak that is at least 1” thick. Meat with bone in it always tastes better and, in my opinion, little is more stereotypically Paleo than gnawing on a big meaty bone!
Tempering means bringing the steak to room temperature. If you cook your steak straight out of the fridge, you will end up with either burnt outer edges and a raw middle or an entirely overcooked piece of meat. Rub the steaks with pepper and salt (or a steak rub if you prefer). Set aside on a plate for at least 20 minutes if it’s right out of the fridge. The salt will penetrate the beef and as you start cooking the meat, the juices will flow to the middle flavouring the meat inside. When you rest the meat, the juices flow back into the meat again, further developing the flavor of the beef.
When you buy good meat you want to show it off. Rub the ribeye with olive oil and sprinkle it generously with coarse ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. As you get more experienced, or for a different flavor you may consider marinating your meat, but for now, this simple seasoning will serve you, and your guests, the best. Most prime cuts of steak only need the basic salt and pepper seasoning. An elaborate use of spices would only hide their delicious flavor. Use fancy spice mixes and rubs when cooking tougher and less flavorful cuts of steak. Some people like to season their steak long before they cook it, but seasoning it just before is probably the most popular option. I prefer seasoning mine a little earlier.
For those who are inclined, a simple steak rub is easy to make:
In a small mason jar combine the following ingredients and mix thoroughly
· 2 Tbsp. paprika
· 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
· ½ tsp cayenne pepper or ancho chili powder
· 1 Tbsp high quality sea salt
· 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
· 1 Tbsp. onion powder
· ½ Tbsp. garlic salt
Season your steaks with this mixture instead of the salt and pepper.
Prepare Your Grill
Heat your grill to high. Spray or brush with coconut oil and make sure it’s sizzling hot. I prefer my steak done to medium rare so the below cooking times will need to be adjusted if you want yours rare or medium. ‘Well done’ is not an option on my grill.
Use the table below if you prefer your steak done to a different temperature than what I have suggested.
Sear And Rest
After your steak is seasoned and your grill is heated, the only thing left to do is to cook your meat. If using a kettle style grill, you want to wait until the flames have died down and your coals are nice and white with ash. If you are using a gas grill, you want the heat to be 'high', set around 400F.
Place your steaks directly over the coals or right on the grill and let them be. Steak can really be one of the simplest proteins to cook well. For medium-rare, the steaks should go for about 6-8 minutes per side. After the first 6-8 minutes are up, flip the steaks and let them cook for another 6-8 minutes. After that, remove the steaks from the grill, set them on a plate, and let them rest for about 10 minutes covered loosely with aluminum foil. This rest period is critical because it allows the juices in the steak to redistribute through the meat and will keep them from running out onto your plate as soon as you cut into it.
After you and your guests bite into that perfectly seasoned, boldly beefy, and amazingly juicy steak you will all be convinced of your grilling expertise!
How Long To Grill For Your Optimal Done-ness
Medium Well – Well Done