Grill Any Steak in 5 Easy Steps
Here at Food52, we love recipes — but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don’t always need a recipe, you’ll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.
Today: How to grill any steak like a pro.
Some of the best steaks I’ve eaten in my life were not cooked in New York, nor in Chicago but in Italy. Specifically in Tuscany off of the A1. The A1 in this context is not a steak sauce, it’s the autostrada that runs through the center of Italy and through the heart of Tuscany. The most esteemed meat for the grill there is chianina beef. Domestically, the closest cut would be a double-thick porterhouse steak. For seasoning you need nothing more than coarse salt, pepper, and lemons to squeeze at the table.
What is important is that you cook this over real wood charcoal. Propane and briquettes are for sissies, okay? Gas grill? No! In Tuscany they might throw dried vine cuttings on the coals. An alternative is to add wine barrel staves, which you can find at kitchen stores like Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma. I don’t want to go all paleo on you but this is all about meat and fire. The smoke is an important part of the flavor. Nothing artificial is used here.
How to Grill Any Steak in 5 Steps
1. For your fire, begin with a chimney starter. For ignition I like to use either a paraffin cube or else natural Big Green Egg “Fire Starters” or at worst crumpled newspaper. You just light a match to the accelerant, below the charcoal. This will flame up vigorously. After 15 or 20 minutes, the flames will die down and the coals will glow grey and red. Pitch those into the bottom of your grill.
The type of grill you have really doesn’t matter as long as you are using real charcoal. Open the vents. If you are using any other soaked wood, like barrel staves or wood chips, add those now. Be prepared for the fact that it’s going to get ridiculously smoky. It should also get really hot. If you have a temperature gauge on the outside, aim for 450° F to 500° F. Add more wood if needed.
2. Your choice of steak is up to you. Talk to your butcher. A really thick bone-in steak is best as in the porterhouse mentioned above. Your steak needs nothing more than a rub with salt and pepper before putting it on the grill. If you want to get fancy you can dip a branch of rosemary in olive oil and lemon juice and brush it with that. But don’t go nuts with your mop sauce or whatever.