Best Steak on the Grill: A Guide to Grilling the Perfect Steak

Grilling steak over an open flame is one of life’s greatest pleasures and gives the best steak on the grill. The smoky, charred exterior and juicy, tender interior of a well-cooked grilled steak is hard to beat. 

However, with so many cuts of steak and grilling methods to choose from, it can be tricky to navigate steak grilling for beginners and experts alike. 

This guide will walk you through selecting the best steaks to grill, proper preparation for the best steak for BBQ and seasoning techniques, grilling methods for different cuts, and step-by-step instructions for grilling beef to backyard chef perfection. Let’s get started!

Selecting the Best Beef Cuts For Grilling

Choosing the best grilling steak cut is one of the most important steps to grilling the perfect steak. Here are some of the most popular steaks for grilling and their characteristics to help you select the right cut for your grilling method and taste preferences:

Types of Steak for Grilling

  • Ribeye – This well-marbled cut from the upper rib section is flavorful, tender, and juicy. The generous fat cap helps it stand up to high heat.
  • Strip Steak – Sometimes called New York strip or Kansas City strip, this lean cut has great beefy flavor and tenderness. Often sold boneless, it is the best beef for grilling.
  • Filet Mignon – Extremely tender, though not as flavorful as ribeye or strip steak. Comes from the tenderloin.
  • T-bone – Has a tenderloin on one side of the bone and a strip steak on the other. Gives you the best of both worlds in one steak.
  • Porterhouse – Similar to T-bone but with a larger tenderloin section. Big, bold steak with great grill marks.
  • Flank Steak – Thin, flat cut from the flank. Takes well to marinades due to leanness. Slice against the grain when serving. It is the best piece of steak to grill.
  • Skirt Steak – Thin, flavorful cut from the diaphragm. Marinade tenderizes the meat. Often grilled whole and then sliced.
  • Hanger Steak – Tender and flavorful lesser-known cut. Also called “butcher’s steak” since butchers would often keep this tasty cut for themselves.

What to Look For

When selecting individual steaks, whether from a butcher or packaged, look for the following:

  • Marbling – The white streaks of fat interspersed between the meat. This bastes the steak as it cooks, ensuring juicy and tender meat. Heavily marbled steaks like ribeye are ideal for grilling.
  • Thickness – At least 1 inch thick for even grilling. Thinner steaks cook too fast and dry out. Thickness trumps weight in importance.
  • Fat Cap – The outer rim of fat along the edge of the steak. Helps keep the leaner areas of meat from drying out. Look for a 1/4 inch of fat cap on cuts like ribeye and strip steak.

Best Cut of Steak For Grilling

Here are 7 of the best steak cuts for grilling along with their advantages:

  • Ribeye – The heavy marbling makes this ideal for searing over high heat on the grill. The fat cap prevents drying out. Ribeyes are flavorful and juicy when grilled.
  • Strip Steak – The tenderness of a strip steak makes it perfect for simple grilling. Go for at least 1-inch thick cuts. Strips lack some of the richness of ribeyes but still grill up nicely.
  • Filet Mignon – The exceptionally tender cut makes an indulgent grilled steak, though it sacrifices flavor without much fat. Wrap in bacon to keep moist and add flavor.
  • Flank Steak – The thin profile means flank steak cooks fast over high heat. Let rest before slicing against the grain. Take on marinades well.
  • Skirt Steak – Like flank steak, skirt steak does well with marinades and high heat on the grill. Cooks very quickly, so watch closely.
  • Hanger Steak – Often overlooked but an excellent steak for grilling. Flavorful with a looser grain that makes it very tender. Grill like a flank steak.
  • T-bone or Porterhouse – The best of both worlds with tenderloin and strip steak in one. Use high heat to sear both sides.

Preparing Steak for Grilling

 Best Steak on the Grill

After choosing the best cut of steak to grill, preparation is the key step! Properly preparing your steak before throwing it on the grill will ensure the meat cooks evenly, develops a good char, and has the right seasoning:

Taking Steak Out of the Fridge

Take steaks out of the refrigerator and let them come closer to room temperature before grilling, about 30 minutes to an hour. Cold steak will cook unevenly and be prone to drying out. The warmer meat will cook more evenly.

Trimming Excess Fat

Some excess fat around the edges can cause flare-ups on the grill. Use a sharp knife to trim off any large chunks of visible fat around the exterior while leaving the fat cap intact.

