Step by step photo tutorial of how to grill a strip steak with this never-fail easy method. You are just a few minutes away from being a “grill master.”
Editor’s Note: Originally Published February 8, 2016. Updated with new information and re-edited photos.
This post that had been “requested” by many readers. I have a great post on Pan Seared Oven Roasted Strip Steak. But nothing beats the grill. It is like grilling a porterhouse or t-bone since the main portion of those cuts is a strip steak.
Always a solid five.
Pro Tips: How to Grill a Strip Steak on a Gas Grill
What is a strip steak?
The strip steak is a cut from the short loin from a cow which is located behind the rib area with the tenderloin. Also called a New York strip, or a Kansas City strip steak, they come from the longissimus muscle that does little work but a fair amount of fat that make it tender.
The strip steak is the bigger side of t-bone and porterhouse steaks. The only difference between the t-bone and porterhouse is the amount of beef tenderloin included in the cut.
You can buy the whole strip loin and cut your own steaks. Also, you can occasionally find the “bone-in” which is basically a t-bone without any tenderloin section.
You may run into something called “first cut” which may sound great, but it is not. It is closer to the ribeye and only worth about half the cost of the prized “center cut.”
Quality does matter. The simple answer is to buy USDA Choice. Look for a nicely trimmed well-marbled piece. USDA Prime is way expensive but great if you want to pay the price.
USDA Select is a big step down usually and not what you want. The grade of beef is critical to your outcome.
Now let’s talk thickness. The “experts” want 1 1/2 inch, but that is a pound and a half of cow. I like one inch thick, but this works up to 1 1/2 inch thick.
3/4 inch will work and can be excellent but be sure to watch the internal temperature closely, or you will overcook. You have been warned.
Any grill should work, you just need to get it very hot. Either gas or charcoal is fine. It just needs to be very hot.
To your taste with salt and pepper but we like garlic so my 7:2:2 seasoning is perfect here.
The timing of the Salt: Salt will pull the water out of meat but in 45 to 60 minutes the salt and water will reabsorb, and that is good. So salt at the start of the rest to room temperature or just before hitting the grill but not between.
Oil the meat?: not needed from my point of view but some experts want a nice coat of oil on the meat and not the grill grates. I can’t tell the difference. Your choice.
Steak sauce: you are not seriously considering this.
How Long to Grill a Strip Steak and When is it Done?
Usually, it takes about 9-10 minutes over high heat. For me, done is about 140-145 degrees internal temperature. Still with a little pink but firm. Under 140 is heading into the rarer territory and over 150 is medium well to well done.
You will see in the chart the USDA recommendations which are high in my opinion. The column labeled “Temperature range” are the numbers to use.
YOUR TIME WILL VARY and NEVER COOK BY TIME ALONE. There you have it. I apologize for “yelling,” but I can not emphasize enough those points.
Like most cooking, there are many variables.
- The size and thickness of the meat
- The exact temperature of the meat
- The grill temperature at the start of cooking
- How much heat your grill loses during flips
- Your desired final internal temperature
This is why you must have an instant-read meat thermometer to do this well.
If possible rest the steaks at room temperature for about 1 hour allowing the steaks to come to room temperature. It is best to apply salt and pepper at the start of the resting period. Just before starting to grill is OK if you skip the rest, or you forgot. Use coarse salt and pepper. I used my 7:2:2 which is kosher salt: pepper: garlic
Trim the beef of extra fat to prevent “flare-ups” that will burn your steak.
Preheat your grill to as hot as it will go. Clean and oil well. Do not just olive oil here due to the low smoke point. Place on the grill over direct heat. Closed lid.
Grill for five minutes on the first side. If you want crossed grill marks, you should rotate the meat 90 degrees after the first 2 1/2 minutes. Flip at 5 minutes.
Grill for approximately three additional minutes for rare, about 4 minutes for medium-rare and 5 minutes for medium. Your timing will vary a little so as always check the internal temperature. Also, your temperature will rise a few degrees during the post-cooking rest so cook to 3-4 degrees less.
Lightly tent with foil.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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Originally Published February 8, 2016.