Tips for Grilled Steak

Grilling Juicy Steaks

If you’ve ever overcooked steak or ended up with something that resembles a hockey puck, raise your hand. If that’s you there with your hand up in the air, just know that you’re not alone–cooking steaks on the grill that turn out juicy and perfectly cooked CAN be tricky. BUT follow these tips and tricks for keeping meat juicy on the grill so you end up with a dinner that puts a smile on your face.

Basic Cooking Tips

Tender cuts of beef can be cooked by direct or indirect heat. Less tender cuts of meat require tenderizing and should be cooked with indirect heat for best results.

What’s the Difference Between Direct & Indirect Heat?

When cooking over direct heat, you’re literally cooking directly over the heat source–hot charcoal or burners of the grill. The meat will sear, with fantastic golden brown grill marks. Great for burgers, hot dogs, and most seafood as well as thin-cut steaks and other meat. You can cook with the grill lid open with direct-heat cooking. Turn food halfway through grilling for even cooking.

With indirect cooking, you’ll create two heat zones inside the grill; one hot and one without direct heat. On a gas grill for instance,  you’ll turn on the burner on one side and leave the other side unlit; with charcoal, you’ll ignite coals only on one side of the grill, without any coals on the other.

Most of the cooking will be done on the cooler side of the grill (although searing over direct heat to get grill marks is typical). Usually with the grill lid closed to trap in the heat, indirect cooking is typically used when the food will take longer than 20 minutes to finish cooking.

How to Tenderize Meat

Tenderizing can be done by pounding the meat with a meat mallet, scoring with a sharp knife like one of Rada Cutlery’s paring knives, or marinating in a mixture containing an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, vinegar, or wine.

Preparing the Steak

  1. Trim excess fat from the outer edges and slit any remaining fat at 2″ intervals to prevent curling during cooking. You can use that Rada paring knife again for this.
  2. Let the meat set at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes on a rack set in a pan (if steaks are thin, don’t let them come to room temp before cooking).
  3. Pat steaks dry with paper towels, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and other seasonings to taste or use Rada’s Steak & Chop Seasoning.
  4. Preheat your grill–this is important in order to caramelize the outside of the steak and lock in the flavor.

The Correct Cooking Temperature

To ensure safety, cook beef to the minimum internal temperatures listed below. It’s best to use a meat thermometer if possible.

rare 125° with a cool red center
medium-rare 130° to 135° with a warm red center
medium 140° to 145° with a rosy pink center
medium-well 150° to 155° with a very slight pink center
well-done 160°F with a brown center

Test out your new grill skills by making our recipe for grilled Steaks & Mushroom Stir-Fry, below. AND get a bonus side dish recipe for potato salad-stuffed onions. You’ll love ’em!

Yes, you can make great stir-fry on your grill. Let’s cook!

Grilled Steaks &
Mushroom Stir-Fry


2 tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. dried minced garlic
4 (8 oz.) New York Strip steaks (or your favorite)
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 T. peanut oil
8 oz. fresh mushrooms (any kind)
2 cloves garlic
Small piece fresh gingerroot (½” to 1″ knob), peeled
¼ C. roasted red bell peppers
½ C. stir-fry sauce
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Fresh basil, optional


Grease the grill grate and preheat the grill to medium heat. Stir together the salt, basil, black pepper, ginger, and dried minced garlic (or try Rada’s Steak & Chop Seasoning for a sensational blend).

Rub the seasoning over both sides of the steaks. Grill the meat until it reaches the perfect doneness for you, flipping once. Pull the steaks off the grill, tent with foil, and set aside.

Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms with your favorite Rada paring knife. Use a French Chef Knife to thinly slice the garlic and finely chop the gingerroot to measure 1½ teaspoons.

Set a big cast iron skillet on the grill to preheat a few minutes. Drizzle in the sesame and peanut oils. Add the mushrooms and cook a few minutes, until they’re just becoming tender. Toss in the garlic and gingerroot and cook for another minute or so. Add the roasted peppers, stir-fry sauce, and red pepper flakes.

Spoon the mushroom mixture over the steaks, and toss on some fresh basil if you’d like.


Another Way to Use Indirect Cooking

(And a Great Side Dish to the Steaks.)

Potato Salad Onions

Preheat the grill on medium heat for indirect cooking. Peel 4 medium yellow onions and cut off the top third of each, keeping the tops; trim the bottoms so they set flat. Dig out the center of each onion, leaving the two outer rings and the bottom intact. Save the portion you dug out for another recipe.

Stir together 1 cup prepared potato salad, ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, and 4 cooked and crumbled bacon strips; spoon this mixture into the onion bowls and replace the tops. Wrap a piece of heavy-duty foil around each, leaving room inside for air circulation.

Grill on the cool side of the grill for 20 minutes, until tender. Open the packet carefully to avoid steam.

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