Simple Steak Preparation for Grilling Tips

These are the CampGrilling top 5 preparation tips for grilling steak to perfection.

  1. Start with a good cut of meat.
  2. Season it generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.
  4. Brush it lightly with oil to prevent sticking.
  5. Preheat your grill to high heat before cooking.

All 5 of these key steak grilling tips plays a significant role in getting the best steak results. There are many other grilling steps that will help you get the results you want, but these 5 are indispensable.


Prepare Steak in Advance

Juicy Cut of Steak on a Plate
  1. Thaw the steak if it's frozen by transferring it from the freezer to the refrigerator a day before cooking.
  2. Season the steak with salt and pepper, or your preferred seasoning blend, and place it in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
  3. Optionally, you can marinate the steak for added flavor. I like to refrigerate steak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  4. If marinating, remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels before grilling.
  5. Store the seasoned or marinated steak in the refrigerator until you're ready to grill, ensuring it's properly covered to prevent cross-contamination.
  6. Let the steak sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling to ensure even cooking.
  7. Proceed with grilling according to your preferred method and desired doneness.

Cooking tip: Season the steak on both sides for a more even distribution of flavor in the meat.


Secret to a Tender Steak

Seasoned grilled steak

The secret to a tender steak is proper preparation and cooking technique. It starts with choosing a good quality cut of meat and then tenderizing it by marinating it, using a meat mallet, or applying a dry rub.

Additionally, cooking the steak to the right temperature and letting it rest before slicing helps to retain its juices and ensure tenderness.


Oil the Steak Before Grilling

Pre-heated Grill

Applying oil to the steak before grilling serves a few purposes.

I find it helps to prevent the steak from sticking to the grill grates, making it easier to flip and ensuring even cooking.

Oil helps to create a nice sear on the outside of the steak, which enhances flavor and appearance.

The oil can also help to lock in moisture, resulting in a juicier finished steak.


About Washing Steak Before Grilling

Steak Being Prepared for Grilling on a Cutting Board

It's generally not recommended to wash steak before cooking it. Washing raw meat, including steak, can actually spread harmful bacteria around your kitchen sink and countertops. Source:

Cooking the steak to the proper temperature will kill any bacteria present on the surface. Instead, you can simply pat the steak dry with paper towels before seasoning it and cooking it.


Things to Avoid When Grilling Steak

Steak Grilling on a BBQ

When cooking steak, here are some things to avoid:

  1. Don't cook steak straight from the refrigerator; let it come to room temperature for even cooking.
  2. Avoid overcrowding the grill or pan, which can lead to uneven cooking and steaming rather than searing.
  3. Don't flip the steak too frequently; allow it to develop a crust on one side before flipping.
  4. Avoid pressing down on the steak with a spatula while cooking, as this can release flavorful juices.
  5. Don't cut into the steak to check for doneness too early; use a meat thermometer instead.
  6. Avoid using high heat for too long, as this can result in burnt exterior and undercooked interior.
  7. Don't skip resting the steak after cooking; this allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender steak.

Choosing Between Butter and Olive Oil

Grilled Steak Resting on a Cutting Board

When choosing between butter and olive oil for grilling steak, I suggest you consider their smoke points first.

Butter has a higher smoke point compared to olive oil, making it better suited for high-heat cooking methods like grilling or searing. If you prefer the flavor of olive oil or are cooking at lower temperatures, it can still be a good option.

Ultimately, it depends on your personal preference and desired flavor profile for the steak. Just don't forget that you can expect more smoke from the grill with the wrong choice, and possibly more black char on the steak.

Low and Slow vs Hot and Fast

The tenderness of the steak plays a role in deciding cooking speed.

Tougher cuts of steak benefit from slower cooking methods, such as braising or stewing, to break down the connective tissues and become tender.

For tender cuts like ribeye or filet mignon I recommend fast cooking over high heat to maintain their tenderness and juiciness.

Adjust the cooking method based on the cut of steak you're using to achieve the best results.

Steak Preparation Table

Here's a quick table summarizing the steak preparation steps:

Step Description
Choosing the Right Steak Select a high-quality ribeye or New York strip.
Thawing the Steak Gradually thaw in the refrigerator for a day.
Bringing to Room Temperature Let the steak sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Tenderizing (Optional) Consider using a meat mallet for tougher cuts.
Seasoning the Steak Apply a generous amount of kosher salt, black pepper, and spices.
Olive Oil Massage Coat the steak with a thin layer of olive oil.
Preheating the Grill Ensure the grill is hot before placing the steak.
Grilling Time Cook based on thickness and desired doneness.
Let It Rest Allow the steak to rest for optimal juiciness.