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A perfect steak cooked on the barbecue on a warm evening is hard to beat. Rosy on the inside and crusty on the outside, served up on a large platter a steak is the perfect addition to your outdoor feast.

Let’s face it, a dry leathery steak that’s hard to cut with even the sharpest of steak knives is a party killer. If you find your guests always reaching for the kid’s snags and your steaks are left to go cold, it’s a good sign you need to workshop your grilling skills.

We share our tips on achieving the perfect steak every time.

For a perfect steak, start with the right cut

Look for a grass-fed, thick steak which will allow you to develop a nice crust on the exterior. Even marbling will add flavour and moisture, and a cut with the bone in can help keep the meat more succulent and tender. Cutting up your own steaks is often the best way to save money and control the thickness of the steaks.

Season your steaks

Season your steaks with salt and pepper well in advance. Quality meat doesn’t need much to taste great, but seasoning a minimum of 30 minutes prior to cooking will mean the difference between an okay steak and a perfect steak. If you’re super organised, season your steaks a few days in advance and leave uncovered in the fridge.

Cook on a clean, oiled grill

Remove any crusty bits or debris from your last barbecue session to ensure your steaks don’t stick to the grill. Best to heat your grill and give it a good scrub before lightly brushing it with oil.

Start cool

If you’re cooking with gas, preheat your grill with the lid closed prior to searing your meat. If you’re cooking on coal, leave the lid off. Start your steak off on the cool side of the grill with the lid on to begin the browning process as it reaches the final temperature. Then place it on the hot side of the grill to give your perfect steak the perfect crust.

Flip, flip and flip

How often you should flip is a contentious issue! Multiple flipping can help cook your steak faster and more evenly at a gentler pace. You will, however, loose the nice grill marks, but you will achieve “scruffing” which will allow you to build up the flavour. To pack an extra punch and crust you can brush with herbs or baste with a sauce in between flips.

Use a thermometer

Poking your finger to check whether your steak is cooked isn’t nearly as accurate as a thermometer as the texture differs depending on the thickness and the quality of the meat. For the perfect steak, use temperature as your guide:

  • Rare – 49 – 54°C
  • Medium rare – 54 -57°C
  • Medium – 57 – 60°C
  • Well-done – 71°C

Rest it

A perfect steak is tender and succulent, remaining juicy and rosy throughout when cut. If you’ve cooked your steak starting on a cool grill, a few minutes to rest will suffice. Otherwise, set the steak on your board for 5 minutes before you carve the meat.

Now you know how to grill the perfect steak, check out our other barbecue tips to take it up a notch.

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