Want to make a perfect grilled steak every single time? The key to perfect, crusty on the outside, juicy on the inside grilled steak is right in your pantry…and your freezer!
why this recipe works
Once upon a time, the Southern husband and I thought we knew how to grill a nice plain steak. We would pick up a good looking rib-eye or strip steak 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 those steps are in your kitchen right now: a mixture of cornstarch and salt…and your freezer.
ingredients you need
ingredient notes and substitutions
Steak: This method will work on any cut of steak that can go right on the grill without marinating or tenderizing it first. Rib-eye, strip and sirloin are all good choices.
Salt: We like using coarse salt, also known as kosher salt. Sea salt also works well too.
how to make this recipe
First, a couple of pro tips!
1. 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 – that’s where the cornstarch and salt come in.
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.
Step 1: Mix together the salt and the cornstarch.
Step 2: Pat that cornstarch mixture all over your steak, and pop it in your freezer for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Crank up your grill to high, let it heat up for a good ten minutes or so and then pop the steak on it.
Cook it for 4 to 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!
Cornstarch is a white powder made from, yep, corn, which among other things makes it gluten-free. Along with making a perfect grilled steak, it also can be used to thicken soups and stews. You can usually find it in the baking aisle.
There are all kinds of theories on this, but we always grill steak with the lid up (same with chicken). Putting the lid down will generate more internal heat and can make whatever you are cooking more well done than you want it, or dry it out.
This is the very best way to tell how your steak is cooked. An instant read thermometer should read around 140 degrees for medium rare…you can let your steak cook to a higher or lower temperature if you like it more well done or rare. Place the thermometer right in the middle of the steak to get the best reading.
Pop your question (or comment, or suggestion) in the Comments section below and I will answer pronto!
want to round out your meal?
And for dessert, let’s have some Jam Cake!
other steak recipes we love
Looking for more meat dinner inspiration? Here is our complete collection of meat recipes!
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