When it's time to throw the steaks on the barbecue, make sure you've got the right temperature, tools and timing so your meat cooks up perfect every time. For mouthwatering morsels, cook steaks on a heated grill over high, direct heat, handle gently and allow them to rest before serving.
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Prepare the Meat
To keep steaks from sticking to the grill grate, brush each side with olive or vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Leave the meat at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes prior to grilling to allow the steaks to come to a uniform temperature. Brush the grill with oil before adding the steaks.
Searing the Steak
Searing meat creates a chemical reaction in the protein that produces delicious savory and sweet flavors on the outside of the meat. The color changes from pink to brown to dark brown and black. Searing reduces the amount of juices that leak out of the meat and produces the characteristic grill marks and flavor that is missing when meat is cooked at lower temperatures. To sear on a gas grill, turn the temperature to high and allow the grate to heat. Place oiled steaks directly on the heated, oiled grill and cook each side for two to 13 minutes, depending on thickness. A rare, 1/2-inch steak needs only about four minutes while a well-done, 2-inch steak requires about 24 minutes.
Continue grilling the steak until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for beef. Use a thermometer to accurately determine the temperature. Turn the steak with a pair of tongs rather than a fork to prevent juices from escaping during cooking. If excessive flare-ups occur, put them out with a squirt of water. If you are using a sauce such as barbecue or teriyaki, apply it to the steak toward the end of the cook time to prevent the sugars in the sauce from burning.
Resting Off the Grill
The meat continues to cook for a few minutes after removing it from the heat. Allow steaks to rest, untouched, on a counter for three to five minutes. Resting allows the meat to come to a uniform temperature and prevents the juices from running out with the first cut.