You fire up the grill to get it right. Now make sure you know the difference between what’s hot and what’s not.
We all know the feeling, pushing back from the table we were bellied-up to moments ago realizing that was a perfectly cooked steak. That’s a place we wish we could return to night after night, but sometimes it’s a struggle to recreate the magic. But it doesn’t have to be.
There’s a lot to cover when learning to prepare and perfectly serving your steak, but an out of control temperature ruins all the prep work the fastest. No one gets it right on their first try, many of us have honed our craft over years and years of disappointing those we shared the table with. It takes fine-tuning and consistency with your tools. You can’t jump from a gas grill to charcoal one week and then broil the next day in the oven just because it’s raining. Set your controls consistently, use the same brand and amount of charcoal frequently, or be willing to stand there with an umbrella if the heavens open up and demand it. This is your dinner we’re talking about, and we take it seriously.
Once you’ve dedicated to your tools for the job, next comes the hard fact of internal temperature. There’s no getting around it, this is the ONLY way to get a steak the way you want it on purpose. If you witness the chef glance at the meat and waive their hand magically over the grill and mutter, “that looks about right,” you might as well stick to wine and mashed potatoes for dinner because what you ordered is NOT going to be on your plate. Get yourself, or gift that hopeless chef in your life, a meat thermometer and you’ll never quit a steak early again. Once your hands are on your tools, consult this temperature perfection chart to make sure everyone around the table is bellying up and smiling every night.
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Alicia Perry, PhD, Owner/Operator and all around Hay Maven (see my blog post on the time I fell off a haystack...). I share industry insights, tips & tricks on grilling great beef, and my personal journey into the ranching world.