How to Barbecue The Perfect Steak

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While in many parts of the U.S. it may be a bit…nippy…outside at the moment, at Steak University we can’t think of any reason that should slow down your grilling pursuits.  There are few things we can think of to help the doldrums of a long winter pass quickly than a little steak on the barbecue action, snow and ice be darned.  The best part of busting out the BBQ grill during the winter?  It doubles as a fire pit and heat generator for you and your neighbors, family or friends to all huddle around while sipping your favorite beverages and waiting for your gourmet steaks to reach the perfect degree of doneness.  While we’ve delved into the topic of how to BBQ steak in the past, there’s no time like the present for a little refresher, plus some new tips and tricks to have you grilling like a pro, year-round.

It’s All About Them Coals, Them Coals…No Gas

While we heartily endorse the grill for crafting the perfect BBQ steak, starting with quality Chicago Steak Company gourmet steaks of course, there are a few initial pitfalls you’ll want to avoid.  The biggest pet peeve we see when it comes to how to BBQ steak is the use of the gas option on your BBQ.  While you can still craft an excellent meal out of a steak cooked with gas, it’s the flavor of the open flame created by smoke, either from charcoal or wood briquettes, that really makes a BBQ steak zing.  So, ditch the gas and opt for the old fashioned method when you throw your steak on the BBQ.  Your taste buds will thank you!

The Meat Thermometer is Your Friend

Previously we’ve covered the ins and outs of cooking a perfect steak indoors, but when it comes to tackling barbequing a steak, things can get a bit tough…literally.  While BBQ grills can reach similar temperatures to indoor ovens and stovetop ranges, it’s the inconsistency of cooking over an open flame that can turn a perfect BBQ steak into a tough piece of leather in no time flat.  The solution for this time meets temperature conundrum is as simple as keeping a meat thermometer on hand.  Simply remember that 135 degrees is the perfect temperature for a medium rare steak on the BBQ.

Sauces, Rubs and Seasonings…Oh My!

If you’re already bucking the trend by throwing your steak on the BBQ, why not take the opportunity to spice things up a bit with a BBQ steak rub or steak seasoning.  The options when it comes to seasonings for your BBQ steak are as varies as your tastes.  For a simple BBQ steak rub that lets the natural flavors of the meat shine through, consider kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and perhaps a dash or two of garlic powder.

For those of you looking for that classic BBQ sauce flavor in a BBQ steak rub, try coating your steak liberally with paprika, onion and garlic powders, along with a quality sea salt.  It can’t get much more traditional than that.  If you’re feel adventurous, lemon pepper, celery salt or even a nice, dark unsweetened cocoa powder can create a unique flavor profile that compliments the big, juicy flavors of beef.  If you’ve got more time, consider giving a steak marinade a try, but when going this route, avoid anything that contains sugar, which can burn and become unpalatable when exposed to open flame.  Try experimenting with seasonings in small batches until you find the combo, or two or three, that are just right for you.

How to BBQ a Steak: Handy Reference Guide

If you’re a BBQ steak novice, or a well-seasoned pro in need of a few reminders, we’ve compiled the below quick checklist of step by step instructions that will have you grilling your BBQ consistently every time.

Pick your desired steak – Whether it’s ribeye steak, filet mignon, flank steak, strip steak, sirloin steak, skirt steak, porterhouse steak, etc. You can’t go wrong!

Prep the Grill – Be sure your grill grate is cleaned after every use.  Dirty grills not only spread bacteria, they also create burnt flavors in your meat.  After cleaning, lightly rub the grate portion with oil and set aside until the coals are ready.

Coals – Coals should be arranged in the bottom of your grill on a circular pile, slightly higher in the middle.  Avoid using any flammable liquids or lighter fluids as these can impart a chemical taste to your gourmet BBQ steaks.  Light with the use of newspaper or small pieces of hardwood.  Once aflame, cover until coals are 400-500 degrees.  An infrared thermometer can help out here but the old standby method is to hold your hand a safe distance away from the flame, just above grill height.  At this temp you should only be able to withstand about a second or two before needing to pull back.

Grill Time – A quality gourmet steak of about ¾ inch thickness should need a total of about 6-8 minutes of cooking time to reach medium rare steak BBQ perfection.  A meat thermometer is your friend here.  Just remember the internal temperature should be around 135-140.  Want to get extra fancy with those grill marks?  Try rotating your steak 90 degrees once on each side in between flips to create hashmark perfection.

Rest is Always Best – Just because you’re grilling steak on the BBQ doesn’t mean you can skip the vital rest stage.  Remove the steaks to a platter and allow to rest for at least five minutes before serving.  We suggest using this opportunity to finish one of your favorite BBQ sides, or enjoy a drink with friends.

The Bottom Line

Seasoned, sauced or bare, steak on the BBQ is never a bad idea and a perfect cooking method for your Chicago Steak Company Gourmet Steaks no matter the season.  Add in our handy tips and tricks above, and in our other Steak University articles and tutorials and you’ll be grilling like a master in no time.