Seasoning the Meat

Season steaks just before grilling once the meat has warmed up. Use a simple dry rub of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, etc. Sprinkle the seasoning evenly on all sides, using about 1/2 tsp per side for an average 1-inch thick steak.

Marinades and Rubs

Wet marinades and spice rubs infuse extra flavor into the steak. Marinate tougher cuts like flank and skirt steak overnight. Use marinades for 30 minutes up to 2 hours for more tender steaks. Apply spice rubs just before grilling.

Oiling the Meat

Right before putting steak on the grill, drizzle or brush lightly with oil (vegetable, avocado, grapeseed, or other high smoke point oil). Oil helps aid browning and makes those beautiful grill marks.

Using a Meat Thermometer

An instant-read meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of grilling to the perfect doneness. Insert it into the thickest part of the steak halfway through cooking to check for doneness, not touching any bone.

Letting Steak Rest

After removing the steak from the grill, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing into it. This allows juices to redistribute through the meat for a juicier steak. Transfer to a cutting board and tent foil over it while resting.

Grilling Methods for Steak

Preparing the grill and using the proper technique for the type of grill you have is key to steak grilling success:

Types of Grills

Charcoal – Gives great flavor and high heat and is best for quick cooking. Needs some practice managing airflow and fire.

Gas – More convenient and easier temperature control. Use lava rock under grates for some smoky flavor.

Pellet – Imparts wood-fired flavor with precise temperature control. Relatively low maintenance.

Electric – Affordable and simple but doesn’t hit high temps. Use wood chips in the smoker box for flavor.

Infrared – Heats up fast and cooks by direct infrared heat. Gives a good sear.

Setting Up the Grill

For charcoal grills, mound coals on one side for an indirect grilling area. Let coals turn grey with a lighter ash coating before grilling.

For gas grills, preheat on high for 10-15 minutes with the lid closed to get very hot. Leave on high the entire time.

Direct vs. Indirect Heat

Use direct high heat to quickly sear the exterior, then move to indirect heat on the other side to cook through without burning.

Grill Grates

Stainless steel and cast iron grates hold and distribute heat well. Oil grates before grilling so the steak doesn’t stick. Avoid grates with buildup and debris.


Long-handled tongs, grilling fork, instant-read thermometer, grill brush, and heat-proof mitts are grill must-haves. Have them ready to go along with meat.

Step-by-Step Grilling for Perfect Steak

Step-by-Step Grilling for Perfect Steak

Here is a detailed walkthrough for grilling each type of steak cut to juicy, sear-crusted perfection to get the best grilled steak.


  1. Pat dry ribeye steak and season well with salt and pepper or spice rub.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat, around 500°F. Place steak on the hot side for 4 minutes, lid open.
  3. Flip the steak and sear the other side for 2 minutes. Sear the fatty sides for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Move steak to indirect heat, close lid, and grill to the desired doneness, about 5 more minutes for medium-rare.
  5. Check the temperature of the thickest part with an instant-read thermometer. 145°F for medium-rare.
  6. Transfer steak to plate and tent with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve.

Strip Steak

  1. Coat room temperature strip steak with light oil, then season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat the grill to high heat. Place steak over direct heat for 3 minutes until browned.
  3. Flip the steak and grill the other side for 2-3 minutes over high heat.
  4. Move the steak to indirect heat, close the lid, and cook for about 8-12 minutes for a 1-inch thick steak with medium doneness.
  5. Check for doneness with a thermometer at 140°F for medium.
  6. Remove from grill, tent with foil, and let rest 5-7 minutes before slicing to serve.

Filet Mignon

  1. Brush filet mignon with oil and season with salt, pepper, or herbs like rosemary and thyme.
  2. Grill over direct high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. Move to indirect heat.
  3. Continue grilling with the lid closed until the thermometer reads 135°F for medium-rare doneness, about 8-10 more minutes.
  4. Immediately remove from grill, tent with foil, and let rest for 5-7 minutes to allow juices to settle.

Flank Steak

  1. Place marinated flank steak on a hot grill and cook for 4 minutes on each side over direct high heat.
  2. Move to indirect heat, close the lid, and cook to the desired doneness, about 8 more minutes for medium-rare.
  3. Check for doneness with a thermometer. Slice against the grain before serving.

