The New York strip, named as a nod to its popularity in that city's great steakhouses, is a sheer pleasure to grill. It rivals the rib eye with its marbling, tenderness and natural flavor (no marinades required!), but lacks the thick seams of fat that make rib steaks so prone to alarming flare-ups. Cut from the tender and flavorful loin muscle, the strip steak is a rich, uncomplicated and deeply satisfying slice of beef heaven.
CRUISING THE STRIP
Strip steaks are immediately recognizable, a roughly rectangular slab of beef with a rind of fat down one side. Boneless strips are more common, though you'll occasionally see them with the bone left on. There's little difference in how they're handled, though the meat closest to the bone usually remains slightly rarer than the rest. Steaks cut from the back half of the striploin contain a line of rough gristle, and typically sell for less than those from the front half of the strip. Avoid those unless you're minding your budget. The best strip steaks are rich in marbling, fine lines of fat that run through the muscle itself.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
For strips less than an inch in thickness, and especially thin-cut steaks of ¾ inch, the traditional high-temperature grilling technique works well.
Trim the outer rind of fat with a sharp knife if your butcher hasn't done this already. Leave 1/8 to 1/4 inch of fat in place to brown and enhance the appearance of the steak. Season the steak with kosher or sea salt and let it rest for at least 45 minutes as the salt dissolves and absorbs into the strip.
Preheat your grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which takes just a few minutes with gas and roughly 30 minutes with charcoal.
Grill your steak on the first side for 7 or 8 minutes, rotating it 60 to 90 degrees midway through that time if you want to produce restaurant-style grill marks. It's ready to turn when you begin to see moisture on the upper side of the steak.
Turn the steaks and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Test them for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the thickest part of the steak, where it won't meet bone or fat. Its temperature should be roughly 120 to 125 F for rare, 125 to 130 F for medium-rare or 130 to 135 F for medium.
Remove the steaks to a preheated serving platter or individual plates and serve immediately.
LOW AND SLOW
For strip steaks an inch or greater in thickness, the traditional hot-and-fast grilling technique can result in a steak that's charred and overcooked on the outside before it reaches the correct interior temperature. A less conventional two-stage cooking method is more appropriate for these premium steaks, resulting in a juicier end result with less charring and more perfectly cooked beef inside.
Trim and season your steaks ahead of time, removing any excess fat from the edge of the steak. Season them with sea salt or kosher salt, both of which lack the harsh-tasting iodine that's added to table salt. Rest the steaks for at least 45 minutes and as long as overnight, so the salt has plenty of time to penetrate into the muscle fibers.
Preheat your grill to 250 F. If you're cooking over gas, light just one side of the grill and reserve the other for the high-temperature portion of the process. With charcoal, mound your coals on one side of the grill where they'll provide the other side with indirect heat. Adjust your vents and draft to achieve the correct temperature.
Place your steaks on the cool side of the grill and lower the lid. Cook your steaks, covered, until they reach an internal temperature of 110 to 115 F when tested with an instant-read thermometer, turning the steaks every few minutes to ensure even cooking. This can take up to 25 minutes, turning the steaks every few minutes to ensure even cooking.
Crank the second side of your gas grill to high, or open the lid and vents on your charcoal grill to achieve the same effect. Transfer the steaks to the hot side of the grill and sear them for a total of 2 to 3 minutes until well browned. They should reach an internal temperature approximately 5 degrees lower than your ultimate goal. For example, if you're aiming for medium-rare at 125 to 130 F, remove them from the grill at 120 to 125 F.
Rest the steaks for approximately 5 minutes before serving them on a preheated platter. This gives time for their retained heat, or "carryover cooking," to bring the steaks the rest of the way to your preferred level of doneness.