Did you know that the average American eats roughly 56 pounds of beef yearly? There are many different cuts and preparation methods when it comes to beef. But few are more iconic than the steak.

Unfortunately, there’s a big difference between a properly cooked grilled steak and a subpar one. One is the most flavorful thing in the world. The other is dry, chewy, and a huge letdown.

So what are the five elements of a perfectly cooked grilled steak? And how do you achieve them?

In this grilling tips guide, we’ll give you a breakdown of what to look for in a grilled steak and how to achieve it. Let’s get started!

1. Perfect Internal Temperature

First, the perfect grilled steak has the exact type of internal temperature you like with your steak. For most people, this is around medium rare.

However, if you like your steak more or less raw, don’t be afraid to cook it for longer.

The most important thing is to know the specific internal temperature that’s associated with how you like your steak. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Rare steak is between 115°–120°F
  • Medium rare steak is between 120°–125°F
  • Medium steak is between 130°–135°F
  • Medium well steak is between 140°–145°F
  • Well done steak is 150° or over

Also, remember that your steak’s internal temperature will rise by five degrees when you let the meat rest. So make sure to pull it off early once it gets near where you like it.

2. Flavorful Crust

It doesn’t matter if you like your steak rare or well done. The key to a lot of flavors is a golden, seared crust. Why is this? It’s thanks to something called a Maillard reaction.

This is a type of non-enzymatic browning in which heat causes sugars and amino acids to caramelize.

The result is unbeatable flavor and a mouth-watering smell. Steaks that are consumed raw or without browning will not be as complex as steaks with a crust.

3. Properly Seasoned

For many people, simplicity is key when it comes to steak seasoning. If you have a great cut of meat, it’s likely that you really want to highlight that flavor of beef.

If you fall in this category, all you need is salt for your steak seasoning (you can also throw in some black pepper). The key is to salt it a little more than you might think it needs.

This is especially true if you’re working with a bigger cut of steak. We’ll go into more detail in regard to steak seasoning in another section.

For now, know that you can also experiment with different spices, marinades, or sauces for your steak. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone with a new grilled steak seasoning.

4. Smoky Flavor

What sets a grilled steak apart from a pan-fried one? Simple: that smoky flavor that comes with using wood, pellets, or charcoal. Most people aren’t that discerning when it comes to their fuel source.

However, if you find yourself sensitive to chemical-infused charcoals, consider looking for a more natural fuel source.

5. Juicy, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Texture

For most people, the mark of a perfect steak is a bit that contains all of the juices.

The key to achieving this is letting your steak rest properly. This will ensure that all of the juices remain inside after you cut into them.

How to Get the Perfect Grilled Steak

Now that we know the elements of a perfect grilled steak, let’s take a closer look at how to grill one perfectly. First, you’re going to need to season your steak.

Most home cooks simply don’t add enough salt to their steaks. You’re going to need more than you think. We recommend half a teaspoon for each pound of meat on your steak.

Once you season it all over, throw the steak back in the fridge for an hour or two. This dry brine will ensure you get a flavorful crust without losing too many juices. Next, prepare your grill zone.

Whenever you’re cooking a steak, you’re going to want two zones. The first zone should be direct heat at the highest level. The second zone should be indirect heat that falls around 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, it’s time to grill. The method you should use to grill depends on your steak. If you have a thin steak, like a hanger or skirt steak, you can just throw it onto the direct heat.

Flip the steak every few minutes until it reaches your desired temperature. If you have a thicker steak, use the reverse sear method.

This involves bringing the meat to temperature in the indirect zone, then getting a crust by briefly searing it in direct heat.

Whichever method you go with, make sure that you always let your steak rest for five minutes before cutting it. This ensures that the juices don’t all leak out right away.

Invest in the Proper Grilling Tools

The most important part of grilling a steak has proper temperature zones on your grill. Now, if you have a barbecue or grill in your backyard, this is usually pretty easy.

But what should you do if you plan camping or cooking outdoors away from home? If you fall into this category, we recommend investing in something like this grill tray.

It’s portable but strong enough to withstand the high temperatures you need for a great steak. Again, just make sure you get one that’s big enough to provide you with multiple heat zones when you cook your meat.

In addition to your grill, you’re also going to want to invest in a good meat thermometer. You don’t want to leave your steak’s internal temperature to chance.

A thermometer ensures that you know just when to pull your steak off the grill. Lastly, look for a good pair of tongs. This will make flipping the piece of steak a breeze.

Appreciate Learning About the Elements of a Perfect Grilled Steak? Keep Exploring

We hope this guide helped you learn more about the perfect grilled steak. Remember, the perfect steak differs from person to person.

So keep experimenting till you find yours. And in the meantime, keep exploring our website to find more useful cooking tips.