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Lesson 2: Great Steaks on the Grill

Sarah Breckenridge; Video by Bruce Becker and Dariusz Kanarek; Editing by Cari Delahanty. Shot on location at the Dana Holcombe House, Newtown, CT.
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Lesson 2: Great Steaks on the Grill

Whether you’re already an accomplished griller or just a novice, grilling cookbook author Fred Thompson will turn you into a grill master in ten short episodes.

A steak is one of the simplest things to grill, and it’s a good way to learn how to use your grill’s heat. In this episode, you’ll learn how to choose the best steaks for grilling, how to give them a good initial sear, and how to tell when they’re done perfectly. To practice all these points, we’ll make a grilled New York Strip Steak with Blue Cheese Butter.

Grilled Steak Recipes
New York Strip Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter Rib-Eye Steaks Rubbed with Coffee and Cocoa Porterhouse Steak with Arugula Salad Grilled Skirt Steak with Quick Romesco Sauce
New York Strip Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter   Rib-Eye Steaks Rubbed with Coffee and Cocoa   Porterhouse Steak with Arugula Salad   Grilled Skirt Steak with Quick Romesco Sauce

Step One: Prep Your Steaks and Grill
Take your steaks from the fridge about 30 to 40 minutes before cooking and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Starting with room-temperature steaks gives you better control over their doneness. For tender steaks like rib-eye and strip steak, you want to choose steaks about 1-1/2 inches thick. When you’re ready to cook, make sure the steak is completely dry, then brush it with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat your grill with all burners set on high and the lid closed for 10 to 12 minutes.

Step Two: Cook the Steaks
Place the steaks on the grill, at a 45-degree angle to the grill grates. Close the lid.

After about 1-1/2 minutes, the steaks should release easily from the grates. Pick up each steak and rotate it 90 degrees, so the grill grates now run at 45 degrees in the opposite direction. This is how you create those neat, restaurant-style crosshatch grill marks on your steak.

After the steaks have cooked about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, they’re ready to turn. There’s no need to do cross-hatch marks on the second side, because it will face down on the plate. Close the lid and continue to cook to your preferred doneness.

Step Three: How to Judge Doneness
There are two ways to judge doneness–one is with an instant-read thermometer, inserted into the center of the steak (see chart for temperatures).

But touch is the method most chefs determine doneness, at least for steaks. To start learning what each stage feels like, your face is a handy guide:

  • Touch your cheek with your mouth slightly open–that’s what rare feels like.
  • Touch the tip of your nose–that’s medium
  • Touch your forehead–that’s what well-done feels like

After you pull the steaks off the grill, they should rest for 5 minutes before serving, to let the juices redistribute, producing a steak that’s equally juicy all the way through.

More flavored butters for topping your steaks
Basil Butter
Caramelized Shallot Butter
Chipotle-Cilantro Butter
Garlic-Rosemary Butter
Lemon-Herb Butter
Three-Herb Butter

Related Articles:
How to Grill Steak Perfectly
How to Grill Flank Steak
How to Grill Skirt Steak
Mexican-Style Steaks
Understanding Beef Labels
Ingredient Profile: New York Strip Steak
Ingredient Profile: Rib-Eye Steak

Other lessons in this series
Classic Ultimate Burgers New York Strip Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter How to Start a Charcoal Fire
Lesson 1: The Perfect Burger
  Lesson 2: Great Steaks on the Grill   Lesson 3: How to Start a Charcoal Fire
The Two-Zone Fire Buttermilk Brined Chicken Breasts How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill
Lesson 4: The Two-Zone Fire   Lesson 5: How to Grill Bone-In Chicken Parts   Lesson 6: How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill
Grilled Fish Tacos Lump vs. Briquette Charcoal Fred's Ultimate Smoked Pork Shoulder
Lesson 7: How to Grill Fish   Lesson 8: Lump vs. Briquette Charcoal   Lesson 9: Slow-Smoked Pork Shoulder
Fred's Finest Baby Back Ribs    
Lesson 10: Real Barbecued Ribs        


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