How to Grill the Perfect Steak

Celebrity Chefs, Cook, Grilling Tips, How-To, Learn, Video

If you’re like many of us here at Williams-Sonoma, one of the first things we throw on the grill when the weather gets warm is a big, thick steak. We asked grilling guru, Fred Thompson, to share his secrets to grilling it perfectly.  Watch the video and your steaks are guaranteed to be a hit this summer!



Aside from burgers and hot dogs, steaks hit the grill more often than just about anything else. I grew up eating a grilled steak every Saturday night, and sitting down to a good steak once a week is still part of my routine. Why? Because it’s just doggone good eating. Here are some tips on how to cook the perfect grilled steak.


Buy good meat
Grass-fed and grass-finished beef tastes better and has a bolder flavor that holds up particularly well against the lick of the grill’s flames.


Simple seasoning
I sprinkle steak liberally on both sides with salt and pepper when I take it out of the refrigerator, which seems to help it form a nice crust over the fire. Chefs have different opinions about salting. Some salt a steak the night before, some after the steak is cooked. I have tried both, and I find that my way still works best. I also like to brush steaks on both sides with a little olive oil (not extra virgin). This facilitates the heat transfer, so you get an evenly browned crust and a delicious steak house flavor.


Timing is important
There’s nothing worse than a rubbery, tasteless, overcooked steak. Professionals use touch to gauge doneness, and so can you. Touch your index finger to your cheek. When the meat feels this way, the steak is rare. Touch the tip of your nose. That firmness equates to medium. Your forehead is well done. But please don’t go there.


Let it rest
If you cut into a piece of beef as soon as it comes off the grill, you will lose precious juices. Give the proteins in the steak the opportunity to unwind a little bit from the heat they have just experienced. Let most steaks rest for at least 5 minutes—10 minutes is even better—to give the juices time to redistribute evenly throughout the meat.

For more secrets, hints and tips to great grilling, check out Grill Master at your local Williams-Sonoma store.

2 comments about “How to Grill the Perfect Steak

  1. Nick SF

    Nice to see a simple, to-the-point guide on grilling steaks. For good steaks S&P and OO is all you need.

    Also, isn’t it also true that the grill must be preheated really well? And that the steaks should not go straight from the cold fridge to the BBQ without resting at room temperature for at least 10-15 minutes?

  2. James Schend

    Hi Nick, yes, you’re absolutely correct on all counts. I always try to heat my gas grill at least 15 minutes prior to putting anything on it. And any meat should be brought to room temperature before cooking, whether on the grill or any other way. If you don’t, the outside of the meat tends to dry out before the interior cooks.

    Also, the best tip I can share with you for grilling is to make sure your grill grate is as clean as possible. If it’s not, everything will stick to it no matter how much oil or cooking spray you put on it.

    For more tips on grilling, check out our new Grilling Guide.


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