7 Secrets to a Succulent Steak

The first thing I ever learned to grill was a steak.  I remember my dad teaching me the fundamentals of grilling a great steak.  Keep it simple, buy a good piece of meat,  season it, sear it and most important NO GOD DAMN KETCHUP!  Nothing pissed the old man off more than someone putting ketchup on his steak.  I took Dad’s tutelage to heart but I have added some updates over the years.  So what I’m sharing with you today is 20 years of research in seven simple steps to a succulent steak.  And if you put ketchup on my steak there will be hell to pay.

T-Bone Steaks on the Big Green Egg
1. SCIENCE.  The first thing need to cook the perfect steak is a meat thermometer.  I’ve tried all of the tricks for checking steak doneness, timers, the poke trick, the test steak and none of them worked.  But once I start using meat thermometer I never over cooked another steak. Fire temps will vary, steak thickness will vary, the gravitational pull of the moon will vary however medium rare will always be 135F.  I like the Thermapen, it fast, accurate and easy to read.    Remember the steak will continue to cook after it comes off the grill, so take the meat off about 5-7 degrees short of your target temperature.
2. SELECT.  Whatever your favorite cuts of meat is just be sure you are getting a quality cut.  Choose CHOICE or PRIME grade beef. Get a thick steak, at least 1” thick.  Make sure the meat looks fresh and has a good marbling within the meat. Or you can just visit your local meat market and tell the butcher to hook you up.  I got these fat T-Bones from Nelsons Meat Market, I told Ben what I wanted and he cut them while I waited.
Fresh T-Bone Steaks
T-Bones Season with AlbuKirky BBQ Ru.
3. SEASONING.  A steak by it self will taste good, but if you want it to taste great it needs some seasoning.  Salt, pepper and garlic is great but I’m not in the business of selling salt, pepper and garlic.  I started by rubbing some peanut oil on each side of the steak then applied my AlbuKirky BBQ Rub to each side.  Whatever seasoning you use just don’t go overboard, you want to compliment the meat not overpower it. Just remember about 1/2 of your seasoning will fall of during cooking, so if you put too little it will be under seasoned.

Also part of the seasoning profile is the charcoal.  I use a mesquite charcoal and throw a hand full of mesquite chips during the cooking to add the extra bit of smokey flavor.  Experiment with different charcoals and wood chips to flavor up your beef.

4. SEARING.  For years I thought searing locked in the juices, but I recently found out that is not true.  Searing just creates a crust and that’s it.  Regardless if searing seals in juices or not, crust is delicious  and gives the steak a contrasting texture and flavor.  I fired up my egg, open all the vents and let it come up to temperature, about 650F.  Whatever grill you use you want it really really hot.  I seared the steak on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Only flip once, don’t keep flipping it or moving it or you will mess up your grill marks.  If you’re concerned about flare ups use a spray bottle and keep the lid down, don’t move the steak around.  Total steak flips, 3, no more, no less.
Sizzling T-Bones 
5. SIZZLE.  Once the steak has seared it still needs to finish cooking, unless you like your steak really rare.  Lower the heat or move the steaks to a cooler side of the grill.  When you are moving the steak turn it 90 degrees so you get that you get the crossing grill marks.  Allow the steak to cook another 2-3 minutes.  Flip the steak again and be sure to rotate the steak to get the perpendicular grill marks.
Resting the Steak
6. SIESTA. After all that cooking the steak needs a little nap.  Allowing the meat to rest will allow the steak to finish cooking and reabsorb all of those tasty juices.  Remove the steaks from the grill and place them on a pan or cookie sheet with a baking rack. The steak needs to rest but you don’t want it resting in a puddle of juice or it will ruin your beautiful crust.  Cover the pan with foil and allow the meat rest for 5-10 minutes.  
7. SERVE. Do I really need to explain this part?  
Steak with Seasoned Butter
Now you have my 7 steps to a great steak.  From this day forward every steak you grill will be perfect if you follow these tips.  Oh, I almost forgot the last steps, SUPPORT and SHARE.  If you have any questions feel free to send me an email or tweet me, @albukirkybbq. Most important when you grill your steak, take some pics and SHARE them.  I’ll post them here and on my Facebook page.  There you go my friends, I’ve done all the heavy lifting for you, I expect to see some steak pics soon!  Get some smoke in your eye and some steak in your belly.

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3 thoughts on “7 Secrets to a Succulent Steak

  1. Great post! Your whole process is very similar to the way I grill a good steak. One thing that I do after seasoning but before grilling is that I let the steak set out on the counter prior to grilling and bring the meat up to room temprature. I think this helps the steak or any other cut of meat cook more quickly, evenly and consistently.

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  2. Those are some nice looking steaks. One thing I have learned about getting accurate temp readings with a Thermapen with steaks is to come in on the center of the side. That way the thermacouple in the tip is exactly in the middle of the steak. Coming in from the top, it may be closer to the top or bottom than center.

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