Skirt Steak

  1. Grill marinated skirt steak over direct high heat for 5 minutes per side.
  2. Move to indirect heat and continue grilling until the thermometer reads 135°F, about 5 more minutes.
  3. Remove from grill, tent with foil, and rest for 5 minutes. Slice into strips against the grain.

Hanger Steak

  1. Season hanger steak with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oil.
  2. Grill over high heat for 3 minutes per side for sear.
  3. Move to indirect heat, close lid, and grill for approximately 8-10 more minutes until 125°F for medium-rare.
  4. Remove from grill, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

T-Bone or Porterhouse

  1. Pat dry steak and generously season both sides of T-bone or porterhouse steak.
  2. Sear over direct high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. Move to indirect heat.
  3. Continue grilling with the lid closed for 8-12 minutes more, depending on thickness. Check the tenderness of the smaller tenderloin side first.
  4. Remove from grill, tent with foil, rest 5-7 minutes and serve.

Making the Most of Leftover Grilled Steaks

Making the Most of Leftover Grilled Steaks

Leftover grilled steaks make tasty next-day meals. Here are some BBQ steak recipes to use them:

  • Slice and refrigerate leftover steak to add to salads, fajitas, pasta, or sandwiches.
  • Pair leftover steak slices with roasted potato wedges and grilled veggies for steak salad.
  • Chop or slice grilled steak and combine with rice, beans, peppers, onions, and cheese for a steak burrito filling.
  • Make steak tacos with shredded leftover grilled steak, tortillas, salsa, guacamole, and cilantro.
  • Use leftover pieces of grilled steak in a hearty rice or pasta dish with mushrooms and savory sauce.
  • Pound any larger pieces of leftover steak thin to make a quick cheesesteak sandwich.
  • Chop into pieces to make homemade beef and vegetable kabobs with pineapple and bell pepper.
  • Toss cubed steak with barbeque sauce and pile on buns for pulled steak sandwiches.

Frequently Asked Questions about Grilling Steak

What is the best steak to grill for beginners?

The best steak for grilling for beginners are ribeye, New York strip, or filet mignon. These are thick, tender cuts that can withstand some heat variation and have enough fat to stay juicy. Have the butcher cut steaks at least 1-inch thick.

what is the best steak to grill on gas grill?

Strip steak is the best steak to grill for its rich marbling that keeps it tender and juicy over high heat. Sear the exterior over direct heat before moving to indirect heat on a charcoal or gas grill to cook through.

What is the best type of steak to grill?

For the best blend of flavor, juiciness and tenderness, ribeye is the best steak to grill. The generous marbling bastes the meat while grilling and the fat cap prevents it from drying out.

What are some good steak cuts for grilling?

Great grilling steaks include ribeye, T-bone, Porterhouse, strip steak, tenderloin, hanger steak, flank steak, and skirt steak. Look for at least 1-inch thickness with good marbling and fat cap where applicable.

What is a good steak to grill on a gas grill?

Strip steak, ribeye, and filet mignon are good steaks to grill on a gas grill. Get the grill very hot before searing the steaks over direct heat then move to indirect heat on the other burners to finish cooking.

What is the most tender steak to grill?

The most tender cuts of steak to grill are filet mignon and tenderloin. Their very fine grain and lack of fat make them exceptionally tender but not as flavorful. Wrap in bacon to add moisture and flavor when grilling.

What is a good recipe for grilled steak?

A simple, delicious recipe for grilled steak is to coat thick ribeyes with olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper, then grill 4 minutes per side over high direct heat before moving to indirect heat to finish cooking to medium rare doneness.

What are some steak on the grill recipes?

Great steak recipes for the grill include porterhouse steaks with red wine reduction, lemon garlic marinated sirloins, whiskey marinated filet mignon, bacon-wrapped stuffed tenderloin, and herb crusted strip steaks with grilled asparagus.


Grilling that perfectly seared, juicy steak in your own backyard may seem intimidating. Still, with the right cut, preparation, and grilling technique, you can become a master griller of delicious steaks. Make sure you get the best steak cuts to grill.

The beauty of best grilled steak recipe is that you can experiment with different premium cuts of beef, seasoning blends, and grilling techniques to find the perfect results for your palate. 

Share your grilling bounty with family and friends and make lifelong memories around the glow of the barbecue. Master grilling steak and enjoy the fruits of your labor bite by satisfying bite.

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