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Up in Our Grill: Labor Day Essentials for Grilling a Steak

26 Aug | How-To’s
How-To’s Up in Our Grill: Labor Day Essentials for Grilling a Steak


Last week, we talked about how to grill beef the Uruguayan way. Keep building your at-home parrilla while we cover the basics of grilling steak outdoors. Perfect your technique with these grilling tips just in time to knock it out of the park at Labor Day. Everyone will want to be up in your grill this year (sorry, the pun is just too easy).

Grilled steak perfection: the overview

Here’s the high level:

Choose the right cut of steak (and ahem, choose grass-fed steak for its flavor andhealth benefits)

Salt liberally and well in advance – anywhere from forty minutes to a few days.

Rest the steak uncovered in the fridge – anywhere from overnight to a few days.

Bring to room temperature before cooking, roughly 40 minutes ahead of time.

Set up your grill properly. We recommend a two-zone charcoal setup.

Remember grass-fed cooking technique: brush with olive oil prior to cooking, cook for about 30% less time, and aim for a rarer product.

Use a thermometer to test doneness.

Let meat rest before serving.

For the detail-oriented griller, read on.

Steak, defined.

The mostaccuratedefinition of steak may come from Urban Dictionary: “the best food known to man.” Beyond that, steak broadly refers to a quality cut of meat, typically cut thick (although this varies) and across the muscle grain. Steak is fast-cooking; that is, due to its composition, it doesn’t need long, slow cooking techniques to break down connective tissue.

There are a variety of common cuts you’ll see under the moniker “steak:” ribeye, strip, tenderloin, T-bone/porterhouse (high end cuts); hanger, skirt, short rib, flap (sirloin tip, aka steak tips), and tri-tip (less expensive cuts).

Choose your cut wisely. The Food Lab at Serious Eats has an amazingly thoroughguide to grilling steakthat includes the characteristics of each cut. Keep in mind, grass-fed steaks have a slightly different set of rules, which we’ll review at the end of this post.

With the basic facts clear, let’s get into the steak grilling tips that’ll make your Labor Day epic.