How to Cook a Tender Steak Medium Rare on the Barbecue Grill


A tender cut of beef, such as a tenderloin or ribeye, does not always make for a tender steak dinner. The heating and even the seasoning techniques that you employ play equally important roles in determining the quality of the finished product. A luscious medium-rare steak requires at least an hour to prepare. Fortunately, the amount of time you actually have to spend handling the meat or watching over the grill are minimal because salt can do a lot of the work for you.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt, to taste
  • Seasonings, to taste
  • Meat thermometer
  • Tongs or fork
  • Plate
  • Aluminum foil
  • Salt your steak at least 40 minutes before grilling it. Cover and refrigerate the meat if you are seasoning it more than an hour ahead of grilling. The salt draws moisture out and helps break down the muscle fibers, which tenderizes the meat. After about 30 minutes, the steak reabsorbs the moisture that the salt pulled out, so that you have a moist, tender and well-seasoned cut of meat.

  • Season your steak with herbs and seasonings, if desired. Parsley, rosemary, thyme and pepper-based spices complement beef well.

  • Arrange charcoal on one side of a standard grill to create a hot region that will receive direct heat and a cool region that will receive indirect heat. Preheat the grill. Turn off one burner after the preheating stage to create regions of varying heat in an electric grill.

  • Place the steak on the cool side of the grill rack and cover the grill.

  • Turn the steak periodically to cook it evenly on both sides.

  • Check the temperature of the steak with a meat thermometer after 5 or 6 minutes. Move the meat to the hot side of the grill when the center of the steak is 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Finish grilling the steak in the hot region until it reaches 130 to 135 F in the center for medium-rare, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the steak occasionally.

  • Transfer the steak to a plate with tongs or a fork, cover the meat with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 3 minutes. The juices in the steak will cool and thicken during the rest time, which will keep more juice in the meat when you cut in to it.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is safe to season a steak up to five days before grilling it according to the USDA. You can maximize the tenderizing effect by salting the steak days ahead of grilling it.
  • Use kosher salt rather than table salt if you can. Kosher salt will draw more moisture from your steak than table salt will.
  • You should cook a steak until it is at least 145 F to eliminate the risk of foodborne illness, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

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