How to Grill the Perfect Steak
It’s summer, and the barbecue is out on the back deck, drinks are in the cooler and the patio furniture finally stopped smelling like musty basement. Nothing could be more perfect — except, perhaps, if you could finally grill that juicy, tender steak you’ve been craving since the snow first started falling. Follow these easy steps to make sure that your steak is as perfect as the summer weather.
1. Preheat barbecue.
2. Brush steak with olive oil (both sides); place on the grill with tongs (never a fork!); this keeps in the juices.
3. Turn with tongs only once. Not only does this preserve the juice and flavour, it also creates a beautiful crust.
4. Test your steak by pressing down on it with the tongs. Its squishiness will tell you if it’s done to your preference:
- Rare: soft and squishy.
- Medium-rare: yielding and slightly squishy.
- Medium: a bit firmer and springy.
- Medium-well: firm with little give.
- Well-done: very firm (no give).
5. Transfer the steak to a plate when done and cover it with foil.
6. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest and relax; this allows the juices to settle evenly through the steak.
7. Drizzle with butter, olive oil or beef fat and serve.
When to season a steak — overnight, before cooking, after cooking — is a matter of taste, really, and a topic that is heatedly debated by many. Try out your own experiments and find out which side of the debate you’re on.
In the meantime, here are the results of our experiments.
Marinating: leave it overnight to trap the flavours inside the meat. Every bite will shine with flavour.
Dry seasoning (salt, pepper, steak spice): add it over 40 minutes before grilling or right before you put the steak on the grill. The former will allow the seasoning to sink into the meat to give you a nice, juicy steak with powerful flavours. The latter will season the outside of the steak, without affecting the internal juices or flavour, so you’ll get that nice, light dusting on the “skin” of the meat.
DON’T put dry seasoning on a steak 10 to 40 minutes before cooking. This is the dry zone — the seasoning will have been on the steak long enough to pull the fluid out, but not long enough to add the flavour and reincorporate the juices.