Not many people enjoy gnawing on an overcooked steak. They're out there, but guests will likely be more appreciative of a juicy, well-cooked steak that doesn't require a chainsaw. Grilling a steak properly takes 10 to 15 minutes from start to finish, so timing the other dishes in the meal can be critical to the final result. Additionally, three-inch steaks may look impressive, but will take longer to cook, which results in tougher meat when grilling. To ensure a tender steak, focus on quality cuts of well-marbled meat that are no more than one-inch thick.
Things You'll Need
Choose the right steak. Cuts like round, flank and brisket do much better in the roaster or broiler. Good steaks for the grill are premium cuts from the loin and rib area such as filet mignon, rib eye and sirloin.
Preheat the grill. The meat shouldn't linger on the flame any longer than it has to. The longer the meat cooks, the more likely that it overcooks and dries out.
Grill at a medium heat, no hotter than 400 degrees. If the flame is too hot, you will be cooking the outside faster than the inside and wind up with charred meat and a rare center. You can sear the steak on high heat, but move the meat to a cooler part of the grill to finish it. If using a gas grill, turn the heat on high for preheating, and then turn it down to medium a minute before putting the meat on. By the time the meat is seared, the temperature will adjust.
Use a timer or your watch. Grill four to six minutes on one side. Flip the steak, and cook for another four to six minutes on the other side. The length of cooking time will vary according to how thick your steak is and how well-done you want it. Steak must be cooked to at least 145 degrees in order to be eaten safely.
Do not poke, prod or cut into the meat while it's cooking. All this does is release the juices into the fire, never to be retrieved again. When turning the meat, use tongs and only poke the meat once (twice at the most) toward the end of the cooking period when you take the temperature.
Let the meat rest before carving or serving. This is one of the more important factors in creating a tender steak. When meat cooks, the juices are drawn into the center of the steak. By allowing the meat to rest for five minutes after pulling it from the grill, those juices are allowed to relax and flow back through the steak, making it tender and juicy.
Pull the meat off the grill five to 10 degrees under the desired degree of "doneness." Meat will rise in temperature several degrees while it rests. By pulling it off the grill slightly undercooked, it will be perfect by the time it's served. This takes a little finesse, but mastering this technique is the sign of a good cook.