How to Grill Ribeye

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Photo by WmJR is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0

Grilled has long been one of the most popular ways to enjoy ribeye steak. This yummy cut of steak is tender and full of flavor, and the grill only enhances its texture and taste. In fact, some say that the grilled sear on ribeye makes it taste even better than it would when cooked on a pan.

Ready to learn how to grill ribeye like a pro? Keep reading this guide. 

Preparing the Grill

The first step of grilling ribeye is preparing the grill to get it nice and hot for a sear. The preparation steps differ depending on whether you have a gas or charcoal grill. With either grill, brush the grill grates lightly with oil before heating.

Gas Grill

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Turn the heat up to high — about 500 degrees — on your gas grill. If your grill offers variable temperatures, turn one side to 500 degrees and the other side to low, or 275 degrees. Allow to heat completely for 3-5 minutes before adding steaks.

Charcoal Grill

Place coals in the bottom of the grill stacked into a mound, which helps distribute the heat throughout the coals quicker. Spray lighter fluid on the coals and light with a match. After several minutes, the coals should turn white, marking them as ready to cook. Evenly move the coals around on the bottom of the grill before cooking.

Alternatively, you can use a chimney starter to light the coals by placing a couple of crumpled pieces of newspaper at the bottom of the chimney starter and coals on top. Light the newspaper with a lighter or match and allow it to sit for several minutes until the coals turn white. 

Cooking Time

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Ribeye grilling times vary depending on the steak’s thickness and your specific grill. The average ribeye is about 1 ½ inches thick. These thicker steaks will usually take between 12-16 minutes to cook to medium-rare. Then, you’ll need 5-10 minutes to rest the steak before eating. 

For a thinner steak that’s about one inch thick, plan on leaving it on the grill for 8-12 minutes to reach medium-rare. For medium or medium-well, you’ll add 1-3 minutes to each time.

Final Temperature

We always recommend medium-rare for best results with this cut, but the following chart outlines the different doneness levels you can achieve with grilled ribeye steak. For each doneness level, be sure to remove the steak from the grill before it reaches the goal temperature, as indicated by the temperature in the middle column.

DonenessTemperature to Remove from HeatFinal Temperature
Medium-rare125-130℉130-135℉
Medium135-140℉140-145℉
Medium-well145-150℉150-155℉
Well-done155-160℉160-165℉

Medium Rare Ribeye

Medium-rare is the ideal goal for grilling ribeye because it gives the fat enough time to break down and distribute through the meat but without risking its tender texture. You’ll get prime flavor and texture in each bite with a perfect medium-rare ribeye.

For this level of doneness, you’ll cook the steak for about 12-16 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into its thickest part reaches 125℉ (130℉ if you’d prefer it to be a little closer to medium). Then, let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes on a plate tented with foil until it reaches a final temperature of 130-135℉. 

Ribeye Grilling Tips

Consider the following tips to grill a perfect and delicious steak every time:

  • Only flip once: Flipping steak too much on the grill can cause it to stick to the grates and not get a good sear on either side. Instead, flip it just once about halfway through the cooking process.
  • Season before grilling: Salt steak generously and let it sit for about 45 minutes before placing it on the grill. This lets the salt create a brine that helps ribeye crisp when cooked. Add a sprinkle of pepper and your other favorite spices right before grilling.
  • Keep a watchful eye: Some grills can be finicky — especially charcoal ones — so keep an eye on your grill and steak to make sure the flames stay steady and your steak isn’t overcooking.
  • Use a thermometer: Use a digital meat thermometer to judge whether your steak is done. Other methods aren’t as reliable for getting your ideal cook.

Choosing the Right Cut

Another crucial piece of the puzzle in grilling a delicious ribeye is choosing the right steak to start with. While you can find some budget-friendly ribeye steaks in your local supermarket, they may not be the high-quality steak you were hoping for.

The best ribeye steaks for grilling are labeled as USDA Prime or Wagyu. USDA Prime is the highest grade ribeye steak can get from the USDA. Wagyu is considered the cream of the crop in the steak world, denoting steaks that come from Wagyu beef and are among the highest overall quality. 

Also, consider wet-aged vs dry-aged. Wet-aging is a faster process that results in more moisture within each ribeye steak. Dry-aging is a longer process that breaks down enzymes to create a super tender steak. One option isn’t necessarily better than the other, but finding either wet-aged or dry-aged steak can boost the yum factor of ribeye. 

Grilling Ribeye Instructions

Let’s learn how to grill ribeye steak at home, just like the pros do it at your favorite steakhouse.

Step 1: Prepare the Steaks and Grill

First, remove the steaks from the refrigerator. Salt both sides generously with salt. Then, allow them to remain at room temperature for 45 minutes prior to cooking to allow them to brine. 

When it’s close to cooking time, heat up the grill to high heat (450-500 degrees for a gas grill). If your grill grates tend to stick, brush a little olive oil on them before heating.

Before adding the steaks to the grill, brush a small amount of olive oil on each side and sprinkle with salt, pepper, or your other preferred seasonings. 

Step 2: Start Grilling Ribeye

Place the steaks on the grill so that they have a little room between them. Allow the steaks to cook for 2-4 minutes until a nice sear forms. Then, use tongs to flip them to the other side, cooking for another 2-4 minutes.

Step 3: Check the Temperature

To get to medium-rare, most steaks will need another few minutes to grill, but you’ll want to do this away from direct heat to avoid scorching the outer sides. 

Use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part and reference the temperature chart above to determine if your steak needs more time. For example, medium-rare steak should cook to 125-130℉ before removing from the grill.

If your steaks need more grilling time, move them to a low-heat area of the grill and close the lid for a few more minutes until they reach your desired doneness level.

Step 4: Let Rest

Remove steaks from the grill with tongs and transfer to a clean plate. Let steaks rest for 5-10 minutes before serving to allow the meat to absorb juices and reach its final temperature. 

grilling ribeye steak

Grilling Ribeye

Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ribeye steaks
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Remove steak from the refrigerator, and season generously with salt on both sides. Then, rest at room temperature for 45 minutes. Preheat the grill to 450-500 degrees. Brush 1 tbsp olive oil on the steaks and season steak with salt and pepper, if desired
  • Place the ribeye steaks on the grill. Let sear for about 2-4 minutes until a golden-brown crust begins to form. Flip to the other side and sear for another 2-4 minutes
  • Use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temp of the thickest part of the meat. If more time is necessary, move steaks to a low-heat zone of the grill to let the steak cook for another 2-5 minutes
  • Remove steaks from the grill and rest at room temperature on a plate tented with foil for 5-10 minutes before serving

Other Ways to Cook Ribeye

Grilling ribeye steak isn’t your only option to cook this delicious cut of meat, although it is one of the most popular methods and considered one of the best ways to cook it at home. Ribeye does not dry out easily, so it’s perfectly okay to cook in the oven if you want more of a hands-off way to cook it that results in a juicy steak. Here are a few other top cooking methods for ribeye:

  • Oven-baked ribeye
  • Reverse seared ribeye
  • Sous vide ribeye
  • Pan-seared ribeye
  • Slow cooked ribeye

Try Chicago Steak Company’s selection of boneless and bone-in ribeye steaks, available Premium Angus, USDA Prime wet-aged and dry-aged, Kobe, and Wagyu cuts.