How Long to Grill Steak
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Learn how long to grill steak in order to get perfectly tender and juicy steak every time. This handy guide provides the steak grill time for different cuts and thickness at your desired doneness!
How Long to Grill Steak
When it comes to cooking on the grill, timing is everything. A 1-inch (2.5cm) thick ribeye steak cooked medium-rare will take 5-6 minutes at medium-high heat (450°F or 232°C). However, no two steaks are the same!
How long to grill steak depends on steak thickness and grilling temperature as well as desired doneness. Are you grilling flank steak or a T-bone? Is it a thick-cut steak? Do you want it cooked medium-rare or medium-well? This guide makes grilled steak foolproof to get the best results!
How to Grill the Perfect Steak
Whether you’re using a gas or charcoal, follow these basic tips to grill steak successfully:
- Use room temperature steaks for even cooking, and this is especially important for thicker cuts. Do not grill frozen steaks and try to avoid grilling chilled steaks.
- Marinate tougher cuts before grilling to help tenderize the meat.
- Pat dry the steak before cooking to help get a good sear.
- Grill thick cuts on indirect heat (less than 275°F/135°C) and finish on direct high heat (450°F /232°C).
- Turn the steak only once to avoid drying out. Use steel tongs instead of piercing with a fork, which will cause the steak to dry out.
- Use an instant-read thermometer to check internal temperatures and avoid overcooking.
- Rest your steak for 5-10 minutes covered with foil or a plate after grilling, allowing juices to retreat back into the steak for maximum tenderness.
- Cut against the grain when serving.
What Temperature Should Steak Be Cooked At?
Less than 1 inch (2.5cm) thick: Grill using direct heat only. Set the temperature to medium-high or 450-500°F (232-260°C).
Thicker than 1 inch: Use indirect heat first (about 275°F/135°C) and then finish with direct heat 450-500°F (232-260°C).
Steak Grill Time by Doneness
Whether you want your steak rare or well-done, use this grill-tested timeline for any boneless steak up to 1-inch (2.5cm) thick. Bring the steak to room temperature and grill at 450-500°F (232-260°C). Note: For a thicker steak, follow the instructions in the next section.
Rare Steak (cool red center): Season or marinate and grill for 30 seconds PER SIDE for a ½-inch steak, or 1 minute per side for a 1-inch steak.
Medium Rare Steak (warm red center): Grill for 1 minute per side for a ½-inch steak, or 3 minutes per side for a 1-inch steak.
Medium Steak (warm pink center): Grill for 2-3 minutes per side for a ½-inch steak, or 4-5 minutes per side for a 1-inch steak.
Medium Well Steak (pale pink center): Grill for 3-4 minutes per side for a ½-inch thick steak, or 5-6 minutes per side for a 1-inch thick steak.
Well Done Steak (little/no pink): Grill for 4-5 minutes per side for a ½-inch steak, and 6-7 minutes per side for a 1-inch steak.
For bone-in steaks, use the boneless grilling times above plus an extra 1-2 minutes per side depending on the size and thickness of the bone.
Thick Cut Steak Grill Times
Although most steaks grill beautifully over direct high heat alone, thicker steaks will burn on the outside before the center reaches your desired doneness. To solve this problem, we recommend grilling with indirect heat on the cooler side of the grill, and then finishing with direct heat on the high-temperature side. This technique is called reverse searing.
With a gas grill, simply light burners on one half of the grill and leave the other side off. The direct heat (450°F /232°C) is on the lit side, while the indirect heat (less than 275°F/135°C) is on the unlit side. For a charcoal grill, here’s how to create indirect heat.
Grill the steak over indirect heat first until it’s 10-15°F below the final internal temperature at your desired doneness:
|Steak Grill Time on Indirect Heat||1½ in (3.8 cm) thick||2 in (5 cm) thick|
|Rare||20-25 minutes||25-30 minutes|
|Medium-rare||25-30 minutes||30-35 minutes|
|Medium||30-35 minutes||35-40 minutes|
|Medium-well||35-40 minutes||40-45 minutes|
After cooking over the indirect heat, move the steak to direct heat and cook for 1-2 minutes per side until you have a nice sear on the outside.
Different Types of Steaks
While grilling temperatures and times are consistent for different types of steaks, the preparation methods vary significantly. Read on to learn more about preparing various cuts for grilling!
Tender Steak Cuts
Tender cuts from the center part of the steer are the most expensive and desirable meat for grilling. Popular choices include Sirloin Steak, Ribeye, T-bone steak, Porterhouse, Filet Mignon, and New York Strip Steak.
They need minimal preparation with no marinating required. Simply pat dry with paper towels and add salt and dry rub seasonings. They’re then ready to grill!
Tough Steak Cuts
They require marinating prior to grilling. Marinating time ranges from 30 minutes to 24 hours depending on the ingredients of your marinade, but there’s no impact on how long to grill steak.
How Do You Tell When it’s Done?
The most accurate way to check steak doneness is by using an instant-read thermometer. Guys, these inexpensive gadgets can save you the tremendous frustration of overcooking steak!
Simply insert into the thickest part of the steak (close to the bone if there is one) and compare the reading to the steak temperature chart below. The temperature will rise approximately 5°F (3°C) after being removed from the grill. Note: steak doneness temperatures are the same for all cuts of steak.
|Doneness||Remove from Grill at this temp||Final Internal Temp|
|Rare Steak||120°F (49°C)||125°F (52°C)|
|Medium Rare Steak||130°F (54°C)||135°F (57°C)|
|Medium Steak||140°F (60°C)||145°F (63°C)|
|Medium-well Steak||145°F (63°C)||150°F (66°C)|
|Well Done Steak||155°F (68°C)||160°F (71°C)|
The USDA has stated that the safe internal temperature for beef is 145°F (63°C) or medium, even though it’s not always observed.
Perfect Grilled Steak
- 1 ½ pound steak, 1-inch thick, central cuts such as ribeye, Sirloin or T-bone Steak
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- coarse salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- steak seasoning, optional
Prepare the steak
- Bring the steak to room temperature by removing it from the fridge 30 minutes before grilling and place on a work surface (see note).
- Pat dry the steaks with paper towels. Then rub with the salt and seasoning along with the olive oil.
Prepare the grill
- Preheat grill to medium-high or 450°F (232°C).
- Place your palm about 3 inches above the grill grate. If you can only hold it for 1-2 seconds the grill is ready. (Make sure the grates are hot enough before putting the steak on.)
- Carefully grease the grates with the oil using a folded paper towel. This will prevent the steak from sticking
Grill the steak
- Place the steak on the grill, cover and sear for 2-3 minutes without moving. (To get a diamond/crosshatch pattern, rotate the steak 90 degrees halfway through searing on each side.)
- Using tongs, flip the steak and let the second side sear for 2-3 minutes more.
- Insert an instant meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Remove from the grill at 120°F (49°C) for rare, 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare, and 140°F (60°C) for medium. Note: The temperature will rise a few degrees more while resting.
Rest the steak
- Transfer the steak to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to retreat back into the meat.
- Cut against the grain and serve immediately.
- The grilling times provided are based on cooking a room temperature steak, which ensures even cooking for the most tender texture. For chilled steak, you may need to add an extra minute or two per side.
- Tougher cuts such as flank steak or skirt steak should be marinated before grilling.
- Turn the steak only once to avoid drying out. Use steel tongs instead of piercing it with a fork, which will cause the steak to dry out.
- To cook a thicker cut that's over 1 inch (2.5cm) thick, follow the guide in the post above to cook over indirect heat first and then finish over high direct heat.
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