How to Grill the Perfect Steak

How-To, Learn, Tips & Techniques

How to Grill the Perfect Steak

Aside from burgers and hot dogs, steaks are some of the most (deservedly) popular foods to cook on the grill. Here’s how to take yours to the next level, plus our go-to recipe. 


Buy Good MeatBuy Good Meat

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

Season SimplySeason Simply
Sprinkle the steak liberally on both sides with salt and pepper when you take it out of the refrigerator, which helps it form a nice crust over the fire. Also, brush steaks on both sides with a little olive oil. This facilitates the heat transfer, so you get an evenly browned crust and a delicious steak house flavor.
Mind the TimeMind the Time
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 RestLet 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.


T-Bone Steaks with Black Pepper Butter


Skip the steak sauce: A pat of plain or compound butter, like the black pepper butter featured here, is the perfect finish to a nicely-grilled steak. 


For the black-pepper butter:

8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 

2 Tbs. chopped shallots 

1 Tbs. freshly cracked pepper 

1 tsp. steak sauce  

Kosher salt, to taste 


6 T-bone steaks, each about 10 oz. and 1 1/2 inches thick

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

6 Tbs. olive oil


To make the black-pepper butter, place the butter in a small bowl. Using a fork, work in the shallots, pepper and steak sauce, distributing them evenly. Season with salt. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate to harden. Alternatively, spoon the seasoned butter into a rough log shape near one long edge of a 12-by-6-inch sheet of waxed paper. Roll the paper over the butter and press the butter into a solid, uniform log. Continue rolling the waxed paper around the butter and twist both ends to seal securely, then refrigerate. (The butter will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.) 


About 30 minutes before you are ready to begin grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator. Season the steaks generously on both sides with salt and pepper.


Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.


Brush the steaks on both sides with the olive oil. Place the steaks on the grill directly over the heat and cook for about 3 minutes. Using tongs or a wide spatula, rotate each steak a quarter turn (90 degrees) to create crisscrossed grill marks. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, then turn the steaks over. Cook until well grill-marked and cooked to your liking, 5 minutes more for medium-rare, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center of a steak, away from bone, registers 130ºF.


Transfer the steaks to warmed plates. Put a generous pat of the butter on each steak and let the steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.


Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Grill Master, by Fred Thompson (Weldon Owen, 2011).


17 comments about “How to Grill the Perfect Steak

  1. How to Grill the Perfect Steak | Brilliant Barb...

  2. Harvey Schwartz

    Best to put the pepper on after it’s done. Otherwise the pepper burns. Try it. It’s much better.

  3. How to Grill the Perfect Steak | Authentic Chin...

  4. How to Grill the Perfect Steak | Nosh-up

  5. GlockGuy

    Don’t know or care about you! But 30 seconds on one side then another thirty seconds on the other side. And it’s done, Cold Center, no Steak Sauce stab & cut and eat.

  6. Lee t

    A 1 1/2 inch thick t-bone weighing 10 ounces? If it has any amount of tenderloin it would probably weigh well over a pound. I always go for a t-bone with a large tenderloin as that way miter wife gets the tenderloin and I essentially have a bone-in New York steak. Those large t-bones used to be called Porterhouse steaks but I haven’t seen them called Porterhouse lately.

    1. Mike

      A filet up to a certain size makes it a T-Bone. A larger filet portion defines a Porterhouse.

  7. Lee t

    Oops, I meant ‘my wife’ not ‘miter wife’. Be carefully with autocorrect features and always proof your posts


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