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When cooking the perfect steak with an intense smoky flavor, barbecue is best. It doesn't have to be left to the pro pitmasters either - now the weather is warming up, it's finally time to go al fresco and fire up your gas grill.
There's more to grilling steak than tossing it onto your grates and hoping for the best, however. A Michelin-star recipe will only get you halfway: you'll need the proper equipment, perfect timings, and of course, the best gas grill for the job.
To get to grips with cooking steak on a grill, we spoke with a barbecue expert who shares his five step-guide to rustling up a restaurant-worthy chargrilled cut of meat.
Jakob is a retired health professional who became a pitmaster in his golden years. He and his wife founded Barbecue pals, an online blog where they share informative grilling guidelines, delicious recipes, and humorous takes on the world of BBQ.
1. Invest in a gas grill with cast iron grates
It should come as no surprise that you'll need a good grill when barbecuing steak. Just as important as the grill itself, however, are the grates. For meat that's cooked to perfection, you want a durable cooking surface that offers excellent heat transfer and prevents your food from sticking.
While your gas grill will come with its own set of grates, it's worth upgrading to a more high-quality set if you want to up your grilling game. Cast iron or stainless steel grates are both great options for retaining heat. 'I personally prefer cast iron grates as they tend to hold heat well and give a good sear to the steak,' explains Jakob Miller, grill expert and founder of Barbecue Pals.
If it's the first time you're cooking on your grill this year or you're using brand new grates, make sure you know how to properly season your grill for a better-tasting barbecue.
2. Use the right equipment
Besides your grill and grates, you'll need the appropriate cooking equipment. There are several upgrades you can make to your barbecue itself for ease of cooking, such as grill shelves and grease trays, if your barbecue doesn't come with them installed already.
'You'll also need a good set of tongs to flip the steak, and a meat thermometer to ensure the perfect internal temperature,' says Jakob. There are a host of other accessories you might want to buy, too. You might want a good pair of heat-resistant gloves to avoid any burns, and a wire brush is essential for cleaning your grill after cooking.
3. Preheat your grill
When it comes to what temperature a gas grill should be, it will vary depending on what you're cooking. You'll want to use a high heat for steak, but pre-heating your grates beforehand is key to well-cooked meat.
'Preheat your grill to a high temperature of around 450-500°F,' says Jakob. 'This will give you a good sear on the steak.' It's also a good idea to pat your steaks dry before you put them on the grill to ensure they cook evenly.
'Once you've got a good sear, you can turn the heat down a bit to cook the steak to your desired level of doneness,' adds Jakob. For medium or well-done meat, start at medium-high heat for the first few minutes before reducing to a lower heat until your steak is cooked through. If you like your steak rare, make sure to keep the heat high throughout cooking.
4. Cook your steak
Once your grill has heated it up, it's time to get cooking on your outdoor barbecue. Make sure your steaks are in the center of the grates so that they're evenly cooked, and do them in batches if you don't have space.
'As for cooking time, it really depends on the thickness of the steak and your preferred level of doneness,' explains Jakob. As a general rule of thumb, he recommends cooking a 1-inch steak to medium rare in about 4-5 minutes per side. 'But the best way to ensure your steak is cooked perfectly is to use a meat thermometer,' he notes. 'For medium-rare, you'll want the internal temperature to be around 135°F.'
When it comes to the lid, Jakob suggests leaving it off when grilling. 'This helps to prevent any flare-ups and allows me to keep a close eye on the steak as it cooks,' he says.
5. Let the steak rest
The most important tip any chef will give when cooking steak is to leave it to rest after cooking. As tempting as it might be to dive straight into eating, leaving your meat to rest before slicing into it is vital to ensure the best flavor possible.
As a general rule, let thinner cuts of meat rest for a minimum of 5 minutes, while thicker cuts will need at least 10. As Jakob explains: 'This helps to ensure that the juices are distributed evenly throughout the meat and results in a more flavorful steak.'
Gas grill accessory essentials
These heat-resistant gloves will be perfect for seasoning, cleaning, and cooking on your grill. When apply the oil during curing, you'll want to make sure you wear protective gloves to prevent any burns and these textured non-slip gloves are just the ticket. They're even resistant to temperatures up to 932°F!
For perfectly cooked succulent meat, you'll need a barbecue thermometer. This one from Amazon features a temperature probe with an accurate 2-3 seconds response time that's displayed on a large digital reading. It's even water resistant, too.
This set of 26 long-handled grill tools is a must-have for any bbq fan. All the equipment is heat-resistant and non-slip to make grilling safer and easier. The hanging loops on each grill accessory make it convenient to hang from your appliance, and the handy little zip-up bag makes it perfect for travel, too.
The Livingetc Newsletter
For style leaders and design lovers.
Lilith Hudson is the Staff Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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