Best Steak Grilling Tips from the Pros

Every meat lover dreams of cutting into a perfectly grilled steak and sharing the experience with friends and family, but they probably don't dream of paying restaurant prices. Instead, save some dough and make your own perfectly grilled steaks at home. With a few tips from the pros, you'll be able to achieve restaurant-quality results without breaking the bank.

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We consulted a couple of experts for their advice on how to achieve consistent, flavorful results every time you hit the grill with some steaks. John Schenk is the corporate executive chef at Strip House Steakhouse, with locations in Houston, New York City, and Las Vegas. Prior to his role at Strip House, he served as executive chef at Monkey Bar and Mad.61 at Barney's New York. His simple, memorable advice will ensure juicy, tender, flavorful steaks each time.

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Jan Birnbaum is the executive chef and co-owner of the critically acclaimed EPIC Roasthouse located in San Francisco. Birnbaum has more than 30 years of experience and currently emphasizes a "no-nonsense approach to food" - making him the perfect man to ask for some "no-nonsense advice." He has helped open a number of well-reviewed restaurants, including Sazerac in Seattle and his own Catahoula in Napa Valley, Calif.

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Armed with the right tips and tricks, you can achieve meat nirvana every time, just like these seasoned pros.

Credit: iStockphoto/ThinkstockMake It Marbled

John Schenk, corporate executive chef at Strip House Steakhouse, says that the best steaks for home grilling are nature's perfectly marbled beef rib-eye steaks or bone-in rib-eye steaks, often called cowboy steaks. The marbling enhances the flavor of these cuts while basting the meat in the cooking process to ensure a juicy steak.




Credit: Hemera/ThinkstockConsider a Marinade

But, if you don't want to spend a ton of money on a pricey cut, consider using a marinade. Marinades work great on cuts like skirt or flank steak since the acid helps break down tough connective tissue.







Credit: iStockphoto/ThinkstockTake Off the Chill

Jan Birnbaum of EPIC Roasthouse says: Always allow meats to rest at room temperature for up to two hours, depending on the size of the meat. Meat, directly out of a refrigerator is typically about 38 degrees. For best results, starting meats on the grill at an internal temperature of 50 to 55 degrees is great. Any internal warmth is better than 38-degree meat. Tempered meat produces a more desirable, even-cooked color and texture. Even a rare steak is better if it is cooked when the meat is not too cold.


Credit: iStockphoto/ThinkstockOil It

Schenk recommends using a canola and olive blended oil to coat the steak before seasoning it. Either an 80/20 or 90/10 blended oil will get the job done. Be sure to lightly coat the steak. The oil will allow the surface to get seared fast, ensuring a juicier final product as well as greatly aiding the charring of the meat's surfaces. Save your expensive olive oils for salads where their subtle flavors will shine brightest.

And here's a neat trick: When oiling the grill, we like to dip a tightly rolled kitchen towel in a shallow container of oil using some long-handled tongs and use it as a swab to quickly and evenly coat the grill. Give it a shot!


Credit: Hemera/ThinkstockSeason Simply

Schenk says a well-marbled steak needs only coarsely ground black pepper and kosher salt to achieve flavor perfection. It really is a case of the sum being greater than the parts. Be sure to season a bit more than you might regularly season a sautéed item, as some of the steak's seasoning will be lost in the grilling process. You want to be sure to have enough on the steak to get the job done.



Credit: iStockphoto/ThinkstockDon't Spare the BTUs

Schenk says it is all about heat. High heat sears the cooking surface of the meat, ensuring a juicier steak and allows the charring to happen. With high heat, one can get a nicely charred rare steak. A little flame is your friend; a lot of flame is a definite concern. Keep two sides of the grill hot and move the steak to the second hot spot if the first grilling area is aggressively flaming up. Dousing with water is a last resort; you want to keep the grill as hot as possible. But if it's between the house going up and a well charred steak, I'd give a nod to keeping the house intact.


Credit: iStockphoto/ThinkstockDon't Flip Out

Schenk also says that flipping the steak too often can sabotage the charring of the meat and eliminate most of the seasoning on the steak. Don't drag the steak over the grill when turning. Pick it up in one motion and place it back with the same motion.





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-Will Budiaman, The Daily Meal


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