Once upon a time, the Southern husband and I thought we knew how to grill a nice plain steak. How hard could it be, really? We would pick up a good looking rib-eye or sirloin at the meat counter, crank up the grill and toss it on there. And it tasted fine. At least, it tasted fine until we added a couple of steps that seemed very simple…but that transported our steak supper from fine to just plain mouthwateringly, crusty on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, perfect. And ever since that fatefully delicious date we have never looked back, steak-wise.
There are two steps to steak perfection before you get to the actual grilling part, and here they are:
You want a perfectly dry surface on your steak. That dry surface is going to give you a gorgeous crusty exterior and that tender juicy pink interior. But just patting your steak dry isn’t going to get you there – you need to mix together a combo of cornstarch and salt and rub your steak all over with it. The cornstarch-salt mixture is going to absorb every last bit of moisture and give you the nice searable surface you are looking for. And in case you are worried, I promise you won’t taste one single bit of cornstarch – it’s all going to cook off when the time comes.
2. You want to chill your steak down before it hits the nice hot grill, and for that you need your freezer. The cold air of the freezer is also dry air that will further help the surface of your steak to be nice and dry (aren’t you glad to be learning all this scientific stuff?), and spending a half hour or so in the freezer will ensure that the inside of your steak stays as juicy as possible while the outside of your steak is getting that nice crunchy char.
Once you have your steak all good and prepped, you are going to want to cook it on a grill that is cranked up as high has you can get it. Cook it for 4-5 minutes per side if you like it pretty rare like we do, or up to 8 minutes if you are a more well-done person. Once it’s done, cover it with foil and let it rest for a few minutes before you cut it. I know, the wait is agonizing, but if you cut into it right away the delectable steak juices will all run out of the steak and on to your cutting board. Letting it rest allows the juices to settle a little, and you’ll keep more of them inside the steak where they rightfully belong.
Now slice it up across the grain, and sneak the first bite for yourself while you are doing the slicing….ahhhhhhhhh! And with that, this concludes our scientific on How To Cook The Perfect Grilled Steak.
Now go grill some steak!
- 1 steak, 1-2 inches thick (boneless rib-eye or strip steak work the best)
- 1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1-2 tablespoons coarse salt
- Mix together the cornstarch and salt.
- Pat your steak as dry as you can with paper towels, then pat it all over with the cornstarch mixture.
- Place the steak on a plate in your freezer for 30 minutes.
- Heat the grill to its highest temperature. After the steak has been in the freezer for 30 minutes, take it out and grill it for 4-8 minutes per side, depending on how rare or well-done you like it. Don't move the steak while you are grilling it except to flip it over halfway through.
- After the steak is grilled, let it rest on the cutting board covered with foil for 5-7 minutes, then slice it against the grain and serve!
Recipe adapted from the Cook’s Country method