I’m absolutely obsessed with charcoal grills. I mean, seriously obsessed. I even have four different types! But what gets me most excited is cooking a nice, thick, medium-rare steak over those beautiful flames.
If you’ve never experienced the magic of a charcoal-grilled steak, you are truly missing out. The subtle smoky flavor takes beef to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Today, I’m going to take you through everything you need to know to grill an amazing steak on a charcoal grill.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Steak
Before we get into the step-by-step process, let’s talk about some important factors to consider when selecting your steak.
1. Type of Steak
Stick to the classics when it comes to steakhouse favorites. Ribeye, sirloin, or T-bone/porterhouse are all excellent choices.
2. Grade of Beef
Remember, not all beef is created equal. The grade of beef determines its quality and flavor. In the US, you’ll typically find beef graded as choice or select in supermarkets, with choice having more fat marbling. If you can, opt for prime grade beef for even better marbling.
When it comes to steak, thicker is better. Thin steaks tend to cook too quickly, making it challenging to achieve a proper sear without overcooking the inside. Aim for a steak that is at least 1″ thick. For thicker steaks (1.5″ or more), the reverse sear method is ideal.
The Essentials You’ll Need
You don’t need much to grill a steak over charcoal. Here’s a short list of what you’ll need:
- Charcoal grill (I recommend a Weber Kettle grill)
- Charcoal chimney & lighters
- Charcoal (either lump or briquettes)
- Digital instant-read thermometer
- GrillGrates (optional, but they provide fantastic sear marks)
- Seasoning/spice rub
- And, of course, steak!
Tips for Grilling the Perfect Steak
Now that you have your steak and equipment ready, here are some essential tips to ensure you serve a restaurant-quality steak every time.
Use a Dry Brine
Applying salt to the meat before cooking is known as dry brining. It draws moisture out of the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful steak. You can use plain salt or a rub that includes salt.
Use a Meat Thermometer
Invest in a quality digital instant-read thermometer. This tool will help you monitor the steak’s doneness and prevent overcooking.
Consider GrillGrates (Optional)
GrillGrates are aftermarket accessories that enhance sear marks and overall grilling performance. They increase grill surface temperature, reduce flare-ups, and eliminate hot spots. Many professional steak cookoff competitors use them.
How to Grill a Steak on a Charcoal Grill
Now let’s get down to the actual grilling process.
- Season Your Steak
Start by applying your desired seasoning to the steak. You can choose a classic SPG seasoning or elevate the flavor with a homemade brisket rub.
- Fire up the Charcoal Grill
While your steak reaches room temperature, light your charcoal and get the grill nice and hot. A charcoal chimney is the best way to ignite the charcoal. Once the coals have ashed over, dump them into your grill. Create two cooking zones by banking the charcoal on one side.
- Grill the Steaks
When the grill grates are hot, place the steak at an angle to achieve those beautiful cross-hatch grill marks. After 90 seconds, rotate the steak 45 degrees and cook for another 90 seconds. Repeat this process to sear both sides evenly.
Cooking times may vary depending on the steak’s thickness and temperature. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your steak reaches your desired level of doneness. For medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 130°F.
- Rest the Steak
Allow the steak to rest before serving. Resting allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender steak. Tent the steak with foil and add a pat of butter on top during the resting phase.
- Slice and Serve
Once the steak has rested, slice it against the grain for maximum tenderness. Get creative with your steak sides and enjoy your masterpiece!
More Grilled Steak Recipes to Try
If you’re looking to expand your grilled steak repertoire, here are some delicious recipes to explore:
- Grilled Rump Cap Steak
- Grilled Steak Pinwheels
- Grilled Flat Iron Steak With Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- Best Grilled Carne Asada
And there you have it! A comprehensive guide to grilling the perfect steak on a charcoal grill. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and flavors. Enjoy your sizzling steaks!