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How to Grill a Perfect Steak

Two beautifully grilled steaks on an open flame, with sear marks and grill lines visible on the surface. The steaks are topped with herbs, which add a pop of color to the image. This appetizing and visually appealing image is sure to make your mouth water and inspire you to grill up some delicious steaks of your own.

Grill season is nearly here and we know you’re excited about moving out of the kitchen and back to the grill. Whether you use a gas grill or swear by an old-fashioned charcoal grill, there’s surely something everyone can agree on — steak just tastes better grilled. No offense to a good ole cast iron pan, but the flavor and texture of grilled steak is what we dream about all winter.

Cooking a perfect steak will depend on a few factors. Between cuts, rubs, flavors, techniques, and timing, you can choose how to make the perfect steak. Of course, at the end of the day, the perfect steak is a highly personal choice.

Different Steak Cuts

Close-up of a chef's hands holding a raw Tomahawk beef steak and a meat fork over a wooden chopping board. The steak is large and thick, with visible marbling and a bone-in shape reminiscent of a tomahawk.

Let’s begin with the right cut. Not all cuts are created equal, especially for grilling. Here is a rundown of different steak cuts from what is generally considered lower quality to the highest quality you can find.

Marinades and Rubs

Close-up of a woman's hand holding a jar of steak seasoning over a steak that is out of frame. The woman is pouring the seasoning onto the steak with her other hand, which is out of view. The focus is on the seasoning as it falls onto the meat, with some grains visible in the air.

Like cuts, there are many marinades and rubs to choose from. Here are some of our top picks so you can get the flavor profile that you’re looking for.

French and Italian

Mix herbs de Provence or a mixture of Italian herbs with white or red, wine, or balsamic vinegar, chopped garlic, cloves, olive oil, black pepper, and salt. Let it sit in a zip lock bag in the fridge for over 6-48 hours for best results. Use the vinegar sparingly; vinegar in small amounts is great to help break down the surface of your steak so the marinade can be better absorbed and to make the meat more tender. You can also explore using ingredients such as Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce for a European flavor profile.


Opt for these flavors to go with Asian cuisine. Consider using ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and a little chili to make your marinade. Similarly, put in a zip bag and marinate for 6-48 hours before cooking.


Make your Tex-Mex rub to copy your favorite Southwestern barbeque flavors. Rub ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, sugar, garlic and onion powders, and dried oregano into your steak. Let sit for 10-30 minutes and then throw on the grill for those awesome down south flavors.

Grill Time

T-bone steak grilling on a barbecue grill. The steak is sizzling on the grates, with grill marks visible on the surface. The T-bone cut is evident, with a bone dividing the tenderloin and the strip steak, both of which are searing to a golden brown. The steak is generously seasoned with herbs and spices, adding to its aroma and flavor.

Preheat your grill to a high temperature. Whether you’re using a gas or charcoal grill, you want to make sure the grills are hot! Everyone has a different preference of how they liked their steak cooked and the exact timing on the grill will depend on both desired result and thickness of the meat. The different ways to cook your steak rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done. Essentially rare means hot and seared on the outside and cool bloody on the inside. Well-done means cooked totally through so there’s no redness at all. And everything else represents the spectrum in the middle. As a general rule, put a steak on the grill and let it be. Don’t over prod or poke and only flip once to get the best result.

For a rare steak, you want to throw it on the hot grill for a few minutes on each side to give it a good searing without overcooking the middle. If you don’t like blood on your plate, leave your steak on the grill a little longer. The butcher’s or chef’s standard is medium rare, which means it’s reddish pink in the middle and still juicy without being bloody. Medium rare is the ideal preparation for grilled steak as the juicy flavors are locked in and the outside is crisp and smoky. To get a more cooked result or firmer texture, keep your steak on the grill for longer. For the best result and a perfectly grilled steak, be sure to look up how long to cook your steak depending on the weight, cut, and cooking preference. For aged steak, you want to quickly sear each side of the steak to lock in the juices and flavors.

The chef’s secret is to let the steak rest at the end of cooking before eating. Take it off the grill and let it rest on a plate for a few minutes so the flavors and textures can settle. It will continue to slowly cook a little while resting to produce the perfect result. And now, it’s time to enjoy! Bon appetit and happy grilling!