Beef Cooking Lesson: Grilling Basics

With the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300 at Daytona this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway (the day before the big NASCAR DAYTONA 500 race) and grilling season right around the corner, we thought it was a great time to share another beef cooking lesson. This time on grilling basics. This is a popular method for preparing steak, but it’s also the one that tends to worry a lot of beginner cooks. When you follow these steps (and allow yourself a little practice), you’ll find grilling is easy and—most importantly—very satisfying. Check out our grilling guidelines for more cooking time information.

PREP PAYS OFF

Some grill experts emphasize the importance of bringing steaks to room temperature before grilling, but we don’t recommend it for food safety reasons. Likewise, our cooking chart is based on the meat going directly from chill to grill. So plan on pulling the meat from the fridge, seasoning well, and getting started right away.

FIRE IT UP

Make sure your grill grate is clean. If you’re using charcoal, follow the directions for how much you’ll need and how to build the charcoal pile. For gas grills, refer to your owner’s manual and set the grill to medium.

GRILL, BABY, GRILL

Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor doneness, let it go—don’t flip the steaks so much! One flip is usually all you need, but take care to avoid charring or burning and be ready to turn down the heat (or move to a cooler spot on the grill) if necessary. Keep in mind the internal temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes after coming off the grill.

REST RELAX

Here’s another step novice cooks often overlook: resting the meat before serving—even if you’re hungry. It’s seriously worth the wait, because it prevents all those tasty juices from draining onto your plate. For most grill-friendly cuts, about five minutes is enough.

FINISHING TOUCHES

If you’re slicing the steak before serving, be sure to cut across the grain to maximize tenderness. There’s no shortage of tips for assembling a great burger. For steaks, we recommend topping them off with compound butter or serving with a sauce.

THREE STEPS TO THE PERFECT GRILLED BURGER 
  1. Set grill to medium and let heat for a minimum of 10 minutes if using gas or until coals turn white if using charcoal. Form patties and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place a dimple in the center of the burger patty to minimize shrinking and optimize cooking. 
  2. Place burgers on the grill and cook approximately 4 to 5 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Flip burger and grill an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the center of the burger reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. 
  3. Avoid pressing down on burgers and only flip burgers once during cooking.  

For more cooking lessons just like this, check out www.BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com .